Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: Visions in Death

Visions in Death
J. D. Robb

Romantic Suspense

In Death/Book 22

Penguin/August 2004


From the inside cover ~

The summer of 2059 has been long, hot - and bloody. On one of the city's warmest nights, a call from dispatch sends New York police lieutenant Eve Dallas to Central Park - and into a hellish new investigation. The victim was found on the rocks, just above the still, dark water of the lake. She wore nothing but a red ribbon tied around her neck. Her hands were posed as if in prayer. But it is the eyes - removed with such precision, as if by the careful hand of a surgeon - that have Dallas most alarmed.

As more bodies turn up, each with the same defining scars, Eve is frantic for answers. Against her instincts, she accepts help from a psychic, who offers one vision after another - each with shockingly accurate details of the murders. And when Eve's partner and friend Peabody is badly injured after escaping an attack, the stakes are raised. Are the eyes a symbol? A twisted religions ritual? A souvenir? With the help of her husband, Roarke, Dallas must uncover the killer's motivation before another vision becomes another nightmare.

With Peabody being my favorite secondary character, it's not surprising that this is one of my favorite books in the series. The dynamics of Dallas and Peabody's relationship continues to change and grow and that is very much evident in Visions in Death. The killer is a psycho, the psychic is questionable and Mavis is pregnant. Lots of stuff going on here but at the center for me was Dallas and Peabody. Roarke is here too, of course, but he's not as involved in this case as he has been in some others.

The first murder is gruesome, the second, just as much. Dallas and Peabody are working the case but having very little luck connecting the murders. The psychic who offers her help is welcomed by Peabody but leaves Dallas highly skeptical. No surprise there. I liked seeing Dallas interact with the psychic, trying to keep an open mind but not really putting much stock in any evidence until the psychic tells them things that are not public knowledge. Then Dallas starts to believe, just a little.

Sometimes I'll read fans of the series asking if/when Roarke and Eve will have a child. Robb has said that will be the end of the series if/when they do. (from Robb's FAQ). While I don't want the series to end anytime soon, I do like when Roarke and Eve are so far out of their comfort zone when confronted with even the possible involvement with someone else's child. There is a wonderful scene when Mavis tells Eve and Roarke that she wants them there for the birth. These two very capable people are filled with terror at the thought of being there when the baby is born.

[Mavis to Eve] "No. Labor and delivery coach. You'd back up Leonardo when I have the baby."

Eve choked on the canape' and turned white.

"Take a drink, darling," Roarke said with a laugh in his voice. "Put your head between your knees if you feel dizzy."

"Shut up. Are you talking about . . . like, being there? In the actual place at the actual time? In the same room as. . . it."

Then if that wasn't enough to take in, Roarke's in for a surprise.

"We want Roarke there, too." Mavis sniffed into her cloth.

Eve turned her head, and saw - with pleasure - the rare sight of utter panic on his face. "Not so damn funny now, is it, ace?"

Later, when Roarke and Eve are alone, they try to comfort each other in their terror over Mavis' request.

[Roarke]"They could change their minds. It's still months away, and they could easily change their minds and want this. . . event to be a private one between them."

She looked at him as if he'd sprouted a second head. "Private? Private? This is Mavis we're dealing with."

He shut his eyes. "God pity us."

"And it's just going to get . . . more." She pulled away, sprang up. "Before you know it, before you know it she's going to want us to deliver the thing. They'll want to do it here, in our bedroom or something, with cameras - live feed to her fans. And us pulling the thing our of her."

Utter and genuine horror leaped into his eyes. "Stop it, Eve. Stop it now."

They are really one of my favorite couples. The love they share - it's funny and deep and continues to grow. Eve does seem to do more of the growth but Roarke's in there too. He's just more accepting of the changes in his life with Eve now in it.

Roarke's presence is in this one less. He has no relation to the murders through any of his vast holdings and his help is minimal this time around. He is there for Eve when she needs him most. When Peabody is beaten nearly to death, it's Roarke who Eve leans on and Roarke who provides his quiet strength even though he is also hurting for Peabody.

The relationship between Dallas and Peabody continues to evolve and grow. There's a whole bunch of change in Visions, with Dallas trusting, really trusting Peabody with her darkest secret. Dallas has only told a few people about what happened to her when she was a child but because Peabody is not only her partner but her friend, she trusts her. They have come a long way since Peabody first became Dallas' assistant. The scene when Peabody is attacked and what follows are so emotional and vivid.

Peabody's desperate attempt to fight the attacker. McNab's reaction - it killed me. Even though McNab is a cop, a detective, his laid back attitude makes it hard to take him seriously. Plus, the way he gets all geeky with the electronics just detracts from the fact that he does carry a weapon and is a cop. But when he sees Peabody down - that scene totally hit me. Brilliantly written. The love he has for her and his cop instincts, all there for the reader to see and feel.

Then there's Dallas. Her reaction to Peabody being hurt is classic Dallas. She comes into the hospital, demanding to know Peabody's status. Then she sees McNab and the reader sees Dallas the cop but also Eve the concerned friend. I love how Robb wrote this - bringing out all those different emotions in the characters. The raw pain and fear they each feel, not knowing if their friend/colleague will live or die. It's an emotional read that I think advanced not only Dallas and Peabody's relationship but solidified Peabody and McNab.

The hunting of the serial killer speeds up after Peabody's attack. The ending doesn't come as a complete surprise but there is a twist that I didn't see coming and may surprise some readers. At this, the 22nd book in the series, Robb continues to write strong, versatile characters that continue to fascinate this reader.

Rating: A


  1. Wow, an A! I have a good one to look forward to. I'm stuck on this Challenge! I've had Ceremony on my coffee table now for 2 months... I need to get going again. :(

  2. Haven't gotten to this one yet. I've just started Divided. (and boohoo! won't have a post this month for the challenge). But a great review! The quotes have me itching to read it.

  3. Hils ~ Sometimes it's good to take a break from a series, otherwise the books can start to blend together. I do remember the character of Jamie is introduced in Ceremony. I like him a lot!

    Lori ~ Roarke and Eve crack me up. Sheer terror at the though of being near a baby. LOL

  4. Interesting. LOL. I remember enjoying parts of this book like all the scenes you mentioned... but I personally thought that Visions and Division were the two weakest books in the In Death series... those are two books that made me consider actually stopping the series.

    Glad you enjoyed it though :) and now, I feel like I should go and re-read them... just to see how I would feel now.

  5. Nath ~ wow - talk about different reactions! LOL This is one of my favorites for Dallas and Peabody and their relationship. Interesting how we all take different things from the books.

  6. I skimmed your review because I've got maybe 10 books to go before I get to this one, but I did read the quotes you pulled and really laughed out loud!!!

    I honestly didn't read your post here before I posted the July Challenge post on my blog--and what a coincidence that we both brought up things that make Eve panic. It's so funny to watch her flip out like this. LOL!!!

  7. Christine ~ She's so capable in nearly everything she does that it's funny when she's so out of her element.