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Saturday, December 02, 2006

****½ Born in Death by J. D. Robb. Futuristic romantic suspense.

What are we up to now? 27? Unreal.

The highlight of this book is the birth of Mavis's baby, and that's also the framework in which the story took place--beginning with Eve and Roarke attending a childbirth class with Mavis, and ending with the birth itself.

In the meantime, a young engaged couple who work in an accounting firm are brutally murdered, and signs point to the cause as emanating from within the firm. Later on, Tandy, a pregnant friend of Mavis's, due any day, disappears, and a teary and hormonal Mavis begs Eve to find her.

My absolute favorite part of the book wasn't the birth of the baby, contrary to the majority of Amazon reviews (we all know I'm contrary). It was the dilemma provided when Commander Whitney tells Eve that there's concern about Roarke using information uncovered during the case to further his own business. This was just so well done and realistic. Roarke initially reacts in anger, and tells Eve to drop the case, demanding that she prove her priorities: him or the job. I'm not going to spoil the fun by revealing how they work it out, but this is the number one reason why even after more than a score of books, this is still one of my favorite series: the marital issues and how Eve and Roarke learn to work through them.

And to my surprise, the long-awaited birth of the baby wasn't sappy or overdone. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, given the experience of the rest of the series, which shies away from sappiness--Nora never showed Eve & Roarke's wedding, for example--but it was emotional, and a fitting end to the story.

Another huge plus was that Tandy's abduction hit too close to home, not for Eve this time, as so many cases have done, but for Roarke.

Of course, there were too many funny moments and great lines relating to Eve and Roarke's phobia about childbirth to count. And mostly they weren't over-the-top, and didn't grate on my nerves.

The negatives were that the explanation of the clues found in the accounting records was very muddled; we didn't get to know Tandy well enough to worry about her--in fact, I believed until very near the end that she'd end up being a villain; and the two mystery threads meshed a little too conveniently and abruptly.

This isn't a story to read for the mystery--it's one to read for the characters, and they're done well enough to make up for any deficiencies in the mystery.


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Well, as you know, I read this MONTHS before it came out--I'm one of the VERY few who could care less what Mavis had; to me, Eve and Roarke are the center of this series--I'd've been more excited if it had been Eve who was getting ready to give birth--and the actual birth was very ho-hum and anticlimatic for me.

I did, however, enjoy that one mini-fight that Roarke and Eve had--I live for those moments in these books--I remember, in the earlier ones, the stories centered around these two. The murder stuff is okay, but when the entire focus is on that and the actual interaction between Eve and Roarke gets sacrificed, I'm not happy, which is why I'm soooo looking forward to Innocent in Death.

Considering how everyone in this world cohabits, etc. and the type of lifestyle Mavis leads--did you think it was out of character for her and Leonardo to do what they did at the end? Mavis isn't what I'd call conventional or traditional.

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