Pros: The Mira family; very dark; justice vs. vengeance
Rating: 4 out of 5
Brotherhood in Death is the latest in the fantastic ‘in death’ series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). This time, Dennis Mira, the sweet and sometimes forgetful husband of Eve’s favorite police psychologist, gets knocked out when he goes to speak with a family member, Edward Mira. He briefly saw Edward before he went unconscious, so he knows Edward was being beaten up. Now that Dennis is awake, he finds that Edward, and whoever was hurting him, are gone. While it’s technically a missing persons case, Eve comes on board to help because the cops fully expect that soon they’ll find a body and it’ll become a homicide case. After all, there are no statements, no ransom demands, and no one hurt (much) other than Edward.
There’s obviously a bit of a formula to the ‘in death’ books. Eve and/or Roarke is almost always tied to the crime or criminal(s) in at least some small way. Eve is her curmudgeonly self, but her friends help to bring her out of herself. She and Roarke have dark pasts that get brought up. There’s a murder to solve, and some difficult police work to be done. Usually there’s also a lot of zingy dialogue that’s too fun not to share with others. I’m not using the ‘formula’ bit as an insult–Robb uses this formula because it works, after all. We know roughly what to expect from the books, but that still leaves plenty of room for different types of crime and different routes to it. Sometimes the whodunit is the issue, sometimes the how or why. Sometimes they have all those details and are focused on proving guilt or catching the obvious guilty party. It’s enough to keep me interested. There are also plenty of side plots going on regarding Eve’s expanding circle of friends, and we get to watch them and their relationships evolve over the period of the series.
In this case Eve and Roarke are tied in through their friendship with Dennis as well as Eve’s connection to his wife (also a dear friend) through work. It doesn’t feel shoehorned in the way it occasionally does. The victims are high-profile, and Eve and Roarke live in that world now.
The dialogue is somewhat zingy and quotable–not Robb’s best, but it definitely includes some fun bits! Eve ends up exploring her friendship with both of the Miras and particularly Dennis. It’s a nice way to see deeper into Dennis’s affable demeanor.
It isn’t surprising that, in fact, Eve ends up having to solve Edward’s murder. Her investigation becomes a race against time, however, when one of Edward’s acquaintances goes missing under similar circumstances. It begins to look like an entire group of friends is being targeted for revenge. While the police know from the evidence that the motivation involves sex, they’re going to have to dig a lot deeper to figure out the who and the why. (To those who need to know ahead of time: there is some dark sexual material here as well as torture. It isn’t used pruriently, but it isn’t glossed over either.)
As usual Eve and Roarke have wild, semi-abstracted sex. The prose is purple here, but it suits the milieu and the relationship. It’s sweet, hot, and delightful.
I quite enjoyed Brotherhood in Death, and it leaves me wanting more.
NOTE: Book provided free for review
Expected publication date: February 2, 2016