Book review: Apprentice in Death by JD Robb

Thursday, September 8, 2016 Permalink

I love me some Lieutenant Eve Dallas and mega-zillionaire hubby Roarke. JD Robb’s In Death series isn’t going to win any literature prizes anytime soon, but every time a new book arrives it takes all of my willpower not to allow it to leap-frog its predecessors in my chronologically-sorted to-be-read pile.

Robb’s latest, Apprentice in Death is number 43. Give or take some short stories or ten.

Book review: Apprentice in Death by JD RobbApprentice in Death
by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #43
Published by Piatkus
on September 6th 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 034941081X, 9780349410821
Pages: 400

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled.

And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up.

And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

I must admit I was a teensy bit disappointed in the last JD Robb, Brotherhood in Death. I think I mentioned some plot holes in my review… though usually tend to overlook them in this series as it’s as much about the characters as it is about the police investigation or the solving of the crime(s).

Given that Nora Roberts (writing as Robb) has written so many books in the series, she has her characters down pat. They never disappoint.

And kudos to Roberts / Robb because plot-wise, she always brings us something different. I actually think this latest book in the series is one of the best I’ve read for ages. Robb’s character development of the baddies, the apprentice in particular, was well done. She doesn’t give too much away but reels us in early by putting us into their mind… and we know they’re seriously troubled.

This time around we learn of the perpetrators’ identities quite early, but then the chase starts as Eve and her team are up against an apprentice who’s outgrown their master and has an agenda their mentor knows nothing about.

It’s interesting as, when the police realise there’s a mentor and ‘pupil’ involved, the usually not-very-self-aware Eve considers her own ‘teacher’ Feeney as well as her tutelage of (her partner) Detective Peabody… contemplating how someone chooses their successor, and the traits they look for.

There’s the usual glimpse of Eve and Roarke’s personal life, though probably a little less than usual, but one thing that occurred to me in this outing is that the books in the series are actually written in very quick succession chronologically.

Eve’s bestie’s baby turns one in this novel and even I thought… god she’s been around for a long time. But I realised each book only straddles several days and the next book follows soon after. A recent book featured the lead-up to Christmas, for example; with the subsequent book centred around New Year. I realised I kinda liked that it’s almost serialised… and I was reminded how disappointed I was in The Hollows / The Whispering Hollows series by Lisa Unger which jumped 10 or 20 years between two of the novellas. I felt I had no chance to get to know or engage properly with characters.

So, a more enjoyable than usual outing with Eve, Roarke and company this time around for me and I (already) await the next instalment with bated breath…

Apprentice in Death by JD Robb was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    September 8, 2016

    Glad to hear this was a great installment in the series. I look forward to getting my hands on it.

    • Debbish
      September 10, 2016

      Yes I enjoyed this one more than I’ve enjoyed many recent additions to the series Nise’.

  • Kathryn
    September 8, 2016

    Yeah I liked this one as well. How does she do it! So prolific and I love these characters specially Bella!

    • Debbish
      September 10, 2016

      Oh yes… we’re kind of engaged now aren’t we? I’m wondering where she’ll take the characters.

  • Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    September 18, 2016

    Just started this the other day, I can’t believe this series is still going and is still consistently good, when will it end I wonder (not that I want it too!).

    • Debbish
      September 18, 2016

      I wonder if Roberts/Robb has a story arc in mind? Eve getting pregnant seems to be the natural next step but I’m not sure it would work. I kept thinking they’d end up fostering or adopting one of the kids they’ve come across to date – so there’s another character for Robb to play with and Eve to struggle with – but not requiring maternity leave! 😉

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