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Book Review: Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb

Strangers in Death (In Death, #26)Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Technology may be different in 2060 New York, yet the city is still a place of many cultures and great divides. But as ever, some murders receive more attention than others—especially those in which the victim is a prominent businessman, found in his Park Avenue apartment, tied to the bed—and strangled—with cords of black velvet.

It doesn’t surprise Lieutenant Eve Dallas that Thomas Anders’s scandalous death is a source of titillation and speculation to the public—and of humiliation to his family. But while people in the city are talking about it, those close to Anders aren’t so anxious to do the same. With some help from her billionaire husband, Roarke, Eve’s soon knocking on doors—or barging through them—to find answers.

But the facts don’t add up. Physical evidence suggests that the victim didn’t struggle. The security breach in the apartment indicates that the killer was someone known to the family, but everyone’s alibi checks out. Was this a crime of passion in a kinky game gone wrong—or a meticulously planned execution? It’s up to Dallas to solve a case in which strangers may be connected in unexpected, and deadly, ways.

My review

I can’t say this has been one of the best books in the series because it really hasn’t. The spark you expect with an In Death book wasn’t there. Looking at the title and summary alone you knew that Roberts was going down the ‘Strangers on a Train’ route. All of that psychological mind play and expertly placed twists Roberts is so good at were no longer an element of surprise in this novel.

As soon as Eve began her investigation into the death of Thomas Anders, a prominant businessman, found by his Housekeeper with his arms and legs tied to his bed and a cord around his neck – I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Where is the second murder? How do they connect? It doesn’t take you long *spoiler* to realise that Baxter and Trueheart’s cold case was in fact the second or let’s say first murder in this ‘Strangers on a Train’ storyline. But let’s just take a moment to talk about Trueheart. SUCH A CUTIE PIE. I just want to see more and more of him. I loved the little awkward, bumbling routine he had to play with *spoiler* Ava *spoiler*. Played to perfection.

I don’t want to get too deep in case related detail in fear of spoiling the plot but it was to an extent disturbing to see a woman sift through potential candidates to find someone to murder her husband. And, Oh boy did she find the perfect person. By perfect, we mean worst. It’s never the best idea to be hard-faced bitch and want your husband dead, let’s face it.

Sub plot. Sub plot. Sub plot. I absolutely loved how the relationship development between Charles and Lousie arose in this novel. I could really see where Eve was coming from – with her issues of seeing Louise date a man who got paid to have sex with other people – so to see him take that huge leap and quit his job, buy a house and propose all for the sake of bettering himself was damn good to see.

The little argument between Roarke and Eve over money was something really interesting to see and I’m glad we did. What couple hasn’t argued over this particular issue once, twice or a million times before. Realism. We like it.

Ultimately, it didn’t feel like there was too much at stake emotionally for the main characters – it’s generally those books where the emotional stakes are set high that come out as being memorable and un-puttdownable. Conflict (especially between Roarke and Dallas) can really drive these novels like no other.

The 30 or so pages, however, totally made up for the lack of spark from the rest of the book. This was when the ball really got rolling, Dallas already on her A game. The battle of brains between Eve and *spoiler* Ava *spoiler* was intense. Who’s the top bitch? We all know the answer to that one and watching Eve prove it will never get old.

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