Origin in Death – J.D. Robb


Pros: Examines some pretty heavy issues, rather than focusing on a simple murder

Cons: None, as long as you don’t mind being made to think.

Origin in Death is the 21st book in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb. Like all of the books in the series, this one stars Eve Dallas, a New York Police Lieutenant, in the year 2059.

In this case, Eve is investigating a pair of murders.  A father and his son are both killed, in the same exact way.  Both men were doctors in a very exclusive reconstructive surgery facility.  As Eve investigates the murders, she starts seeing clues that the men were working on something far more sinister than merely fixing some physical flaws.  It seems that what the public saw of their work was merely a façade.  The real stuff was happening in deep secret.  Cloning, human-engineering, selective eugenics.  According to this novel, by the year 2059, these ideas have seen the light.  But technology has far surpassed the laws.  What’s an officer of the law to do, when a human is “manufactured” to do a single task, and they do it flawlessly… especially if that task is murder?

This book was bit different from the others I’ve read in the series, in that it focused not only on the actual murder at hand; it spent a lot of time examining the various issues surrounding these newest technologies.  The book doesn’t waste time telling us how people are cloned.  It looks at the possible ramifications.  How do you convict someone for doing something they were literally created to do?  For that matter, how to you bring a suspect to trial when there are multiple versions of the same exact person running around town, and you don’t actually know which version did the actual deed.  And when you ask them, they all respond the same way, saying “We’re all the same person… We all did it”.  And when you have hundreds of babies created artificially, who, exactly, is legally responsible for them?  Of course, these issues aren’t actually resolved in the book, we’re merely given the tip of the iceberg.  But I have to say, I enjoyed thinking about these issues, and can’t help but wonder if any of this will actually come to pass.

Despite the heaviness of the main issue in this book, there was plenty of light-heartedness, as well.  More so than usual, I thought.  There was a funny subplot regarding Eve’s partner Peabody, and her decision to change her look.  As Eve is painted as the least superficial person in the world, one who cares nothing about her outside appearance, her reaction to Peabody’s vanity is pretty funny.

There’s another funny bit regarding husband Roarke’s extended family coming over from Ireland for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Eve has never met any of these people before and when the entire wacky lot of them descend upon her home, it’s almost enough to make her head spin.

And I really liked that Roarke behaved himself in this book.  In previous books, Roarke is a bit too overbearing for my tastes.  He has a tendency to do things his own way, frequently going over Eve’s head, and getting her in trouble at work.  Or he acts overly possessive of Eve, giving off an “I own you” vibe.  But in this book, he was kind, supportive, and quite funny.

Other minor characters returned from previous books, but none had a big role.  Still, when a series has this many books, it’s nice when the usual characters are at least given a mention.  It helps the stories flow from one book to the next.

Overall, an enjoyable read, one that gives the reader something to think about.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

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