Author: J.D. Robb
Delusion In Death is the latest volume of the In Death series by the talented J.D. Robb, this is the 35th book in the series and only the 2nd I’ve read. This a series that works well on a stand alone basis, it offers enough back story to keep you engaged and informed without bogging you down in so much back story you lose focus on the current story.
Lt. Eve Dallas had a traumatic start to life, which I think is a large part of the reason she became a cop in the first place. Some of her past issues raise their ugly heads once more as she navigates the current case so we travel with her as she works through the memories to help her heal.
A strong theme in this book is that blood doesn’t have to make you who you are, all of us have the choice not to be defined by where we’ve come from and Eve is a great example of bad blood being turned around to do good in the world.
Delusion In Death opens with happy hour in a crowded downtown pub, end of the workday and people want a quiet drink with friends and colleagues to unwind before heading home. That lasts about two pages before the carnage hits and the scene that greets Lt. Eve Dallas is an absolute blood bath.
The In Death books are thrillers and Lt. Dallas works with homicide, and the series is called In Death, so you know you are in for a body count; and generally that’s not going to be pretty. I expected that, and still the body count is extreme – 127 dead and none of them pretty. Two incidents that leave very few survivors and Lt. Dallas and her team looking for the answers.
The action is non-stop and I found myself totally engrossed trying to keep up with the investigation, trying to decide who I liked for a suspect and wondering whether they would close the case before there were any more attacks.
The setting is New York in 2060, a not too distant future where technology has made massive leaps and society has changed but the world is still recognisably the one we inhabit, and the coffee cops drink is still just as bad as it is portrayed now. Much of the back story for Delusion In Death takes place in the Urban Wars that took place somewhere around now I believe.
Character focus is mainly on those working the case, the members of the NYPSD and those closest to Lt. Dallas; most of these are characters who seem to have been present for most of the series making their relationships as large a part of the story as the action. One thing that really stands out to me is the relationship between Eve and Roarke, her billionaire businessman husband. These two were broken as children and have risen above that to become their own people and they have helped each other to heal and become better people; I get that and it is a beautiful side to the story – a side that shows someone taking care of Eve when she’s off duty. Delusion In Death blurs the lines between the sides a little, partly because Eve refuses to go off duty until the killer is caught.
Roarke is a billionaire businessman yet he can spend the bulk of his time at Central helping with the case? But more difficult for me to come to terms with is the fact that he is a civilian and so heavily involved in the cases. Expert assistant with the electronics maybe, but interviews… I just can’t picture that. I can see that part of it is out of a need to protect the one he loves, which again blurs the lines at times.
The grisly horror of mass-murder scenes is combined with a subtle humour which literally made me laugh out loud at times. The banter between characters showed a lighter side of them and, my guess would be, a humorous way to let off steam in a career that offers way too few opportunities for that.
A gripping read that requires a strong stomach, and adds the previous books to my wishlist. I would like to go back to the beginning and follow the evolution of the story of Eve and Roarke.