This book arrived amidst a number of others and – in terms of my chronologically (anally) sorted To-Be-Read pile – was well down the list. However… my mood dictated my reading choice for a change and I needed a comfort read. And JD Robb’s (Nora Roberts) In Death series definitely fits the bill.
Dark in Death
by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #46
Published by Piatkus
on February 1st 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
ISBN: 0349417865, 9780349417851
On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.
Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.
The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.
I’ve mentioned before that I really only noticed recently that these books follow hot on each other’s heels. Not in terms of the release / publication dates, but the events in the books themselves.
For example, Eve & Roarke’s butler (Summerset) was about to go on holidays in Secrets in Death, and in this outing, he’s on holidays. No wonder we’re 46 books in and only a couple of years have passed for our fictional characters.
I actually don’t mind the fluff surrounding the murder and mayhem in this series – via Eve and Roarke’s friends, Eve’s antipathy towards family celebrations, wifely duties and social etiquette, for example. I tend to think Robb / Roberts gives us a good balance, though I did comment (four books ago) that I felt the plots had become a little weaker and wondered if she’d become distracted by the peripheral cast and their lives.
Robb / Roberts obviously heeded my thoughts (being a devoted reader of my blog I’m sure! 😉 ) as I think the last few have picked up again. Interestingly the support cast (other than Eve’s fellow cops) haven’t been as visible. (For those who read the series, they’ll realise Mavis, Leonardo, Whitney, Trina et al have only popped up once or twice in the last few books.)
The crimes under investigation this time around offer we readers something a bit different. It doesn’t take Eve et al long to work out why the victims are being targeted; and I was going to keep that to myself but note the backcover blurb blabs about the killer copying the work of a crime writer.
It’s actually kinda interesting in a Kathy Reichs / Temperance Brennan / Bones way… a writer writing about a writer writing about a writer. Or something.
Anyhoo, though they fairly quickly work out ‘who’ is mimicking the author’s fictional murders and why, but they don’t really know exactly who. Which I know sounds confusing but trust me, I know what I mean and that’s all that matters. Plus I’m in a bad/blah mood so, whatevs.
On the negative side for me the first sex scene was a bit OTT (which I do realise is a personal foible of mine, cos #ugh) and I missed Summerset (which also resulted in more sex scenes) but on the positive, Robb / Roberts avoided a prolonged OTT climax. (And when I say that I’m not referring to the sex scenes!)
And, I liked that Robb/Roberts delves into the writing industry and the process of publishing – including this observation from Roarke, comparing books to television / film (known as vids in the 2060s!).
“A vid comes to you, even at you. It’s visual, it’s auditory, and can, of course pull you in. Its purpose is to do just that, draw you into the world you see and hear. But a book? You go into it. There’s no visual or auditory other than what forms in your own mind. You visualize the characters, the scene, through the words. You, as reader, interpret the tone of voice, the colours, the movement as you physically turn the pages.” pp 167-168
Dark in Death by JD Robb will be published in Australia by Hachette in late January 2018.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.