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

Pros: Good length; plenty going on; lots of detail; multiple murders
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Dark in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death), by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts), is book 46 in the “in Death” series in which homicide detective Eve Dallas hunts down murderers in the near future. It’s a bit of a combo of murder mystery and soft sci-fi, with plenty of ongoing characters and a strong romance between Eve and her bazillionaire husband Roarke. If you’ve been thinking of joining the series and haven’t wanted to go back to the start (although it’s worth it!), this is probably not a bad choice of book to read. It doesn’t delve too much into some of the recent ongoing background plots, and I think it’s pretty good about how it introduces ongoing characters who show up.

In Dark in Death, Chanel Rylan is killed during the showing of classic movie Psycho, with a small ice pick to the back of the head. It happened just when her friend–a veterinarian–was called out of the theater for an emergency, so Eve knows the kill was carefully planned, but she can’t find any other evidence that the kill was personal. There’s just no evidence whatsoever of anyone having a grudge against Ms. Rylan. Then an author of murder mysteries shows up in Eve’s office–she believes someone is copying murders from one of her book series, and she isn’t just talking about Ms. Rylan. It’s stranger than it seems, however, as it seems that the killer may be more than just a copy-cat and might be inserting themselves into the scenes as other characters from the books. This is one of Eve’s smarter and crazier opponents.

I’ve enjoyed the last few “in Death” books, but this one is better. It’s a nice long story with a lot going on inside. There are multiple murders to hold our attention, a strange set of motives, a look into the business of authoring and dealing with fans, plenty of detail, and great characters. The only problem I had with it at all was that Eve seemed to make the jump to realizing the bad guy was “living in the scenes” and acting them out in character rather quickly and easily. Other than that, however, I thought the mystery unfolded well. Most of this one is spent trying desperately to figure out the identity of the bad guy, track them down, and prevent the rest of the series of books from being acted out. There are plenty of details and complications; it’s a creative tale with plenty to keep the reader glued to the pages!

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