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Monday, August 21, 2006


***** Conspiracy in Death by J. D. Robb. Futuristic romantic suspense. Re-read.








What can I say about this book that I haven't already said a million times before? In case it's not obvious, I'm in the midst of re-reading the series, and I really didn't want to re-read this one. Not because it's bad, but because it's so emotionally intense. But I'm a bit anal, so skipping it wasn't an option. To blunt the impact, I started out reading a chapter at a time, then switching to another book for a while. That lasted until about 1/3 of the way through the book, then I couldn't put it down.

For those who haven't read the series, or who haven't re-read them often enough to be able to identify them from the titles, Conspiracy in Death has homicide lieutenant Eve Dallas investigating murders that involve the precise surgical removal of diseased organs. She collides with a disgruntled "problem child" cop who's intent on making Eve's life miserable. When that cop is brutally murdered, Eve's a suspect, and as such, has to turn in her badge.

Particularly on a re-read, I cringed at Eve's every interaction with Bowers, the disgruntled cop. Eve was her usual abrasive self, made moreso by both Bowers's complaints and the roadblocks being thrown up by the local medical community, who don't want to believe one of their own could be responsible. But while part of me is screaming at Eve to try to defuse the situation, another part is cheering, because her actions are utterly true to her character, and she couldn't behave any differently and still be the same character. She's since (in later books) grown and changed to the point where she'd have reacted differently, I think, but at this point in the series, it's who she was.

The loss of her badge, to someone whose entire identity has been wrapped up in it, is very well done, as are the effects of her slowly-widening circle of people she cares about and who care about her, and that's the core of the story--how she's broken down, and builds herself back up with a little help from her husband Roarke and her friends. For that, I forgive the idea that a cop at a murder scene can tell at a glance that a heart or liver is missing from a body.

Other memorable bits include the introductions of officer Troy Trueheart and Dr. Louise Dimatto, and Internal Affairs lieutenant Don Webster, and Eve's reaction to discovering that Roarke had opened bank accounts for her when they married.

Conspiracy in Death is the 9th story (8th full-length book--there was a novella just before this one) in the series, and while you could no doubt enjoy the mystery without having read the previous books, I strongly suggest reading the series in order, to get the full impact. Unlike some mystery series with static detectives, the characters in the In Death series grow and change throughout the series, and you'll miss that by skipping around.



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