Review: “Obsession in Death,” J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts

Pros: Fascinating obsession; tightrope-walking for Eve; great characters
Cons: Eve is the central target again
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book provided by Penguin Group
Expected release date: February 10, 2015.

 

Twenty years; forty books. That’s where J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts’s “in death” series stands now. I haven’t yet caught up with every book in the middle of the series, but I’ve become a die-hard fan. Ms. Roberts understands what her audience is looking for in this series and happily gives it to them. I admire her work ethic and understanding of what her readers need from her.

Obsession in Death is the 40th book in the “in death” series starring Eve (curmudgeonly, hyper-focused homicide cop) and Roarke (wealthy, intense ex-criminal) as a smokin’ hot married couple. (“Together, they fight crime!” as the saying goes.) Over the past 39 books Robb has gradually introduced new character after new character. Somehow she has kept all of these personalities straight. Not only are they consistently portrayed, but they all manage to grow in believable ways throughout the series. They’re such individual, strong enough characters that even I have little difficulty keeping them all straight.

The only consistent issue I’ve had with these books is one that won’t be a problem for most readers. It strains credibility that so very many cases have a personal connection to Eve and/or Roarke. One reason why this won’t bother many people is because it’s just part of the style that readers like: we want Eve and Roarke to be personally invested in the story. Also, they’re both high-profile enough characters with so much public attention on them that it makes it much easier to suspend disbelief when criminals target them or their friends in one way or another. I mention this only because it will undoubtedly irritate some readers; I think the majority of fans of the series have come to expect and enjoy this.

Robb’s plots and characters are meant to be larger than life. They’re meant to provide melodrama and snarky dialogue, passionate romances, and intense mysteries. The style of sex scene in here is somewhat abstracted, and it works well with the overall style of the book. I particularly like Eve’s tendency to butcher idioms.

The plot of Robb’s latest, Obsession in Death, sees Eve being stalked–by an admirer this time. The murderer is picking out people who escaped justice (in the perpetrator’s eyes) and who disrespected or harmed Eve in some way. The perp leaves messages at each scene, calling himself Eve’s “true friend”. The problem is, the killer wants an acknowledgement from Eve, and will undoubtedly turn on her (possibly by mowing through our favorite cop’s friends and family). Eve has to go through her fan mail to look for clues, and I have to wonder how many of her crazy fan letters are based on ones Robb has received! She also has to walk a very careful line when trying to manipulate the killer into coming after her and leaving her friends alone. There’s plenty of tension, action, mystery, and danger to go around!

There’s still a bit of dark material as Eve’s horrific childhood comes up once or twice, but since these aren’t ‘cozy’ mysteries I think most readers will be ready for that.

I loved this tale, enjoyed the action and suspense quite a bit, and look forward to book 41!

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