Survivor in Death, by J.D. Robb (In Death # 21)

>> Thursday, June 09, 2005

Now that JD Robb's Origin in Death is about to come out in only a couple of months, I allowed myself to read the previous one, the latest so far: Survivor in Death. By my count, this is book 21 in the series (I count Remember When, but not the two short stories).

The newest in the number-one New York Times-bestselling In Death series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke. Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb returns to the New York City of 2059-where Dallas will struggle to solve the murder of a seemingly ordinary family and to protect one small, terrified survivor.

The members of the Swisher family were murdered in their beds with brutal, military precision. The state-of-the-art security was breached, and the killers used night-vision equipment to find their way through the cozy, middle-class house. Clearly, Dallas is dealing with pros. It seems the only mistake they made was to overlook the nine-year-old girl cowering in the darkened kitchen.

Now Nixie Swisher is an orphan-and the sole eyewitness to a seemingly inexplicable crime. Kids are not Dallas's strong suit. But Nixie needs a safe place to stay, and Dallas needs to solve this case. With her partner, Peabody, back on the job-and her husband, Roarke, providing the kind of help that only he can give-Lieutenant Eve Dallas is running after shadows, and dead-set on finding out who's behind them.
This was a very good entry in the series, even a little better than the previous ones. I'm giving it the same grade I gave the others, a B+, but only because it didn't quite reach A level.

What gave Survivor an extra edge was how truly intriguing the crime investigated was. It was horrifying, but fascinating. 9 times out of 10, I just see suspense subplots as an excuse to read about the rest of the stuff in a book and don't spend even a minute wondering about them, but I spent quite a bit more than a minute trying to think of a reason why the whole Swisher family could have been obliterated like that.

When the answer came, I was actually a bit disappointed, which is what kept me from grading this higher. [Spoiler coming up, you know what to do, just highlight the following text to read. Hope it works!] I was hoping for a cleverer explanation than "they were killed by a nut who held a grudge". The explanation did make sense, but I felt let down.

The stuff going on outside of the investigation, the interactions between all the characters (and Eve's world is becoming pretty crowded), were as good as ever. The addition of Nixie, the little girl they are protecting, made things even more interesting. And I especially appreciated that Nora allowed Eve to still be Eve with this little girl and didn't turn her into an instant nurturing mother-hen.

I also enjoyed the little connections to previous books. They are small enough that if you don't catch them, it doesn't detract from your enjoyment, but when you do, it's fun.

Can't wait for Origin!


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