Thursday, March 20, 2008

Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas has a positive dislike of murderers, so when she is called out to the murder of Thomas Anders, owner of a sporting goods company, Eve is pumped to catch the killer. But that will be harder than it sounds, because even though she's having hinky feeling about the widow, the Widow, Ava, has a positively airtight alibi for the time of the murder, being on vacation with two close friends at the time, and there is no sign that she ever left the tropical island she was vacationing on.

She's not the only suspect, of course. First, Thomas Anders died in a way that smacks of very kinky sex, so is it possible he could have had a lover? Second, there's his heir, Ben, who thanks to Thomas dying is a whole lot richer. Third, Ben's aide, who is in love with Ben. Could he have killed Thomas to enrich the man he loves, even though Ben doesn't reciprocate his love?

In between the investigation Eve is asked to help on a case gone cold from her old mentor Baxter and his rookie, Trueheart, regarding a man who was killed in a flop by an apparent hooker who cannot be found. The wife, who might be the usual suspect, was at home all evening, mostly trying to call her husband, and is too short and too weak to have caused the wound that killed him.

Charles Monroe, Eve's friend who also happens to be an LC (Licensed Companion) and his lover, Louise, a doctor who works for one of Eve's husband Roarke's charities, appear to be going through a rough spot. Eve doesn't want to have to witness it, but Charles was used as an LC by Thomas Anders' widow Ava, and Eve has to question him about it. More than once.

But Eve is no fool, and she's used to trusting her gut. When she figures out who murdered Thomas Anders, she is going to get them. And no matter how tangled the web that led to murder, Eve will untangle it. And she'll get them. You can count on that.

I love Eve Dallas. She's a real kickass heroine who feels for the victims of the crime and is just good enough, and BAD enough, to get her perp. With such a tough gal heroine, it would be hard to find a hero big enough, bad enough, and soft enough to measure up to her, but J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) has got that covered in Roarke, Eve's husband, a former crook who went good, made multibillions and fell for Eve during an investigation. Though he works for the side of good (or at least good capitalism) now, he retains all his old skills at hacking and penetrating computer systems, and he occasionally uses them for Eve's benefit. But since what he's doing is technically illegal, she always has to get the information in other ways afterwards. She just uses what he gets her to prove her suspicions. And did I mention Roarke is drop-dead sexy? Eve certainly knows that, and appreciates it, too.

This is one of the most tangled-web cases Eve has dealt with in a long time, and at the end, readers will feel exactly the satisfaction Eve does when she finally brings in the killers and makes them break, stripping away all the lies so that the ugly truth is revealed at last. It's possible to feel a little sympathy for one of the killers, but not for long as Eve reveals how weak and cowardly they actually were. Eve points out it was possible for the killer to leave the situation they were in, but they apparently never thought of it as an option. As for the other, they are revealed to be such a manipulator that you never feel sorry for them and actually feel righteous satisfaction when Eve finally lays them low.

More of a mystery or thriller than a romance, but with strong romantic elements, any of J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas mysteries will soothe your craving for a kickass heroine, engaging mystery and wonderful love story. If you've been craving any of those, look here first!

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