Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb

First Sentence:  As it often did since he'd married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. 

Lt. Eve Dallas, by her husband, Roarke, goes to the scene of a murdered woman.  While on-site, Roarke sees a man he knew from his past in Ireland. Lorcan Cobbe, a contract killer, claims he is Roarke's father's actual and first son. He hates Roarke enough to kill him, and everyone he loves.  Eve is certain the dead woman's husband hired Cobbe to perform the hit and commits to proving it first, then stopping Cobbe, as more bodies turn up.

There are times when one wants an entertaining, captivating read.  With her 51st book in the Eve Dallas series, Robb succeeds in creating exactly that.  Yes, the plots are somewhat predictable, but the world Robb has created is visual, and the characters are ones about whom readers care.

What is remarkable is that the series began in 1995 with the first book set in 2058 and Eve being 30 years old, releasing two Dallas books/year, plus the occasional novella.  Now the series is in 2061; three years and 51+/- cases later, bringing Eve's clearance rate to ~17 cases per year, or once every three weeks.  What police department wouldn't love that?

Robb has a deft hand when it comes to dialogue, even creating slang that fits for the near-future time period.  How clever to use an expression known to readers in the present but would be anachronistic to the period.  There are some great lines, and her wry humor is always a pleasure.  A discussion on the subtle differences between colors leads to an internal observation—"Peabody turned a little green—perhaps celadon—and turned her head to stare hard at the wall." Robb carries thoughts through from one scene to another with great deliberateness and ease.

One learns more about Roarke's childhood and one must respect that Robb, even this far into the series, still has new information to impart. One small irritant is Roark's references to Eve being "his," making her seem a possession. However, this is mitigated by the realization that Eve claims Roarke in the same manner and showing it is a manifestation of their commitment of care and protection, and not possessiveness, even including those around them.  Yes, the scenes of lovemaking are hot, but they are more about emotion than sex.

Eve is not perfect which makes her more real.  She has areas of discomfort and gaps in her knowledge for anything beyond her job or her city—"They look like cops…I need them to look like farmers. Irish farmers," Eve added. "Who are out there doing farm stuff."

There is an urgency and intensity to the investigation which gives the sense of needing to run to keep up. The action scenes are visceral, tense, exciting, and filled with twists. They provide excellent examples of Eve's leadership and authority, and the respect she has earned. Even so, it is not a perfect book.  There were opportunities for danger and suspense not taken, and the ending seemed too quick with a final scene a bit silly, albeit satisfying. 

"Shadows in Death" is an excellent remedy to offset the stress and uncertainty of these times in which we live.

SHADOWS IN DEATH (PolProc-Eve Dallas, Future NYC, 2061) – VG
Robb, J.D. – 51st book in series
St. Martin's Press – Sept 2020


  1. This is one of those series that keeps humming in the background, and that I admit I've not kept up with as I might. It's a great premise, and has had some fine characters, too. Glad you enjoyed this.

  2. It was the perfect book to break my reading ennui.

  3. This is one of my favorite series and I have been working my way through it chronologically. I am almost up to date, and looking forward to reading this!