Friday, August 07, 2009

"Innocent in Death" by J.D. Robb

"Innocent in Death"
by J.D. Robb
Read by Susan Ericksen
Produced by Brilliance Audio 2007

I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse that the " Death" series of books are written by J.D. Robb, a pseudonym for Nora Roberts. I love the brilliant detective/mystery/thriller aspect of the writing, but Nora Robb creeps in the stories and you get that bodice busting romance type feel during moments of these books. I personally read them for the sci-fi detective novels aspect and just kind of skim inevitable romance and skip over the gratuitous sex, not that I'm a prude, it's just they seemed forced into the story. With that out of the way let's talk about what draws me to these books.

Lt. Eve Dallas is a take names / kick butt NYPSD homicide detective that always cracks the case. This series of books is set in the mid 21st Century around the year 2060. Dallas is married to the richest man on and off planet, Roarke. One of the things that makes this series interesting to me is the cast of characters. Dallas' assistant Detective Delia Peabody and Electronics Detective McNabb are just a couple of characters that make these books fun. I think Peabody is the queen of sarcasm.

The audio books in this series (including this book) are read by Susan Ericksen. Her voice work is phenomenal. She has a unique voice for each character and makes the listening to these books even more fun.

"Innocent in Death" begins with the death of a private school teacher. The teacher is found dead at his desk in his own filth. Obviously this leads to Lt. Dallas to suspect poisoning and the school becomes a crime scene. Who would want to kill this teacher. He was newly married and him and his wife were overwhelmingly in love, so rule out the spouse. He did however find out about another teacher making unwanted sexual advances on one of the school employees. Maybe it was a cover up. But soon the teacher that was suspected is found dead. Dallas must catch the killer before another dies.

With no known motives and various backgrounds of the victims this one has her stumped. But soon she comes to a suspect that surprises all. The problem with this case is not the lack of evidence, but, and here's where the Nora Roberts writing takes over, Lt. Dallas' husband, Roarke, is visited by one of his old flames that wants to relight that flame. This drives a wedge between Roarke and Dallas and between Dallas and her work.

With an ending to surprise all, I'd recommend this book for the detective story enthusiast, however, this is one of those books in the series that leans highly on the romance novel side of Nora Roberts.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:20 PM Comments: 0

Monday, May 04, 2009

"Portrait in Death" by J.D. Robb

"Portrait in Death"
by J.D. Robb
read by Susan Ericksen
produced by Brilliance Audio

I don't know what it is but I can't help but keep coming back to the " Death" series of books by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts.) Okay, I confess, i do know what it is, it's the little twist of science fiction that make these books something more than just a good detective novel. The series takes place in the near future, this book in particular in the year 2059. Just enough sci-fi gadgets to make it seem fun. But the real draw to these books is the no-holds-barred main character Lt. Eve Dallas. Lt. Dallas takes nothing from noone. And she can brawl with the best of them.

Another aspect of this series is the colorful, unique and richly written characters. Not only do they all have depth but it is easy to imagine what they are doing in their "off" time. While Lt. Dallas could take on the world by herself she doesn't need to and she's finding this out as each book pushes the series. Her husband the extremely rich Roarke who worked his way from being a street thug to a man who thrives on "making the deal" in the business world and has made his life extremely comfortable through the riches.

In this book however Roarke, usually the crutch holding Eve up in her tough times, is out of sorts. He finds that the woman who walked out of his life at the age of 5, whom he thought was his mother was not his mother, and that his real mother was murdered by his father. This could be disturbing enough but he now finds out he has family, his mother's twin sister is still alive as well as many cousins, uncles, aunts and even grandparents. This throws Roarke into an emotional roller-coaster ride that Eve takes time away from her murder case to help him cope with these emotions.

That side story or Roarke dwells on the side of the murder mystery in which Eve has to solve before a serial killer kills again. Someone is killing young college students and posing them for death portraits and claiming to take their "light" within himself so he may live forever. Each student is young, innocent and "full of light." The case builds to where Lt. Dallas and her aid Officer Peabody are tracking down photographers and kids in the techno-clubs.

Once again J.D. Robb writes a book that keeps you guess as to "whodunit" and at the same time takes you on a great story focusing on friends and family and support groups within. Also Susan Ericksen provides the voice for the audiobook and putting as much depth in the character's voices as J.D. Robb puts into the book.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 10:08 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Salvation in Death" by J.D. Robb

Salvation in Death
by J.D. Robb
Read by Susan Ericksen
Produced by Brilliance Audio
13 hours 23 minutes

Once again I get to visit the kick-butt New York cop of the Future, Lt. Eve Dallas. This time around it was less sci-fi and more simple detective work...there was of course a bit with recreating a portion of New York city in a hologram, that was cool, but not enough to grab the sci-fi part of my brain.

However the main thing that keeps the whole " Death" series by J.D. Robb interesting is the characters. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), has created a cast of some wonderful characters, and no matter what the crime these characters are fun, interesting and even seem like old friends, especially after reading a couple of the books. So I stayed interested regardless of the lack of cool gadgets.

You've got Eve Dallas a tough cop with great detective smarts who is haunted by a terrifying past. Her husband Roarke, the Irish street thug turned entrepeneur who now owns most everything on or off Planet. Some great side characters are also thrown into the mix with Eve's assistant Detective Peabody and her love interest, the colorful electronics division Detective McNabb, and a score of others that have a past, a present and you become interested in their future.

I go back and forth in this series between the audiobooks and the physical books. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the reader, Susan Ericksen. Ms. Ericksen's vocal abilities run the gamut in every book in this series. She captures with ease the Irish lilt in Roarke's voice, the entire character of Detective Peabody is encapsulated in the voice used. Not a single character is missed each with his/her own voice summing up their character. In this novel she even captures the accent of residents of Spanish Harlem with ease and as always is very convincing.

