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.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:31 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.

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

Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Review: "Rapture in Death" by J.D. Robb

One of the things I like about not reading the " Death" series, by J.D. Robb, in order in which they are written is that I get little surprises about the pasts of the extremely well written characters from this series. In this book which was actually book #3 in the 30+ books in the series. In this entry into the series we join Lt. Eve Dallas and her new husband just as their honeymoon ends.

Now one thing to point out is that these books are set in the late 2050s which brings in some cool sci-fi gadgets which make the storytelling much more fun and for me it helps offset the romance/love scenes which I find "icky." Yeah, I'm not a romantic fiction fan. This book had more than the usual amounts of romance and sex but they were key to the, I let them slide.

Just before Eve and Roarke are finished with their honeymoon on an orbiting resort satellite, a death occurs. And sure enough, Lt.Dallas is a cop first and foremost and is immediately called to go to the scene. However it's not a homicide which is Eve's forte, this one is a suicide. But the suicide is that of a young computer whiz that was very happy in life and had no reason to "self-terminate." After all he was helping design the holo-suites on Roarke's resort. Did I mention that Roarke owns nearly everything on Earth and almost everything in the solar system? Yeah, he's rich. One other thing about the self-termination is that he has a huge unnatural smile on his face. This doesn't sit well with Dallas but she turns it over as a self-termination to the local authorities since orbiting satellites are out of her jurisdiction as a homicide detective from New York.

Arriving back on planet Dallas has her normal duties to solve cases and appear in court to make sure those cases are seen to their finish. One attorney that tries to break Dallas on the stand, is found the next morning as a result of self-termination. Dallas again thinks that this person was one of the least likely to self-terminate.

When the publisher of a big tabloid jumps to her death while Dallas is trying to talk her down, Lt. Dallas starts putting all these cases together and realizes some other force is at work and tying in these cases. What did they all have in common? Okay a bit of a spoiler here...they all relaxed with a new Virtual Reality system created by Roarke Enterprises.

This is also the book in which Dallas' friend, the rockstar, Mavis, gets her start. However the producer may have alternative motives. He may be the best producer/artist in the music world of 2058 but he experiments on Roarke and Dallas by sampling their brainwaves and becoming able to nearly make them puppets. This is where the strong amount of sex comes in. After a "session" with the producer, Jess, Dallas and Roarke end up making love like animals on the lawn of the lush Roark Estate.

This book is non-stop action, great mystery, great thrills and great characters. One such character makes her step in becoming a regular in the series. That character is Lt. Dallas' aid, Officer Peabody. Delia Peabody is such a fun character and her interaction with Dallas and Roarke create some great humor that helps to break from the constant action and mystery without halting the story. And of course Dallas and Roarke are fun. The dialogue in all these novels is natural and brings out all the relationships in the story.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:58 PM Comments: 0