"Thankless in Death", J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts

Pros: Unusual antagonist and lots of Eve curmudgeonliness
Cons: The antagonist is also annoying; a few too many unwanted accolades get thrown at Eve’s feet
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Release date: September 17, 2013
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Lieutenant Eve Dallas, New York homicide cop in a science-fantasy version of the near future, all but hopes for a new case to get her out of Thanksgiving dinner (as well as a press conference at which she’ll be presented with an award). She really isn’t a people-person, but her extended network of friends and family-in-law just won’t let her hide from them. Eve gets her wish, but she’s still going to have to make time for everything else as well. A young slacker who’s never achieved anything in his life has lucked into something he’s finally good at: killing. He isn’t stupid enough for Eve to catch him quickly, but he isn’t smart enough to evade her for long. It’s just a question of how many old grudges he’ll settle before she catches up to him.

 

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) is the… oh hell, the series is so long by now that there’s little point to counting them up. While the friends-family-and-marriage arc keeps long-term readers happy and in some books occupies enough space to deter new readers, Thankless in Death has a larger proportion of procedural to it, making it a halfway decent spot to jump in. (For those not familiar, things do get bloody.)

As always Eve is a delightful curmudgeon, but there are enough unwanted accolades falling at her feet in this particular book to provide echoes of a Mary Sue feeling. Luckily she has enough flaws to keep things from getting out of hand in that area. (One of my favorite quirks is her tendency to butcher truisms and cliches.) There’s enough hot Eve-and-Roarke action to satisfy romantic/sexy reader longings, enough ongoing character development to satisfy long-time fans, and enough serial killer plot to satisfy procedural fans like myself. My only qualifier there is that the bad guy is a little too annoying for my taste. That said, he’s an unusual and interesting enough antagonist and I enjoyed seeing what he’d do next and how Eve would catch up to him. There’s plenty of sparkling, quotable goodness in the character banter—that’s part of what attracts me to the in Death series in particular.

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