In "Salvation in Death," poisoned wine kills a priest at the Catholic funeral mass, Eve Dallas is called in as primary investigator. She pieces together disturbing clues that suggest identity theft, gang connections, and a deeply personal act of revenge. Then a second murder knocks the whole investigation sideways. With another poisoning of a religious figure, this time a televangelist with a world following. Something about the second killing doesn't seem to jibe with Eve. And soon she's investigating 2 separate but similar murders.

The murders of the two religious figures sends Eve on a crime-solving adventure that creates a bit of a morality tale that seems to say not all in the world is black and white, the gray areas are what are becoming more and more clear to Lt. Eve Dallas, NYPSD.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:41 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Judgment in Death" by J.D. Robb (2000)

"Judgment in Death"
by J.D. Robb
published byBerkley (2000)

It's been a while since I read one of the " Death" series of books by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts) so I picked up this book from earlier in the series. It was like visiting an old friend. NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas and her rich and powerful husband Roarke make a great crime solving team. Lt. Dallas works homicide and has a reputation for kicking butt and always solving the case. Roark owns pretty much everything on and off-planet. I say off planet because these books throw in the sci-fi twist to what are great detective novels. This book takes place in the Spring of 2059, which being that close in the future you still get real cop work being done, yet being far enough in the future that there are some real cool gadgets (automated cars, lasers, super cool computer systems and 'droid maid service).

Now, on with the story. Lt. Dallas is called to a murder scene in a strip club called "Purgatory" to find the place trashed and a dead body lying in a pool of blood. The victim was bludgeoned to death and the scene was made to look like a robbery gone bad. But Eve doesn't buy that. Roarke doesn't either looking around he notices that the expensive liquors were smashed rather than stolen and fenced, and surrounding the body are several credits, 30 to be exact. Roarke is on scene to Eve's dismay because, as usual, this is a property he owns. Eve turns the body over to discover that the victim was lying on his badge. The badge is intentionally covered in blood. With these symbols; blood on the badge, and 30 "pieces of silver", Eve realizes this was no robbery but that a statement is being made.

On her way home from the scene she is confronted by former lover now Internal Affairs officer Webster. Webster drops hints for Eve to follow the money. Looking in to the victim's financials, it appears as though he was receiving large somes of money. The money seems to be coming from Ricker, a crime boss in New York that once had a shady relationship with Roarke.

After another cop's body is found Eve now has two crimes to close, finding the cop-killer and bringing down the crime boss that is funding these bad cops. The problem is that the first victim was a plant by Internal Affairs to find all the cops on the take and that the IAB was trying to make him look bad to cover themselves. Eve discovers that another precinct seems to be the breeding ground for corrupt cops and one of their own is killing off the bad cops. So before anymore bodies show up Eve and Roarke (who also becomes a target of Ricker) use pure instinct, cop know how, and great gadgets to catch a cop-killer and bring down Ricker.

Once again this book is full of the great characters that are prominent in these novels. You've got the trusty, although sometimes sarcastic aide to Lt. Dallas, Officer Peabody, Electronics Division Captain Feeney, and NYPSD psychologist/profiler Dr. Meara. A great team of great personalities are what make these books worth the read.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:41 PM Comments: 0

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Reunion in Death" by J. D. Robb Published by Berkley, 2002

"Reunion in Death"
by J. D. Robb
Published by Berkley, 2002 

Once again Nora Roberts, er...ummm...I mean J.D. Robb has created a exciting futuristic detective novel in the " Death" series.  This book, like most of the other books in this series, starts out running and never lets up until the villain is caught.  (Not much of a spoilere there, really, because Lt. Eve Dallas, NYPSD always gets her man, or in this case woman.)
Before I get to the meat of the story of this book I would like to point out a few things.  The characters in this series of books are awesome!  They are so realistic and their relationships are very human and work well to show the human side to drama.  The action in these books usually is up and down but with this one it never lets up. 

I really only have one complaint with these books but really it's not much of one.  It has to do with the graphic sex scenes throughout all the books in this series.  I understand Eve and Roarke really love each other and are a very physical married couple and I understand that Nora Roberts is a romance writer, but jeez, enough already.  These books are perfect science-fiction detective novels with great character development but I feel the books are cheapened by the bodice-ripping sex scenes.  I keep looking for Fabio on the cover.  I have a hard time convincing people to keep reading these books when they get to the sex scenes.  Some of the scenes described could make a Licensed Companion (LC) blush.  In the future prostitution is legal as long as they are licensed.  It really is for me an abrupt stop in the story when Eve and Roarke start having sex and the details of such scene is drawn out in explicit detail.  Okay yeah I know now after reading most of the series to skip ahead about 10 pages, but .....c'mon!
One other thing but this is on the cool side of stuff.  For anyone who has read any of the novels or my reviews, you know that Lt. Eve Dallas' husband Roarke owns nearly everything on and off planet.  But in this novel we learn he has  a holodeck.   How cool is that?  A holodeck!  I love this guy.

Okay, here's the story. In this book Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke return to New York rested from a vacation. Eve is eager to get back to work in the madness and mayhem that is homicide in NYPSD. When she returns to her desk she finds her office has been cleaned and painted and all her paperwork filed. Is it pixies? Nope, Officer Peabody took initiative and finished all pending paperwork and cleaned Eve's office while she was away, but only after Peabody and EDD Detective McNabb came back from a vacation funded by Roarke.

Since there are no pending cases or paperwork, Eve opens up the cold case file and finds one that seems solvable, and proceeds to give Peabody her first case to fly solo on. But just as they return from interview a dead woman's husband there's a ruckus in the bull pen in homicide division and a faint smell of baked goods....hey, cops and doughnuts, even in the future they go hand in hand. Anyway, the baked good culprits are Officer Peabody's parents dropping in for a surprise visit. The visiting Peabodys wrangle their way in to staying in Eve's & Roarke's mansion. Now Eve has to do the one thing she detests most, entertain guests.

Luckily she becomes busy when a man is murdered and Eve is called on the case. The man was poisoned at his birthday party in plain sight of all the guests. Eve soon learns that one of the catering staff left the scene. The staff member is identified as Julianne Dunn, a woman who Eve had put in prison for murdering her three husbands, a black widow who likes to poison her husbands and take off with their riches.

This time Julianne Dunn is seeking revenge on Eve, the only woman that ever bested her. To do so she targets Roarke but before she takes away Eve's man she sends the Eve and her staff chasing red herrings, other murdered men that fit no pattern.

What turns out to be a global romp with great action and great detective work "Reunion in Death" is another superb sci-fi cop thriller that can get you hooked on this series. So if you like/don't mind the sex scenes go ahead and read them but if you think they are just fluff and serve little purpose (like i do) skip over them and enjoy an action packed thriller.


Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 10:04 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Betrayal in Death by J. D. Robb (pub. 2001)

Betrayal in Death
by J. D. Robb
Published by Berkley Publishing Group 2001

Once again we head into the future for another Nora, I mean JD Robb, action packed, futuristic, crime thriller featuring the super-bad, super-tough NYPSD homicide detective, Lt. Eve Dallas. This time Eve is on the trail of an elite killer for hire, who after brutally assaulting his victims he strangles them with sterling silver wire. To top that off he makes it a point to be seen and almost dares the cops to catch him.

It all starts at luxurious Roarke Palace Hotel, a maid walks into a suite for the nightly turndown - and steps into her worst nightmare. A killer leaves her dead, strangled by a thin silver wire. The second victim is an editor for one of Roarke's publishing companies and a personal friend of Roarke. Each victim getting closer to Roarke.

The killer is wanted by the FBI and Interpol and has not been hunted by them for a couple of decades. He's Sly Yost, a virtuoso of music and murder. A hit man for the elite. Lieutenant Eve Dallas gets to know him well. But in this twisted case, knowing the killer doesn't help solve the crime. Because there's someone else involved. Someone with a more personal motive. Eve must face a terrifying possibility, that the real target may, in fact, be her husband Roarke.

The FBI agents on the case catch wind of Dallas tracking down Yost and interfere when Eve has him cornered, thus allowing Yost to escape.

While all this is happening Roarke is in the middle of handling a multi-billion dollar auction to raise money for an actress from his past. Then another of Roarke's past shows up in the form of one of his best pals from Dublin, Mick Connelly. Mick is amazed that Roarke has gone on the straight and narrow, but once meeting Eve, he understands why.

Since the crimes hit so close to Roarke, Eve brings him on as a civilian consultant and the team of Eve and Roarke are ready to take on thieves and murderers. Also along for the ride are the great characters created by Robb; Electronics division Detectives Feeney and McNabb, Dallas's aid Officer Peabody...Peabody & McNabb are getting closer in their relationship...Commander Whitney even kicks some booty in this excellent installment of the " Death" series.

Everytime I read one of these books I get anxious and just want to let the Sci-Fi television network to get on the ball and start producing this series of science fiction cop shows. But after reading this one, I think there's another step we could take...COMIC BOOKS. Eve and Roarke fighting crime together are better than Batman & Robin, Captain America & Bucky, and even Scooby & Shaggy. These guys make a great team and with all the cool gadgets and the eccentricities of all the surrounding cast this would also be one heck of a comic book series. Yes these books are just that good.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 8:24 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Witness in Death written by J.D. Robb

Witness in Death
written by J.D. Robb
read by Susan Ericksen
audiobookPublisher: Brilliance Audio 2007
Original novel published by Berkeley 2000

We return once again to the world of Lt. Eve Dallas the best homicide detective in New York in the year 2059. This time the book starts out as Eve and Roarke are enjoying a play at Roarke's newly built "New Globe Theatre." The play is a stage version of the classic movie "Witness for the Prosecution." Dallas is enjoying the play because she is solving the crime while watching the play. The climactic scene in the play is at the end when the lead actor is stabbed by his wife onstage. The problem is that someone has switched the prop knife for a real one and the actor, Richard Draco, is murdered onstage in front of a couple thousand witnesses including Lt. Eve Dallas. Now Dallas has a homicide to solve.

"Witness in Death" is Book 10 in the " Death" series written by Nora Roberts' pseudonym J.D. Robb. It is the 10th book but the 11th story (one story appeared in an anthology) in the series that to date has 27 books (32 stories) in total. The books in this series are some really fun to read sci-fi crime thrillers, and this book is no exception.

While the crime itself took place right in front of Dallas, that doesn't make it cut and dry. After all who switched the prop knife for the real one, when did they do it and why? These are the questions that Eve and her crack team of NYPSD's finest have to solve. This time her team consists of electronics division detectives Feeney and McNabb, her aide, Officer Peabody (who has recently been exploring a love interest with McNabb), Officer Truehart, Dr. Mira - police psychologist, and Roarke (only because Roarke owns pretty much everything on and off planet and loves to dabble in his wife's work).

When it comes to who did it and why, that leads on a confusing trail, because everyone that knew the arrogant Richard Draco hated him and wanted him dead. All of them have a different reason for wanting him dead but it pretty much comes down to Draco being an arrogant jerk. (that's putting it pretty mildly).

When a stage hand is later found dead by hanging, the team rolls into overtime, because the stage hand had just booked a trip to Tahiti so probably didn't kill himself.

If you're wishing to check this book out in audio form, be prepared for a real treat. Susan Ericksen is the reader for all the " Death" books and has the vocal characterizations down perfect. My favorite is how she captures the entire character of Peabody in her voice. I'm afraid that if this is ever made into a movie, if they don't cast Holly Hunter as Peabody, I may have a hard time believing the actress. Listen to the audiobook and you'll see what I mean. Each of the character's voices created by Ms. Erickson are unique and you may feel you are hearing a multi-cast performance.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 7:41 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Loyalty in Death" by J.D. Robb (published by Berkely, 1999)

Once again we join New York's best homicide detective in the year 2059, this time it's not really a real homicide case that Lt. Eve Dallas is thrust into. Sure, there are dead bodies and a murder mystery for this kick-butt future cop to solve but this time a lot more is at stake and the culprits are terrorists.

Before I go too far with this one I would like to ponder with you; Why was it that beginning a few years before the attacks of 9/11 several authors were writing about terrorist attacks in New York or via aircraft? Chuck Palahniuk, Kyle Mills and J.D. Robb are just three that come to mind at the moment, but wow...that's a coincidence. Palahniuk and Mills had to go back an rewrite their books to not get too close to the actual attacks. Okay side venture over, let's get back to talking about "Loyalty in Death."

The beginning of the book gives us a simple little warning from a terrorist group calling themselves "Cassandra." "We are Cassandra, We Are Loyal," is how they begin every communication. Cassandra seems to be an off-shoot of a terrorist group from after the "Urban Wars" known as "Apollo." "Apollo" had terrorized the nation seeking to take over the country by blowing up landmarks and all ending with the destruction of the Pentagon, after which the leader was killed and nothing further was heard from "Apollo." If you know your mythology the you know Apollo to granted Cassandra the gift of prophecy and Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy. But this warning is that Lt. Dallas may be a problem in their plans so they have to take her out, or in the least, keep her busy, and busy she is.

One of the best tool and toy maker's on and off planet, J. Clarence Branson, has just been murdered by his wife by one of his company's own drills. The wife Lisbeth Cook, is very calm about the whole deal, she found out he was cheating and in a fit of rage, she uses the drill to stick him to the wall. She remarks, "that model IS very reliable." Something doesn't sit right with Eve on this one, and not just the fact that she gets the murder charge knocked down to murder 2 and will hardly do any jail time. More is fishy when Lisbeth gains a nice couple hundred million dollars from J. Clarence's will. This does not go over well with J. Clarance's brother and business partner B. Donald Branson.

At the same time Eve gets a communique from "Cassandra" saying that a building will be blown up. All this while Eve is investigating the mysterious death of an underground electronics expert by the name of "Fixer." Just thinking of all this work makes my blood pressure rise, but it's all in a day's work for Lt. Dallas, Eve, NYPSD.

Throughout the book Eve Dallas solves 3 murders, and attempts to thwart the destruction of several New York city landmarks. On top of all this her Aide, Officer Peabody, discovers she and Electronics Division Detective McNabb share a mutual interest, each other. Also, Peabody's brother comes to town and is set up in another murder. Let's not forget Eve's husband Roarke, being the richest man on and off planet may keep him busy, but he's always ready to use his former criminal side to assist with the detective work, besides, he has the coolest toys and gadgets.

Lots of action in this one and a very fast paced book, you won't want to put it down. I will note that in the earlier publications of the book World Trade Center Twin Towers were one of the landmarks set for destruction by the terrorists, but in the audiobook that reference is removed. I think the same was done with all printings of the book after 2001.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 8:58 PM Comments: 0

Monday, September 08, 2008

Conspiracy in Death by J. D. Robb (The Penguin Group 1999)

I'm continuing in my quest to read all the novels in this great series by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts. I've read several and jumped back and forth from the first few to the last few. This is number 9 in the series (if I have my books correct) and it delivers the same punch all the others in the series do. I can say this about the series; There is not a single bad book in it. Each book can be read independent of the series, but if I had it to do over again I think I would like to read them in order. At times it's fun to see what happens to the characters and then go back and revisit where they were introduced in the series, but J.D. Robb not only creates great characters from the start but knows how to develop them through the series and make them seem more than real.

In this book for instance we are introduced to the NYPSD Officer Troy Trueheart, in my interpretation he's a bit of a Jimmy Olsen type character, young, eager and good at his job. Later in the series he comes to the detective division and works under Detective Baxter and with this intro we get more of an understanding in his character. Basically any character in the series will come back as long as they are not killed. We are also introduced to Dr. Louise Dimatto who will later run a clinic/home for women that is funded by Roarke.

In this book Lt. Eve Dallas and her assistant Delia Peabody, are called to a crime scene by Officer Ellen Bowers, and Officer Troy Trueheart. A homeless man, that goes by the name "Snooks" is killed, his heart removed. The heart is removed with the skill of an extremely talented surgeon. Dallas and Peabody both know a serial killer is preying on the city sidewalk sleepers. With all of the cities resources, and Eve's billionaire husband Roarke, Eve develops solid leads, but the puzzle is a free clinic run by a saintly doctor, Dr. Louise Dimatto. Soon though, three are dead, and Eve is running out of time.

Unfortunately for Eve, trouble is also coming from within the police force. Officer Ellen Bowers is deranged, and obsessed with Eve. She obsessively writes a journal about all the terrible things that, she believes, Eve has done. One night, going home to her apartment, still obsessing, Bowers is attacked, and killed. The blame is quickly placed on Eve, who is stripped of her badge, and goes into a deep depression because her badge and her job define who she is. Only her husband Roarke can bring her back, and help her figure out why four people are dead, why someone wanted her off the force, and why this is all being done.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 7:07 PM Comments: 0

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Midnight in Death" by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) (Published by Berkley 2005)

Lt. Eve Dallas must postpone her first Christmas with Roarke to hunt for an escaped serial killer.

In going back and finding the books in the " Death" series by JD Robb that I haven't read yet, I found this little treat. Little in that this book is under 100 pages long. If you haven't read the series yet, this may not be the first in the series but it might be a good introduction for someone to start with. It does have some references to previous books but it is a fast read, you won't want to put it down.

