Strangers in Death – J.D. Robb


Pros: I enjoy the series, and the characters

Cons: But this book has a couple of flaws

The 31st book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, Strangers In Death is a pretty decent mystery.  However, it suffers a few flaws.

The In Death series follows Eve Dallas, a Lieutenant for the NY Police Dept, in the mid-2000’s.  In this case, it’s the year 2060, and Eve has new case on her hands.  A wealthy, powerful, well-loved man is found dead.  The manner of death includes major sexual overtones and a clear motive to humiliate, as well as kill.

With few clues and no viable suspects, Eve turns towards the man’s wife.  Even though she has a solid alibi – she was out of the country at the time of the man’s death – Eve still has a vibe that she’s somehow connected to the murder.

Working with her partner Peabody, as well as a host of other characters who appear throughout the series, including her own husband Roarke, Eve won’t rest until this murder is solved.  And, in her spare time, she’s also helping out on a cold case – a murder from a few months back that has its investigator’s stumped.

It’s a decent premise, and like all In Death stories, Eve’s like a dog with a bone. She won’t let go, won’t sleep a wink, and won’t let up until all the pieces fall into place.  Along the way, we get to follow her reasoning as nearly the entire book is told from her point of view.

There’s some humor in all of the books – usually revolving around Eve’s “get to the point” attitude versus Peabody’s “day dreaming about clouds and unicorns” attitude.  There are also little side jokes between Eve and Roarke.  And there are always “bedroom scenes” between them, as well.  Frankly, I can do without those.

But Strangers In Death contains a few flaws that really bring it down.

First of all, Eve doesn’t “know” the wife is involved; she suspects it.  Yet, she pretty much devotes all of her energy to proving the point, instead of looking at alternatives.  That’s pretty shoddy investigation.

Secondly, if you decide to read this book, do yourself a favor.  Don’t read the back cover, or the first-page blurb.  I read both and as a result I pretty much understood all along what was going to happen in this book.  In other words, they give away too much of a clue as to the ultimate outcome of the investigation.  I might not have known all of the specifics, but I definitely knew the direction the investigation would go.  I would have enjoyed the book more had I not been so well clued in.

Third, there are two parts of the book that I really disliked.  One was a fairly long discussion of a dream.  I’m not a fan of books where people get major insights from their dreams; it strikes me as lazy writing.  The other part was a ridiculous argument between Eve and Roarke about money – well, about sharing his money.   For two people married as long and as successfully as they have, the issue of money-sharing should have been put to bed long ago.  In this case, the argument got nasty and I hated it.

There you have it.  Strangers in Death is a decent enough whodunit, if you don’t read the spoilers first.  But not the best In Death book.


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
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Leave a Reply