Deena MacMasters is a serious, shy sixteen year old, and the daughter of a cop. But when her parents come home for a trip celebrating her father's recent promotion to Captain, they find her brutally murdered in their home.
The first person they want investigating their daughter's death is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who is already busy with preparations for the wedding of her friend Louise Diamatto. But Eve can't resist the pull of investigating the murder of a defenseless and innocent young girl, especially when the victim's family asked for her specifically.
But the murder scene almost stops Eve dead. The sight of Deena MacMaster's brutalized body brings back many bad memories of her own past, and it's all she can do to stay focussed on the case. She immediately identifies with Deena, and even though all cops hate the death of the young with a special intensity, Eve vows to find the killer and bring him to justice.
First they probe Deena's background, but she is exactly what she seems to be. However, they discover from her best friend that Deena had met a boy named David, who she was meeting behind her parents' back and without their knowledge. Great suspicion almost immediately falls on him, but thanks to the killer taking Deena's link and pocketbook, in which she kept her diary and journal, he is a cipher.
As Eve works to discover the identity of "David", they find a music disc he made for her in Deena's room, on which he taped her making coerced statements denouncing her father and telling him that she hated him. Also on it is a personal message for Captain MacMasters, informing him that the death of his daughter is payback.
But payback for what? Eve must assume it was something MacMasters did personally, as simply supervising a bust shouldn't make him responsible in the eyes of someone for the downfall of the person his officers arrested. But when another dead body turns up, murdered in the same way as Deena and with many of the same signs of torture, Eve is going to have to find the connection between them, as well as the real identity of the killer, before he strikes again, all the while balancing the murder investigation and the marriage of one of her closest friends.
I love Eve and Roarke, and the book begins with them enjoying a lazy afternoon together, but before they can escape to a lovely island getaway, Eve is called in by her own Commander as a favor to be the Primary on the Homicide.
In this book, we get to see Eve driven as never before. And also affected as never before, by the death of a young girl who Eve could possibly have been if not for her abusive father. Deena's death gets under her skin, and Roark, being the loving husband he is, supports her to the max. But at the same time, he grows to understand Eve a little better when he sees how she puts herself into each victim as the crime is unfolding in a highly personal way. And he realizes that while he is both mentally and physically strong, Eve outclasses him- he could not stand to do what she does, over and over and over on a daily basis, and he is both awed and saddened by Eve's ability. Awed that she can do it, saddened that she has to.
This is one of the most affecting cases of Eve's career. The idea of such a young girl being tortured in the way that she was is horrifying, but the horror is offset by the humor of how Eve feels so completely unable to deal with the "girlie stuff" surrounding the wedding of Louise Dimatto. But it's not only the worry, there is a genuine warmth between Eve and Louise that shows the softer side of Eve's personality.
I know that everyone else who loves this book seems to be waiting for Eve and Roark to put forth progeny, but it seems that Nora Roberts has decreed that neither character really wants to have children, due to their pasts. And honestly, I can't argue with that. I also like that "Happily Ever After" doesn't have to include children. (You can read another reason here: )
I love this series, and while not everyone seems to like Eve, I like this smart, funny, thrilling series, which features the romance stuff that shows why Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb is such a well-loved writer. I love the characters, I love the mysteries, and each one only seems to get better and better. This book is no exception. Highly recommended.