If you've been reading my reviews on the " Death" series of books you already know I really love the writing and the characters created by JD Robb. Robb is actually the alter-ego of Nora Roberts. These books all take place in New York around the year 2058 and provide some great cop/crime/thriller/sci-fi reading material.

In this book Lt. Eve Dallas is just hours off the previous case, see "Holiday in Death," and is called in on a homicide in which the mutilated body of a judge is found in the middle of the ice rink in Rockefeller Center. The reason she's called in is that she's among 5 other names on a note found pinned to the judge. It turns out she's the arresting officer and the one who cracked the case on David Palmer 3 years prior. Palmer has broken out of prison seeking revenge. Palmer claims his murder/tortures are for science and is a bit of a whack job.

Eve now has until midight New Years Eve to find Palmer and bring him down, or risk the life of her closest friend Dr. Mira. In perfect Eve Dallas form she tracks down Palmer and fights the good fight...but will she be in time? With her team of NYPSD detective and officers and a little inside help from her insanely rich and techno-savvy husband Roarke this thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat up until the last page.

Great short read, and trust me you'll get hooked on the series.

I have said in prior reviews that the one thing that makes these books awesome is the characterization. The characters, while set in the future, are very real in all aspects and Robb/Roberts' writing is what makes them jump out of the page. My only complaint is that too much time is wasted in these books with descriptive sex scenes. I'm no prude but I really think we get that Dallas and Roarke are in love and don't need the detailed sex scenes to prove that. But in another aspect it's one other thing that could appeal to some. These books have everything, crime stories, great police work, great characters, humor, sci-fi and action, so I guess a little sex will get that one niche of reader that still isn't sure.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:08 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Ceremony in Death" by JD Robb (pub. 1997)

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 home, 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 sense of right and wrong - and brings her closer to a
confrontation with humanity's most seductive form of evil...

That is how the book's cover lures you in, but let me tell you that, there is oh so much more in this book. Before I talk about the book I've got to get this off my chest. I've mentioned before that the " Death" series of books by JD Robb would make a great series, especially on the Sci-Fi channel. The book has great characters in which an ensemble cast could easily bring to life. (most of the work is already written into the books.) There is great action and mystery and some great sci-fi touches that make the stories more fun. On top of all that the books feature holiday linked themes that work really well on tv series. There are a couple of the books that take place around the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years). Then there is this book which would make a great Halloween episode. The setting is Halloween 2058 and the police officer's death is pointing ot a witch's spell or possible from the Church of Satan.

The fellow police officer whose death begins all this died of a heart condition. However he never had a heart condition on record. His former partner and best friend happens to be the best Electronics Division cop, Feeny. Yes the same Feeney that taught Dallas the ropes and is mentor/ father figure to her as well. Commander Whitney puts Dallas on the case to prove that Feeney or his former partner were doing anything wrong. To do this Dallas has to work behind Feeney's back. Feeney gets word of this and is hurt because he wasn't in and takes it out on Dallas.

The investigation leads to a circle of witchcraft both black and white and a battle between the two. Oh yeah and it just so happens to be Halloween. Dallas now has to not only prove 2 cops innocence ( one dead and one her mentor) she also has to investigat 3 more homicides. One is nailed to an inverted pentagram outside her home. Being the practical cop Dallas works with only logic and is not distracted by con artists or "witches".

So if you are looking for some Halloween fare this fall try this book for fun.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 11:03 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Born In Death" by JD Robb (pub 2006)

If you have read any of the books in the " Death" series, you pretty well know how busy Lt. Eve Dallas, homice, NYPSD, can be. In this book the author decides that's not enough and really lays it on Eve Dallas, but on top of being busy this book is fun, especially at the end. I will warn you there is a bit of a spoiler in this review so you may not want to read the end. The spoiler will not be about the case(s) Dallas is working on but about her friend Mavis Freestone, the rockstar.

In the sci-fi world of Lt. Eve Dallas, cop work still comes down to talking to folks and in this case tracing the money. However, being the future and being married to Roarke (the wealthiest man on or off planet) there are some neat tools to help with the money trail. That is just what is needed here. Two accountants are found murdered and Dallas is primary detective on the cases. It seems as though the accountants found something big that could get someone in serious trouble, they were going to try to expose the criminals before going to the police. But that's what got them killed. Now Lt. Dallas has to find what they found.

On top of this Eve and Roarke are attending birthing coach classes, not because Eve is pregnant, but because her best friend Mavis Freestone, rockstar, vidstar and party animal is about to pop and wants Eve and Roarke to be there at the birthing, along with Mavis' cohab partner , fashion designer Leonardo. Eve and Roarke are horrified by the idea of being present at the birth, but will do this favor for their friend.

One of the women Mavis met at the coaching classes is a single woman who is also about to pop. Tandy has just moved to New York from London and is Mavis' pregnant pal. When Tandy doesn't show up to Mavis' baby shower, Mavis gets worried and as victim of hormones falls apart worrying about Tandy. She makes Dallas promise to find her. So now Dallas has 2 cases to work a double homicide case which turns up a third homicide, to find a missing person, and to be prepared to be Mavis' coach for the birth.

As it turns out the missing persons and the homicides seem to tie together. So strap yourself in for this thrill-a-second sci-fi detective novel by JD Robb.

Now for the somewhat of a spoiler portion of the review. One of the many things I've come to appreciate about this series of books is that they are well rounded in action, suspense, thrills, mystery and even some comedy. The comedy aspect really comes in to play at the end of this book when Mavis gives birth. The scene described with Dallas, Roarke, Somerset, Mavis, Leonard, et. al. is just some really good comedy that almost falls in the slapstick category. This scene alone made the entire book worth the read. There are some serious emotional highs in the finale of this book.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:34 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Origin in Death" by J.D. Robb (pub. 2005)

I'm continuing in my quest to read all the books in the " Death" series by J.D. Robb, a.k.a. Nora Roberts. This is the sci-fi series about NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas, Homicide division. Lt. Dallas kicks butt and takes names, most of the time she forgets the pencil, but she always gets the job done. I accidentally read one of these books thinking it was just a straight sci-fi detective book. I was surprised to find they were written by romance/thriller writer Nora Roberts. I'm glad I have discovered these books. They are fun and full of excitement. Especially this one.

