If you’re a fan of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series of futuristic mystery novels, you’re in for a treat. Concealed in Death is one of the better books in the series, a welcome relief to fans like me who were starting to wonder if Robb ( a pseudonym for romance novelist Nora Roberts) could continue the series without it deteriorating as some mystery series tend to do over time. Concealed in Death doesn’t disappoint and stands on its own as a fast-paced mystery as well as a good addition to the ongoing Eve Dallas saga.
The story begins with Roarke, Eve’s billionaire husband, ceremoniously knocking down a wall in a building his firm is renovating only to discover the skeletal remains of two people wrapped in plastic and hidden in the wall. Roarke calls in his wife, Lt. Eve Dallas of New York City’s homicide squad, to investigate. When the homicide department finds a total of 12 victims hidden in the walls, all girls between the ages of 12-14 and killed by apparently the same criminal, the case becomes complex.
Unlike the other books in the series, this one is sort of a cold case that Eve must solve through a lot of forensic and detective work. There aren’t as many fight scenes, futuristic weapons or strange antagonists. Instead, most of the action takes place at a group home for troubled kids run by a brother and sister team with truly kind hearts and good intentions. Roarke, Mavis, Leonardo, Peabody and the rest of the regulars make an appearance, but it’s mostly Eve, Roarke and Peabody working together to solve the case. We do learn more about Mavis, which is a good addition to the series. I happen to love the character of Mavis and learning about her past was an interesting diversion.
There are a few things, however, that continue to hamper the series. First is Robert’s peculiar, choppy style of writing in half sentences – “She walked. A duck, waddling.” I just made that up, but you get the idea. But for me, the biggest hindrance to my truly loving this series is actually the character of Eve.
Eve is just too tough, too bitchy, too unlikable for me to believe that everyone loves her so much. I think if she was a real-life person, she wouldn’t have any friends, let alone a husband like Roarke! She doesn’t treat people very well. When some of her frosty exterior melts, and she shows a glimmer of kindness, such as when she wears the goofy knitted hat and gloves Dennis Mira gives her in this book, I breathe a sigh of relief. At last, she’s turning into a regular person.
My other complaint? Roberts sets too many of these books at Christmastime. It’s always Thanksgiving or Christmas with glittery trees, angst about parties and presents, and nostalgia. Doesn’t Eve solve crimes in the spring? The summer? The fall?
All in all, though, this is an interesting read and a book I enjoyed very much. I borrowed my copy from the library, but if you want to purchase a copy from Amazon, clicking the link above will take you to Amazon, and I will receive a small commission on the sale. It does not affect your price.
4 out of 5 stars for Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb