New York To Dallas, by JD Robb

>> Sunday, January 15, 2012

TITLE: New York To Dallas

PAGES: 416

SETTING: 2060s New York
TYPE: Romantic suspense / Police procedural
SERIES: 34th full-length novel in the In Death series

The new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, which takes readers deeper into the mind of Eve Dallas than ever before.

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name-and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.

When a monster named Isaac McQueen-taken down by Eve back in her uniform days-escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.
This new installment in the In Death series comes with a title that breaks the pattern of the previous ones, but with a plot that doesn't. It provides quite a lot more than recent books on the personal front, but it's still very much an In Death book.

Back in Eve's rookie days, when she was still a beat cop, she accidentally stumbled upon the lair of Isaac McQueen, a pedophile who liked to "collect" young girls. A routine round of door-knocking after a purse-snatching on the street below led to McQueen's apprehension. Eve's perceptiveness in realising something was not quite right when she knocked on McQueen's door, as well as her success in capturing him, brought her to Feeney's notice in Homicide, and the rest is history.

It's not history to McQueen, though, and when he breaks out of prison, determined to recreate his collection, he plans to also get his revenge on the cop who got him. Not only will he kill Eve, he will mess with her head by forcing her to face him in Dallas, the city that looms so large in her childhood memories.

With this series, it often feels like there are two separate aspects. There's the police procedural aspect and there's the personal, relationship stuff. The best books marry the two well and make each as strong as the other, while the merely good concentrate on one of the two elements. This one is of the former type.

The case is really well done. It's stomach-turning, but the way Eve and her team approach the investigation is solidly enjoyable, and McQueen himself might be vile, but he's vile in an interesting way.

But it's the way that the investigation and the case itself affect Eve that is even more fascinating. If you've been following this series, you'll guess that a case such as this one will prove particularly difficult for Eve to handle, given her past. And when you add the fact that she's had to do this in Dallas, and that this is because McQueen knows of her past, it's especially bad for her. There is quite a big revelation here, and while not particularly shocking (I guess the change in titles had me looking for a big shock somewhere), it was very, very good.

And lest I sound like a sadist, gloating at how Eve suffers, it's the way she and Roarke deal with all this that makes it great. They might not have been married for that long, despite the tens of books, but they're miles from where they were when Eve's past first started to emerge. They are a unit now, and the trust and caring make things bearable that wouldn't have been otherwise.

MY GRADE: A solid B+.


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