"Origin in Death," I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the best book in the series. This has got all the great stuff of a great sci-fi/Detective novel. In fact this book would give Isaac Asimov and his R. Daneel Olivaw books a good run for the money. Great gadgets, great sci-fi/bordering on "could happen now" plot and, as with all the books, great action/thrills.

A well known doctor of cosmetic surgery is found murdered. The murder all points to a professional hit. The murderer was in, murdered with one stab of a scalpel, and out with no detection and within a matter of minutes. The murderer is caught on all security cameras and is an extremely beautiful woman. Her face does not turn up in any face recognition databases but her ID used to get past the 'droid and human security makes her to be a resident of Madrid, Spain.

This doctor, Doctor Icove, and his son, Dr. Icove, Jr. run a unique center which not only is the place for vidstars to get work done in complete privacy but also gives back to the community in many ways, donations of money and surgery for victims. The good doctors are saints. But Eve Dallas doesn't believe anyone can have that perfect of a record. Something has to be hidden, and to solve this homicide Eve will have to find that something.

Eve finds secret files in Icoves computers and these files refer to numerous cases of women ages 17-22 in which the records not only list healt records but IQ results. Not normal for cosmetic surgery. The first suspicion is that the doctor was experimenting with 'droid/human hybrids, which were outlawed back in the 2030's. But after following the money trail even more of a danger is discovered. After Dr. Icove Jr. is found murdered, Eve now has 2 murders that lead to a hidden institution and dangerous cloning experiments.

One thing I've always mentioned when writing about these books is the great characterization Robb/Roberts has created within these books. One of my favorites is Eve's husband Roarke. To some Roarke may be the "deus ex machina," because he is one of the wealthiest men on and off planet and that he has some of the coolest gadgets. Roarke is always at Eve's disposal and they make a great crimefighting team. Oh yeah that and his former criminal side sneaks in every so often, for example, his unregistered computer system that can find anyone and anything without being detected by CompuGuard.

As a side note, if you like audiobooks or would like to give audiobooks a try, I HIGHLY recommend checking these out. They are read by Susan Ericksen, and she provides great vocal qualities to each character so that you feel as if you are listening to a radio play.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 8:35 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Visions in Death" by J. D. Robb (pub. 2004)

Once again the butt-kicking NYPSD cop, Lt. Eve Dallas, is primary on a series of murders. The murders seem to be some sort of work of a serial killer. All victims are brutally raped and beaten then murdered and their eyes removed. Sounds like a grisly case and yes it is. This time around Dallas gets some help from a psychic who is seeing visions of the murders.

The psychic is pretty much only affirming what Dallas and her partner Detective Peabody already know, the murderer is a man who has a vengeance against women and is really, really big in size and strength. The key to wrapping this case will be the murder weapon, red chording, which is used to strangle and then tie the victims in a praying position for discovery. The chording is found in most craft stores, but Dallas uses all her faculties to wrap this one. Besides that this is the future and computers are much more powerful and everything is accessible.

One thing with all the " Death" books by J.D. Robb is that there is always some sort of separate meaning to the books. In this one it is the definition and discovery of friendship. Because of her troubled life Dallas has never allowed herself to have friends, not close ones anyway. This book develops as Dallas is discovering how tight her circle of friends really is and the strong bonds held between them. She also tells Peabody the entire story of her past in forming a tighter bond with her police partner and friend.

Peabody becomes a target of the murderer and (spoiler alert here!!!!) she is severely beaten and ends up in the hospital. The friendships and bonds become even more clear at this point and the extremely well written characters in the series all surround Peabody in her hospital room as she recovers and the reader is given the great treat of really feeling like being a part of the scene.

With that spoiler alert I will also let hang this; there is a great twist at the end of the book so just when you think the crime is solved and the murderer put away.....hang on to your socks.

I've somewhat complained in the past about the fact that these books are really written by romantic thriller author Nora Roberts, and that she always throws in the romance in the books. In this book she really makes it work with the discovery of friendship and I really appreciated that. I still am not fond of all the sex in these books. Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means a prude, but I just don't like reading about folks having sex, bordering on the erotica, the sex scenes in these books allow me to skip several pages and getting the book read much faster.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 11:31 PM Comments: 0

Monday, June 02, 2008

"Divided in Death" by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts) (pub. 2004)

Once again JD Robb brings us to the "near" future to investigate a crime with NYPSD's toughest cop, Lt. Eve Dallas. This time, as has happened to Eve before this homicide investigation leads to Roarke, Eve's extremely wealthy husband. This time however the victim is the husband of one of Roarke's Security geek employees, Reva Ewing, and the scene is set up to look like Reva killed her husband and best friend after finding they were sleeping with each other.

Before I get to the crime of passion that is a poorly set up frame job, let me tell you about these books. The "...In Death" series of book all revolve around Lt. Eve Dallas and are set about 50+ years from now. Just far enough into the future for some really cool gadgets that I as a sci-fi geek love. This book especially brings out the geek in me because the crime turns out to involve a government agency that evolved out of Homeland Security, and the operatives are now referred to as spies or spooks. One of the reasons Reva Ewing is targeted for the fram is that she is working for Roarke on a "Code Red" Project. This project is to create a shield for a computer worm that would possibly bring down every network in the world. Roarke's company along with many others are contracted through several world governments to create the shield. Roarke's is the one that seems close to cracking the code and blocking the worm.

