Thursday, March 16, 2017

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb

First Sentence:  Was she dead?
Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her wealthy husband, Roark, are on their way home from a formal event, and a naked, bloody, dazed woman steps out in front of their car.  Although they are able to get her to the hospital in time, they find her husband, Dr. Anthony Strazza, murdered in their bedroom, his safes opened and the house ransacked.  Unfortunately, this is only one such incident.  Eve and her team race to find the man Daphne Strazza describes as ‘the devil.’
With overtones of Hamlet and philosophical question, we are inexorably drawn into this, the 44th book of the Eve Dallas series.  What is particularly remarkable is that in Eve time, the series has only progressed 3 years.  What homicide team wouldn’t love a clear rate of approximately 14-15 cases per year?
It is Robb’s skill that can take one from the victim of an exceedingly violent crime to a description of a sumptuous dinner.  Part of what makes Eve such an appealing character—aside from her husband—are her powers of observation and her lack of pretension.  How nice it is to have a character for whom the trappings of wealth are not only unimportant but can sometimes be an annoyance.
Robb is notable for her dialogue, which is extensive and very natural.  She doesn’t depend on the narrative to move the plot forward.  But when she does narrative, she does it well—“Eve found a street slot--small miracle—and decided it was worth a two and a half block hike in the snow.  She imagined some cheery optimist would call the wind bracing.  She hated cheery optimists.”  In fact, her books read more as screenplays with wry humor, and solid plots where the pieces are laid out one-by-one until the pattern emerges.
The character of Eve is so meticulously maintained one understands her focus on her job which justifies her lack of knowledge about popular culture, or that the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” being an actual person rather than an apparition.  Robb skillfully relates this case to the childhood experiences of both Eve and Roark, further explaining their personalities.
Robb knows just how and when to heighten the suspense and sense of dread, as well as providing a brow-raising twist.
Echoes in Death” may be set in the future with technology and references that can amuse, but it also points out the timelessness of people’s emotions and actions.  In the end, it is a very good read.   

ECHOES IN DEATH (Fut/Pol Proc-Lt. Eve Dallas/NYC-2061) – VG
      Robb, J.D. – 44th in series
      St. Martin’s Press – February 2017

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