>> Sunday, October 07, 2012
'What would cause someone to want so many people, surely many of them strangers, to slaughter each other?'When Eve and her team are called in to investigate an incident at a popular after-work bar, the scene they encounter is horrific. Some 80 people are dead, almost everyone who was in the bar at the time, and they have suffered horrific injuries.
The scene that greets Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her team one terrible evening in New York is more shocking than any of them have ever witnessed. The usually comfortable downtown bar is strewn with bodies - office workers who have been sliced, bludgeoned or hacked to death with the nearest weapon available. It appears they all turned on each other in a desperate blinding rage.
As Eve and her husband Roarke - who owned the bar among his many properties - investigate the big-business workers of the city, they link the attacks back to the Urban Wars and the chemical warfare used all those years ago. With another slaughter imminent, Eve must turn to unexpected sources in order to stop a killer who is getting revenge by creating mass carnage...
It soon becomes obvious that it wasn't some sort of explosion. It's even worse: these people suddenly started attacking each other with anything at hand, fighting to the death within a matter of minutes. The very few survivors report a sudden headache and then hallucinations, and initial forensic analysis finds traces of a mix of substances designed to incite a murderous frenzy.
What happened is clear, but why? The obvious answer is terrorism, and the links that Eve soon discovers to incidents that happened during the Urban Wars point in that direction. But Eve is not so sure.
This one was a pretty average installment in the series. Average for the series, that is, which means it's above average in general, but while I enjoyed it, I had a few issues with it.
What I liked the most about it was the glimpses into the events of the Urban Wars. I'm always very intrigued about the recent past of the world these characters live in, and like it when it's relevant to the stories. I'm not sure how much sense Robb's world-building makes, but I enjoyed this element.
I also liked well enough the bits dealing with Eve and Roarke's personal issues. Eve is still unsettled by the events that happened in New York to Dallas, and Roarke helps her seek the help she desperately needs, but is reluctant to admit. It wasn't the most original conflict, as it kind of retreads some areas, but it does nicely make the point that it's not a matter of Eve being "cured", but that it will be a constant process, which hopefully will get easier every time.
What I had some big issues with was the main investigation. Now, the case itself was fascinating, and I thought the solution was really well done. The investigation itself, however, felt a bit off. I'm willing to accept Eve's immediate insight that this wasn't typical terrorism, that there was more to it, and that she needed to run this as a normal homicide investigation. Fine. But would she have been allowed to do this, and run it as she did? I don't think so. There doesn't seem to be a particular media frenzy about this, and people are still going about their business. Can you imagine that these days? It felt weird.
MY GRADE: A B.