Pros: Fun setting; intriguing and elaborate mystery; great characters
Cons: Some subject matter will be too heavy for some readers
Rating: 5 out of 5
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A touch of series background: Immortal in Death is the third book in Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb’s ‘in death’ series, starring hardass detective Eve Dallas in a futuristic (2050s and 2060s) New York. After initially reading one of the later books I started borrowing the earlier ones from a generous friend, and occasionally read one as an enjoyable pause in my devouring of review copies. This series tends toward a certain over-the-top, larger-than-life approach to romance, mystery, detective work, and so on. It revels in it, milking it for all the fun it can. At the same time, however, some very deep emotions run between the characters, making it tough for regular readers not to get sucked into caring about everyone.
Eve and her rich fiance Roarke are about to get married, but that doesn’t mean all is puppies and rainbows. Mavis, Eve’s best friend, talks Eve into using Mavis’s new fashion maven boyfriend as her wedding dress designer, but dear Leonardo turns out to be the start of Eve’s latest case. Or rather, his ex-lover (a famous model) is, when she turns up dead in Leonardo’s flat after an argument, and Mavis is found unconscious near the body, her fingerprints on the murder weapon.
Once again Eve finds herself trying to walk a fine line between her duty as a cop and her loyalty to the people she cares about. She realizes the best way to help Mavis is to find the real killer, and this sends her off into a world of models and actors, business and crime, drugs and beauty. At stake is nothing less than immortality—or rather, Immortality, a new drug that promises youth, beauty, energy, power. The problem is, it also kills.
Who bashed in the pretty model’s face? Who killed a handful of other people connected with the case? How can Eve prove that Mavis didn’t do it, help Peabody work toward that detective’s position, and wrangle with the Illegals cop who thinks the case should be in his hands? Worse—how the hell’s she supposed to deal with the mundane details of preparing to get married in the middle of this mess?!
While Eve and Roarke’s relationship still sizzles, there’s a bit more attention paid this time to the difficulties of trying to deal with something as big as marriage when two such headstrong loners are involved. Eve’s childhood memories also finally rear up to smack her full-out this time, and the reader isn’t spared any details. The things that happened to her as a child were horrific, and not everyone will feel comfortable reading about them, even though they’re handled in a very non-prurient and non-sensationalistic manner.
Peabody’s starting to relax a little, and I can start to see glimmers of how she got from the reserved officer of the second book to the playful detective of later novels.
This mystery kept me guessing much longer than the previous one, which I very much enjoyed. There was plenty of misdirection and guilt to go around, confounding the guessing game beautifully. I love Roberts’s heady mix of futurism, mystery, romance, mild erotica, and sharp personalities.