Born in Death, by J.D. Robb

>> Friday, January 19, 2007

The latest in J.D. Robb's In Death series Born in Death, is book # 24 already, and that's not counting the short stories! And I'm still having fun.

Eve Dallas has a grisly double homicide to solve when two young lovers—both employees of the same prestigious accounting firm—are brutally killed on the same night. It doesn't leave Eve a lot of leftover time to put together a baby shower for her buddy Mavis, but that's supposedly what friends are for.

Now Mavis needs another favor. Tandy Willowby, one of the moms-to-be in Mavis's birthing class, didn't show up for the shower. A recent emigrant from London, Tandy has few friends in New York, and no family—and she was really looking forward to the party. And when Eve enters Tandy's apartment and finds a gift for Mavis's shower wrapped and ready on the table—and a packed bag for the hospital still on the floor next to it—tingling runs up and down her spine.

Normally, such a case would be turned over to Missing Persons. But Mavis wants no one else on the job but Eve—and Eve can't say no. She'll have to track Tandy down while simultaneously unearthing the deals and double-crosses hidden in the files of some of the city's richest and most secretive citizens, in a race against this particularly vicious killer. Luckily, her multimillionaire husband Roarke's expertise comes in handy with the number crunching. But as he mines the crucial data that will break the case wide open, Eve faces an all too real danger in the world of flesh and blood.
With an interesting case, as well as plenty of interesting character-based stuff going on around it, this is a solid entry in this series. A B+.

The case: Two, actually. First, Eve is assigned the investigation into the deaths of two young accountants. Clues seem to point to one of them having found out something big in the course of her work, and telling her fiancé, the other accountant, resulting in the culprit killing them both for it.

And then, one of Mavis' pregnant friends disappears, seemingly into thin air, and Mavis guilts Eve into asking to be primary in an investigation that wouldn't even fall under her orbit in Homicide, but would really belong in Missing Persons.

I thought both cases were interesting enough on their own, but what took them a notch above was having to guess how they were connected. Because, although Eve never suspects they are, it's pretty obvious for us readers that they must be!

The character-based stuff: Ohhh, plenty.

Related to the case, there's some big tension between Eve and Roarke because the victims' employers question her ethics, implying she might let Roarke see confidential information about their clients, many of whom are his business rivals. Well, of course, they're questioning both's ethics, actually. Since the Commander feels the need to share these concerns with Eve, Roarke is incensed, and goes ballistic.

To be honest, this wasn't my favourite part of the book. For some reason I can't really pinpoint, Roarke's extreme reaction didn't ring true to me. When he starts making certain huge demands of Eve, my thoughts were along the line of "Whoa there! Who are you and what have you done with Roarke?". Thinking about it now, I recognize his reaction wasn't out of character at all, and as much about his being offended for Eve as about his being offended because someone implied he'd need to resort to cheating to win, but well, at the time I was reading the book, it hit me in the way I described.

What I liked much better was the whole thing about Mavis being about to pop and seeing Eve having to deal with all the implications. That was just loads of fun, seeing the strong, unflinching Eve freak out. I get the feeling the intensity of most of Eve's protests about everything related to the preparations was partly for show, because it was expected of her, but deep down, she really does find the whole thing pretty scary, especially the actual childbirth!


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