Pros: Trademark snappy dialogue; fascinating mystery; continuing character development
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Eve’s latest case is a terrifying one. A toxic brew of chemicals was released into a bar, and everyone went mad. The death toll was horrific, and the deaths themselves more so. The chemicals are fast-acting and deadly, allowing the killer to strike quickly and decisively—anywhere, anytime. It’s an act of terrorism by its very definition, but when the killer strikes a second time, targeting people who overlap strongly in their occupations, employers, and area of residence with the first victims, Eve becomes convinced that the killer is going after personal enemies, despite the wide swath of destruction.
J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) is tackling a timely subject by addressing terrorism in Delusion in Death, but she handily avoids simply ripping off today’s headlines or pandering to our fears. The book uses terrorism as a jumping-off point, but the killer and his motives and origins are much more complex and personal.
As usual the author doesn’t shy away from dark material in this series, so avoid Delusion in Death if that would bother you. Eve and Roarke are still dealing with the emotional consequences of Eve’s trip to Dallas, and Eve can’t help but tie her own painful past in with her current case. While it would definitely help to be familiar with the series-so-far, I think the author does a pretty good job of back-filling information where necessary in this installment. There’s some good character development, but the focus is on the serial killer plot, and it’s a good one. The majority of the book deals with figuring out what happened, trying to identify the killer, and making sense of what’s going on. Once Eve puts the pieces together, we get to enjoy her trademark careful scene-setting as she tries to push and trick the killer into revealing him- or herself. There are some additional complexities to the situation that keep things from being too easy to figure out and predict, and there’s an additional character from 2060’s equivalent of Homeland Security who keeps things interesting—I quite enjoyed her addition to the roster and hope she shows up again in future books.
All in all, this is a great addition to the series. It includes enough of the ongoing character development, romance, and so on to satisfy series regulars who are invested in the characters, but concentrates fully on providing a good, strong crime mystery.
Nora is at her snappy best with the dialogue, and as so often happens, I had to share quotes with friends. My favorite exchange between Eve and Roarke in this one had me laughing out loud:
“Playing God, yeah, but playing God with science.”
“The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”
“No, but some insist they are. Like God’s all, zip, pow, and creates an orangutan out of thin air.”
“I simply adore your mind.”
“Well, that’s the nutshell from one side, and the other far end’s all, no, uh-uh. No higher power out there. What happened was basically a giant fart in space, and boom.”
“Absolutely adore it,” Roarke repeated.