Kindred in Death, by JD Robb

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TITLE: Kindred in Death
AUTHOR: JD Robb

COPYRIGHT: 2009
PAGES: 384
PUBLISHER: Piatkus in the UK

SETTING: 2060s New York
TYPE: Romantic suspense / Police procedural
SERIES: Latest in the In Death series (30th full length novel, by my counting)

REASON FOR READING: Because I love the series and feel it's still got the magic, even after so many years

When the newly promoted captain of the NYPSD and his wife return a day early from their vacation, they were looking forward to spending time with their bright and vivacious sixteen-year-old daughter who had stayed behind.

Not even their worst nightmares could have prepared them for the crime scene that awaited them instead. Brutally murdered in her bedroom, Deena's body showed signs of trauma that horrified even the toughest of cops; including our own Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who was specifically requested by the captain to investigate.

When the evidence starts to pile up, Dallas and her team think they are about to arrest their perpetrator; little do they know yet that someone has gone to great lengths to tease and taunt them by using a variety of identities. Overconfidence can lead to careless mistakes. But for Dallas, one mistake might be all she needs to bring justice.
Hoping to spend Peace Weekend (two days off in a row!) relaxing with Roarke, Eve is instead called in to investigate the brutal rape and murder of the daughter of a fellow cop. It soon becomes clear that the murderer was somehow taking revenge on the victim's father, but why?

In terms of the relationships, there wasn't much big stuff going on here. As many put it, part of the attraction of reading the In Death series is that it feels like visiting with long-time friends. Well, this particular visit was a very uneventful on, which didn't make it any less enjoyable. Eve keeps getting better at being a friend, she and Roarke are still in love and still getting better and better at being a couple, and so on. Good stuff.

And while not technically relationship-related, it struck me in this book just how great NR is at creating characters, all sorts of characters. We all know our protagonists are among the best developed characters in romance, and so are the secondaries. Peabody and McNab, Louise and Charles, Feeney, Nadine, Mira, Summerset... all these recurring characters are more alive and more real than many heroes and heroines in other books. But it was the more minor ones that caught my attention in this book. The tens of people they interview or otherwise talk to in the course of the investigation also feel real and very individual, even though they're drawn with just a couple of very sure strokes. I realised every time Eve and Peabody were preparing to go talk to someone we hadn't met before, I was really anticipating meeting that character and seeing them interact with the investigators. I just don't do that with any other author.

But if the relationship bits weren't gripping, the investigation more than compensated for that. The case investigated in this book must be among the most horrific we've seen in the In Death series, and considering we've had quite a few doozies, that's saying a lot. It made my stomach turn to read the descriptions, enough to make me want to skim and to have to remind myself that this was a book and the crime hadn't actually happened.

The horror of it all did emphasise the high stakes involved in finding the monster responsible for it. As a police procedural, this was absolutely brilliant, above average even for this series. There were so many different tacks they took, some of which were successful, some of which weren't, but all of which could have been. All were interesting to follow and only underlined how determined to get to the bottom of things Eve's team was, that they would go down every possible avenue.

Except for one, that is, and that's the only reason why this is getting a B+, rather than an A. This is a bit of a spoiler, so I'll white it out and leave spoiler space:

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Start spoiler //Why on earth didn't they look into the father and try to get to the murderer through him? The way he was ignored by the investigators was so glaring that at one point I almost became convinced that he must be dead, and I must have just missed the bit where they said this. Given this, the final bits, with Eve playing hard to bring him in felt like they came out of nowhere. // end spoiler.

MY GRADE: A B+.

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