Through some serious technology and some good old fashioned cop-work Lt. Eve Dallas and her team of Electronics Division Detectives Feeney & McNabb and her assistant the new Detective Peabody and Civilians from Roarke's company the true killer is brought down. But the fun doesn't end there.

Another aspect of these books I've found interesting is that the title of the book is usually a great clue as to how the crime started or will be solved. In this one, however, that is not the case. In this book, the title refers to a subplot created that puts a wedge between Eve and Roarke and has the potential to destroy their marriage. Keep in mind that JD Robb is actually Nora Roberts and Nora Roberts is a romance/thriller writer. Well the romance comes out in this one in the form of Roarke and Eve working out their problems.

From reading previous "...In Death" books it is learned that Eve Dallas, as a child, was a victim of beatings and rapes by her father before she stabbed him to death and became a ward of the state. In this book it is found out that Homeland Security had her father under surveillance and knew what was going on in the home and to the child now known as Eve Dallas. But the kicker is that Homeland Security allowed it to continue, and even cleaned up after Eve killed her father. Here is where the wedge comes in. Roarke, wants revenge and finds the names of the folks that allowed this to happen and threatens to "make them pay." Eve cannot allow this to happen and the two start avoiding each other. Very interesting subplot here.

As I've always said these books are great sci-fi cop thrillers with some romance thrown a little something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and pick up one in the series...if not this one...and get hooked.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 6:48 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Interlude in Death" by J.D. Robb (a novella pub. 2006)

In early spring of 2059, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called off planet to face a grueling ordeal - giving a seminar at the largest police conference of the year, to be held in a swanky resort. A resort which just happens to be owned by her husband, Roarke, of course. As usual Lt. Dallas is never a cop and during this seminar she has a huge case to break. Only this case once again deals with Roarke's dark past and may tarnish the reputation of a veteran cop that is a living legend and has an untarnished history.

The nice thing is that on this resort as part of the conference the crack NYPSD staff has been sent along with Eve. She is accompanied by her aide, Officer Peabody, Electronics Division Chief Feeney, & Police Psychologist Dr. Mira. Eve is confronted by the living legend and his bodyguards (bodyguards at a police conference?). The legend asks Eve to help him to finally bring down Roarke. This of course only angers Eve and as she gets up to leave one of the bodyguards grabs her, she then proceeds to break his nose and maybe his arm. That bodyguard is later found dead.

The legend, Commander Skinner, it seems has a past with Roarke, actually with Roarke's father. Roarke's father was a weasel that double crossed Skinner and the double-cross resulted in the death of police officers under his command. Now it seems as though Skinner wants Roarke to pay for his father's deeds.

But things are not always what they seem in these science-fiction cop thrillers by J.D. Robb, and it is up to Lt. Eve Dallas to solve the crime and to protect Roark (who really doesn't need protecting) and the reputation of Commander Skinner.

Once again J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) will keep you up all night solving this crime.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:01 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Vengeance in Death" by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)(pub. 1997)

Just when Lt. Eve Dallas is done for the day, she and her aide, Officer Peabody, are preparing to go home to spend some well deserved down time. But crime doesn't rest and when Lt. Dallas gets a personal call on her comm-link a murderer has tagged her to be the primary on the murders he's about to perform. The murderer gives Eve a puzzle to solve but, by the time she solves it and arrives on the scene the victim is already dead.

Soon Eve gets another communication, another puzzle and another victim. In a series of murders that has Lt. Eve Dallas chasing after her number one suspect, Summerset, her husband Roarke's major domo and best friend. Also it would probably make Eve so very happy to arrest Summerset, after all they hate each other, but she knows he didn't do the crime and is being set up.

The crimes seem to start to dig in Roarke's dark criminal past. All are people Roarke once used or friends that helped him to find the murderer's of Summerset's daughter over a dozen years in the past in the year 2043. The chase is on and the clock is ticking. Not only does Eve have to catch the murderer before any more murders occur, she also needs to catch him before Roarke does, knowing what he is capable of when his friends or family are threatened.

This book takes us a bit deeper into the dark history and mystery that is Roarke. The reader of this series of books by J.D. Robb is rewarded in this installment by finding more about the relationship between Roarke and Summerset and their dark pasts. A fun aspect of the book is that in learning of Roarke's past, Roarke and Eve go to Ireland. On the Emerald Isle Eve finds the beauty in the land but also finds why a dark past is possible. Roarke visits the site where his father was killed and seems to get a little more closure.

Once again J.D. Robba (Nora Roberts) has created another fun sci-fi murder thriller. If you haven't read any of the books in this series give them a try, it really doesn't matter which book you start with, the great writing, characterization and great dialogue makes these books fun to read and easy to get lost in.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 9:25 PM Comments: 0

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Immortal in Death" by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)

One of the things I have found to be the best aspect of the " Death" series of books (of which this is book 3 of 30) is the depth of the characters. Sure, when you create a series of books you have more "time" to develop characters but J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts had the characters developed from book one. So what is it that makes these characters pour out of the pages and come to life? I think I have figured it out...dialogue. Not only is their dialog realistic it can range from sad to funny and sometimes all in the same line. That is the depth of humanity. So how can that be carried in a book about a cop from 2058 with some great sci-fi gadgets and the ability to solve any case? Again I think I have discovered another answer...the writer J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts. So, while J.D. Robb writes great sci-fi detective stories, Nora Roberts is the actual writer, and she's a romance writer. So the human factor to these books comes from the love and romance. Love of the job, love for one another and love for friends and love for lovers. There is where the depth comes from.

That being said let's talk about this book in the series. "Immortal in Death" I'm going to have to say (at least at this point...I haven't read them all, I'm jumping back and forth from the newer books to the older books) is the best book in the series. This one is where all the characters really meld and bonds are created. On top of that this book has a great mystery, and some great action in finding the murderer(s).

