"Loyalty in Death," J.D. Robb

Pros: Character development; tear-jerker moments; twisted plot
Cons: The maniacal bad guys
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Loyalty in Death is the ninth book in Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb’s ‘in death’ series, starring hardass homicide detective Eve Dallas in a futuristic (2050s and 2060s) New York. The series revels in an over-the-top, larger-than-life approach to mystery and detective work. At the same time, it’s every bit as much about its larger-than-life characters, such as Eve, her billionaire mogul former-crook husband Roarke, her wild best friend musician/performer Mavis, her aide Peabody, and a steadily growing cast of fascinating characters.


We are Cassandra.
We are loyal.

With this simple-yet-bizarre statement, a war begins.

Decades ago, a homegrown terrorist group calling itself Apollo blew up the Pentagon, along with the thousands of people inside of it. In retaliation, the government hunted down and exterminated as much of the group as it could find, including the leader and his young children. Some people, of course, managed to escape, and now, approximately thirty years later, they’ve begun a new attack, this time on New York City.

This book was published in 1999, two years before the attacks of 2001, and its terrorists are homegrown, but nonetheless the echoes of real events are impossible to ignore. It made this book seem all the more real, all the more frighteningly close to home. As the fictional detectives sort their way through bomb debris and bodies, it’s all too easy to be reminded of the real debris and bodies of September 11. It adds a sobering note to a series of books that’s usually all about over-the-top detective fun. It isn’t out of place, however, as the story takes the horrific death toll caused by indiscriminate terrorism quite seriously. While you’ll still find plenty of the usual relationship hijinks (Peabody and McNab can no longer ignore their weird attraction to each other), wild sex (Roarke and Eve are as smokin’ as ever), fun new characters (Peabody’s baby brother Zeke), and close calls, there are also some more poignant and chilling moments.

The plot is labyrinthine and clever, distracting the reader with wheels-within-wheels. While the bad guy ultimately seemed a little too predictably maniacal, this was a small smudge on an otherwise wild ride.

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