Review: “Leverage in Death,” J.D. Robb

Pros: The usual fun world and characters; an interesting mystery
Cons: So. Much. Talking.
Rating: 3 out of 5

J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts’s) Leverage in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 47) is not her best work. In this installment, a man wears a suicide vest to a very important meeting between two merging companies, and he ends up killing quite a few people, including himself. The thing is, he loved his work and was a devoted family man. Eve and the rest of the police quickly figure out that he was coerced into doing it through threats to the well-being and safety of his wife and daughter. The problem is, who stood to gain? Who had the knowledge and ability with explosives? Who figured out how to break the man’s frosty home security? These questions and more leave Eve, Roarke, and the police scratching their heads.

Too. Much. Talking. Seriously, there’s very little action in here. And while it’s true that Robb/Roberts is quite good at character-centric “talky” scenes, it just went on and on in this case. Most of the book seemed to be taken up by interviews of witnesses and suspects. The characters are quite well-drawn, but there are just too many of them. Every time a name of a witness or suspect came up again I had to stop and think for a moment to remember which person they were. It’s a shame, because when Robb does action it tends to be good. And when she does mystery it’s usually tight and taut. Unfortunately, not so much this time.

We do get to enjoy more of Eve and Roarke and their compatriots. The Academy Awards are coming up and Nadine’s book based on one of Eve’s cases, and the movie adaptation, are up for some awards. Eve is determined to give the whole mess a miss–she’s had it up to here with fancy dress–but Peabody would pretty much kill to be able to go. Also thanks to Nadine’s work Eve is becoming something of a household name, which is very much an aggravation to her. She’s such a fun curmudgeon to watch, especially when Peabody gets bubbly. (Or in one case, highly caffeinated!)

I just don’t have that much to say about this installment. It didn’t do it for me, even though I love the characters, I love dark mysteries, and I usually love Robb’s style.

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