Origin in Death, by J.D. Robb (In Death # 22)

>> Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Origin in Death is the latest in J.D. Robb's In Death series. Not counting the short stories, this is book # 22.

Set in 2059 in New York City, the number-one bestselling In Death series has given fans a searing glimpse into near-future law and order. Now, as scientists work to expand the limits of technology, Detective Eve Dallas tracks the cunning, cold-blooded killer of a father and son.

A pioneer of modern reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, Dr. Wilfred B. Icove, is found dead in his office-murdered in a chillingly efficient manner: one swift stab to the heart. Struck by the immaculate condition of the crime scene, Dallas suspects a professional killing. Security disks show a stunningly beautiful woman calmly entering and leaving the building-the good doctor's final appointment.

Known as "Dr. Perfect," the saintly Icove devoted his life to his family and his work. His record is clean. Too clean for Dallas. She knows he was hiding something and suspects that his son-and successor-knows what it is. Then, like father, like son, the young Dr. Icove is killed . . . with the same deadly precision.

But who is the mystery woman-and what was her relationship with the good doctors? While her husband, Roarke, works behind the scenes, Dallas follows her darkest instincts into the Icoves' pasts. What she discovers are men driven to create perfection-playing fast and loose with the laws of nature, the limits of science, and the morals of humanity.
After 22 books, this series still feels fresh. This wasn't among my favourite books in it, but it's a good entry in the series. A B.

I read the In Death books for the character development, mostly, and though I get the feeling there wasn't as much of it here as in the books I've loved the most, what was there was wonderful. I especially loved seeing Roarke nervous about something as natural and easy for most people as a family reunion.

As for the other "half" of the book, the one that dealt with Eve's case du jour, that was more than interesting and compelling enough. Eve's investigation of the death of the reconstructive surgeons, the Drs. Icove, was eerie and horrific and, at the same time, scarily plausible.

That said, I did have a couple of problems with it. For starters, the realization of what exactly was going on felt slightly too easy and immediate on Eve's part. This was so tremendously big, that I didn't really buy that her mind would immediately jump to the conclusion it did.

And then there's the book's climactic scenes, which didn't really have the feel of an In Death book. This might be an unfair criticism, of course, since I'm injecting my expectations in my evaluation, but while I was reading those scenes, I had to remind myself these were Eve and Roarke running around!


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