In this book Lt. Eve Dallas (homicide detective for NYPSD) is getting ready for her wedding to Roarke. That's pretty much all the name he uses and all he needs. He owns practically everything on the planet and most off planet ventures have his hands in them, and the practical cop, Dallas, has some nervousness about that. Not only does she not want him to think she's marrying for money, she also, due to a tragic childhood, is not sure about her own ability to love.

With that in place Dallas' weasel, (police snitch) Boomer, is found dead. Not just dead but he is found severely beaten to death. In his apartment is found an unknown drug and the data on the manufacture of this drug. Dallas wants this case and wants to solve it now. At the same time her best friend, musician Mavis Freestone, has a boyfriend that is a fashion designer and wants to design Dallas' wedding dress. Where is she going to find the time? As she does find time the designer, Leonardo is visited by his ex-girlfriend who immediately commences to attack Dallas physically because she thinks Dallas is his new girl.

This ex-girlfriend is later found beaten to death and Dallas' best friend Mavis looks to be the prime suspect. Another case for Dallas to take but this time it's personal. She knows Mavis couldn't do such a thing. With all odds against her Dallas soon finds the two murders are connected by this unknown drug. What looks to be a new illegal substance ready to be launched on the world and the distributors are models, actors and producers this becomes a media frenzy.

The detective work begins, the mystery becomes completely entangled and with what actually turns out to be a great twist in a whodunit this book delivers a great punch that will captivate you from page one.

"Buy From" button 90x28

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 10:41 PM Comments: 0

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Glory in Death" by J.D. Robb

"Glory in Death" is the second book written in the " Death" Series, originally published 1995. This series is written by J.D. Robb which is the pen name for Nora Roberts. The series started as a side idea/venture Nora Roberts had where she would write about a Kick-butt-take-names get-justice-served cop in the future. Due to contractual agreements with her publishing company she had to write these under a pen name. This series of books (now about 30 books in the series) is a break from the typical Nora Roberts romance fiction. The series follows New York Homicide Detective Lt. Eve Dallas as she fights for the victims and gets the mystery solved. The catch is that the first book is set in the year 2058 (with the latest in the series taking place in 2060) and being set in the future there are all sorts of great sci-fi gadgets to enhance the story and entice the not-into-romance reader.

This book is the second in the series and opens with the murder of a prominent female District Attorney. Then the murder of a famous actress. The two women have something in common and that is Lt. Dallas' extremely rich boyfriend, Roarke. In fact Roarke has a lot in common with many of the books in the series, but this link could tie him into the murders in a way that makes the investigation difficult for Lt. Eve Dallas.

Dallas soon deduces that what else the victims have in common, is fame. So to reach out to the killer she and prominent reporter Nadine Furst, set Eve up as bait by focusing on her on the news stories. This however ends up with Nadine's assistant being the next victim by mistaken identity. But Eve doesn't give up.

The nice thing about this book and the series is the characterization J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) uses. These are everyday people and their lives (in spite of having the sci-fi futuristic feel to them) seem normal and lure the reader in. This is the book where Roarke asks Eve to marry him. This is also the book where we meet Peabody a uniformed officer that becomes Dallas' aide and later partner.

This book, as well as the entire " Death" series, features lots of action, lots of thrills and great reading, with characters that come to life from the future.

"Buy From" button 90x28

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 8:09 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Strangers in Death" by J.D. Robb

The latest book in Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb's " Death" series featuring the kick @$$ future NYPSD detective, Lt. Eve Dallas, is one more to add to your must read list. The whole " Death" series has a lot going for it, such as; Sci-fi (being set in the year 2060), detective/crime thrillers, and with the background of Nora Roberts a little romance. The best thing the series has is the characterization. Not only do you have the great character of Lt. Dallas but all the other characters in the books are well written and full of depth. You've got Dallas' extremely wealthy husband Roarke (he owns most of the planet and some off-planet interests thrown in), her partner Detective Peabody is fun as well as a great host of many others. Sure it helps to have 30 some books in a series to build depth to the characters, but each book is written independent of the series. You can jump around through the books in no particular order (like i've been doing) or you can read them in order...just set aside some time.

This book has a few differences in the other books in the series, which makes it seem this may be a turning point in the series. But at the same time, it seems business as usual. Normally each book can be read without reading the earlier books in the series, but this one, for the first time I know of, makes some references to previous happenings in earlier books. They do not stop the story by any fact they intrigue and make the reader more apt to read the earlier books. Another difference is that Roarke the multi-billionaire is taking more of a part in the investigation process in this book as a civilian consultant. He has been used as a consultant before...but this time a lot more use of his resources is being made.

In "Strangers in Death" a prominent business man is murdered in his bed. His body, tied down with velvet rope and surrounded by sex-toys, is found by the "House Manager" (housekeeper). She immediately calls the police and then calls the man's wife who is vacationing in the Virgin Islands. It seems Thomas Avers was cheating on his wife and died during some kinky action. At least that's what the murderer wants you to think. To Lt. Eve Dallas, this doesn't hold water. Avers had a huge sports equipment franchise and ran several charities for children. When Dallas meets the wife, Ava Anders, her gut tells her the wife did it. But Ava was miles away when the murder happened and has a rock solid alibi.

Thanks to Eve's husband Roarke owning most of New York, doors are opened much easier for her and her investigation becomes easier, at least for the footwork part, most of the investigation is trying to hurdle the brick walls which make the investigation seem to end with no suspects.

At the same time some fellow detectives have a cold case that is bugging them and they hound Dallas to look into the case to see if they missed anything. She only sees that the dectives did their job and says, "Sometimes they just go cold."

But, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) could these cases be tied together? Upon further investigation Roarke mentions an old Hitchcock film "Strangers on a Train" and now the investigation rolls on like a runaway train with only Lt. Eve Dallas ready on the brakes.

Great action, great mystery and as usual great characters.

"Buy From" button 90x28

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Gil T. @ 8:02 PM Comments: 0