>> Sunday, February 19, 2017
TITLE: Apprentice in Death
AUTHOR: JD Robb
SETTING: 2060s New York
TYPE: Police procedural
SERIES: By my count, 44th full-length title in the In Death series
The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people lay dead at Central Park's ice skating rink. There's a sniper loose on the streets of New York City, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas is about to face one of the toughest and most unsettling cases of her career.The ice skating rink in Central Park. Tourists, regulars and casual visitors are having a great time, until a skater goes off balance in the middle of a flying twirl and crashes into a young family. But she didn’t go off balance, she was hit by a laser shot, and within seconds, two more people have been fatally hit.
Eve knows that only a handful of people could have carried out such an audacious but professional hit. Even more disturbing: this expert in death has an accomplice. Someone is being trained in the science of killing - and they have a terrifying agenda of their own. With a city shaken to its core, Eve and her team are forced to hunt not one but two killers. Worse still - this talented young apprentice has developed an insatiable taste for murder...
Eve Dallas is called to investigate, and it soon becomes clear the shots came from nowhere near the rink. They're looking for a sniper, a really good one, and that's not even the biggest surprise. Turns out they're looking for two people, teacher and student, and the apprentice is clearly getting into killing.
Every time a new book in this series comes out, and they have been doing so at 6-month intervals for over 20 years, I'm suprised that Robb hasn't ran out of steam. I'm aware lots of people disagree and have gone off the series, but I'm still fully engaged. Yes, there are flaws (fantasy-billionaire Roarke has felt out of place in Eve's world for quite a few books now, as I've said again and again!), but not enough to matter to me. I continue to love these books.
Apprentice in Death featured a particularly solid case. It’s an interesting setup, but more than that, there’s solid detective work in identifying the culprits, and then even more in catching them and getting enough evidence for a conviction. It's a tense chase, as well, and it worked wonderfully.
The different books in this series have a different balance between the case and personal stuff. In this case, the focus was solidly on the case, but that didn't mean there was no character development. It's just that there wasn't really much external character stuff going all (we did get Bella's first birthday, but that was really minor). Here the character development comes directly out of the case. There's the way the random victims weigh on Eve, supporting one of the most appealing features of this series, which is that the victims are always portrayed as real people. They're given personalities and motivations, and their deaths affect others. But there are also the issues raised by the relationship between the culprits, as they lead Eve to ponder the nature of the mentor-mentee relationship, not to mention what might have been if Feeney had not been Feeney.
MY GRADE: A nice, solid B+.