Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Death Challenge Review: Ceremony in Death

Ceremony in Death
J. D. Robb
Romantic Suspense
In Death series/Book 5
Berkley/May 1997


From the back cover ~

Even in an age of cutting-edge technology, old beliefs die hard...

Conducting a top secret investigation into the death of a fellow police officer has Lieutenant Eve Dallas treading on dangerous ground. She must put professional ethics before personal loyalties. But when a dead body is placed outside her homes, Eve takes the warning personally. With her husband, Roarke, watching her every move, Eve is drawn into the most dangerous case of her career. Every step she takes makes her question her own beliefs of right and wrong - and brings her closer to a confrontation with humanity's most seductive form of evil...

This time I skipped over a couple of books and picked Ceremony because of the mystical bent of the plot. Eve is totally against anything magical or mystical. She thinks it's all woo-woo crap. LOL I like seeing her out of her comfort zone. When looking for the cover image I knew I wanted the "Blue Lady" cover since that's the one I have. I came across the UK version on Fantastic Fiction and really liked it. It's got that futuristic feel to it. I like the woman but think she's a little too glamorous looking for Eve. Oh, and my "Blue Lady" cover has a bright orange background not that dark red.

The two things about Ceremony that I really liked are the introduction of Jamie Lingstrom and the exploring of religious beliefs. Those are the two things I remember most about this book.

Jamie is the grandson of the first victim, Jan Lingstrom, a well respected police officer. He's a teenager with all the exuberance of a teen but now finds himself with a lot of responsibilty for his family after his grandfather dies. His mother is a wreck, his father is out of the picture and his older sister has her own problems. Jamie is brilliant when it comes to tech stuff and impresses Roarke with his knowledge of all things techie. Eve, not comfortable around kids, feels sorry for Jamie. She even surprises herself because she finds that she likes him. I think Jamie brought out a protective side in Eve. Not in a maternal way but more in an older sister role. I don't think Eve would see it that way, she would say she was just doing her job. But with Jamie I think Eve crosses into that gray area of law enforcement where the victims rights are superseded by the criminals rights. Where is justice then?

The main thing about Eve and Roarke's relationship in Ceremony is they find out about each others religious beliefs. Eve is very black and white. She tries to live in the here and now and doesn't hold any idea of an after life. The impression I got is that she hasn't really thought much about it. She thinks witch craft and the like is all smoke and mirrors. Eve believes in what she can see and touch. Roarke has enough of the Irish in him to give thought to the mystical beliefs of his homeland. He even went so far as to give Eve a ring with mystical connotations. I do think that Roarke, with all his money and power, certainly believes in what he can see and buy but he leaves room for the unexplained and the power of belief.

Peabody throws some of her free-ager beliefs into the pot and stirs things up a bit. She's far more familiar with the terminology and beliefs of the wiccans and tries to help Dallas understand the difference between a white witch and a black witch. To Dallas, a witch is a witch, and they're all crazy! I liked getting Peabody's take on the wiccans with relation to the suspects. I can see where some (Dallas) could say Peabody's viewpoint was distorted but I looked at it as Peabody having more of an open mind when it came to the wiccans. This too, helped Dallas see more of that gray area, beyond the facts and into the people and their motivations.

Ceremony isn't one of my favorites regarding the murder mystery itself but I did like the character relationships and how they changed with regards to their viewpoints.

Rating: B


  1. While I love all the In Death books, this one made me a tad uncomfortable in how she treated some of the suspects. She seemed unnecessarily ruthless, especially with Chas when it seemed like she know from the beginning who the guilty parties were. It does introduce Jamie though who comes back in later books and is a good addition to the crew

  2. When I got to this book in the series I was thinking that this must be THE book for me. I thought I'd love it, it sounded so good. But it was only an okay book and I think it has been my least favorite so far (I've read 11 so far, the short story included).

  3. Kristie ~ She was overly harsh and I was glad Peabody called her on it.

    Maija ~ This one I read more for the characters than the police procedure. I find some are like that with me wanting either more Eve/Roarke or more Eve/Peabody depending how much I'm into the murder mystery.

  4. Ohhh, I'm reading this book ATM! I'm not reading the review until I finish the book... supposed to review it for the Challenge. Great to see the B, though.

  5. Hils ~ I hope you're enjoying it!

  6. I've never been that much into the murder mysteries, so I started this series only to see what was all the fuss about Roarke. Now I can totally see it ;) I always look most for the growing relationship between Eve/Roarke and the other characters. But luckily I can say that I've grown to like murder mysteries also. Thanks to Robb!

    You said you skipped a few books. Are you planning to go back to them now and read them next?

  7. Ohhh, I love this book because Jamie is introduced too! LOL. Loved the part where Roarke pockets the jammer LOL.

    But gotta agree with you and Kristie, Eve was harsh in some parts and yeah, not a favorite. but Jamie!! :)