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Books : reviews

J. D. Robb, Laurell K. Hamilton, Susan Krinard, Maggie Shayne, eds.
Out of this World.
Jove. 2001

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 27 January 2007

I bought this to get the Eve Dallas "Interlude in Death" novella (which was originally been advertised as being published separately, but never materialised). The theme of the collection is SFnal love stories. The Eve Dallas story, part of a long series, here concentrates more on the police procedural aspects, and probably makes sense only if you've read the others; the Laurell Hamilton is merely an excerpt from a full Anita Blake novel, and probably doesn't make sense even if you've read the rest. The other two novellas are complete in their own right (that is, a beginning, a middle, and an end, all occuring within the published story).

Contents

J. D. Robb. Interlude in Death. 2001
Lt Eve Dallas is attending an off-planet police conference, under protest. When a police chief's aide is found murdered, the chief seems strangely desperate to pin the blame on her husband, Roarke.
Susan Krinard. Kinsman. 2001
The empathic Kinsmaen are the bridge between humans and the alien Shaauri. But there are forces on both sides who want to change things. Kinsman Jonas, empathic sense terribly damaged, finds himself at the centre of a plot.
Maggie Shayne. Immortality. 2001
The dark witch Puabi is washed up on a remote island just before a storm, and found by Matthew, who realises she is almost identical to his recently deceased wife.
Laurell K. Hamilton. Magic Like Heat Across My Skin. 2001
Extract from Narcissus in Chains

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas, eds.
Bump in the Night.
Jove. 2006

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 15 June 2007

I bought this to get the Eve Dallas "Haunted in Death" novella, as its events were mentioned in passing in Born in Death. The theme of the collection is ghostly love stories: none of them is particularly ghostly.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Haunted in Death. 2006
Lt Eve Dallas investigates a murder that appears to have been done by a ghost. [Despite many references to Eve's pragmatic disbelief in ghosts, depressingly there is actually one involved, though thankfully not as the murderer.]
Mary Blayney. Poppy's Coin. 2006
Regency Romance involving a magic coin that grants wishes.
Ruth Ryan Langan. The Passenger. 2006
Two loners are marooned together in a remote hunting shack, and come to realise something about themselves, helped by some friendly apparitions.
Mary Kay McComas. Mellow Lemon Yellow. 2006
Charlotte's childhood invisible friend returns to help her regain her life after her father dies.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas, eds.
Dead of Night.
Jove. 2007

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 24 December 2007

I bought this to get the Eve Dallas "Eternity in Death" novella. The alleged theme of the collection is paranormal love stories. A more disturbing theme emerges from the later stories: being a successful business woman is not fulfilling; you need to give all that up for the love of a good man. Feugh. (Eve manages to have love and a high pressure career. Which certainly makes her more interesting to read about..)

Contents

J. D. Robb. Eternity in Death. 2007
Lt Eve Dallas investigates a murder that appears to have been done by a vampire. Unlike the "Haunted in Death" novella's actual ghost, here there isn't actually a vampire, but we do get all the accoutrements.
Mary Blayney. Amy and the Earl's Amazing Adventure. 2007
This carries straight on from the end of "Poppy's Coin", and tells the time-travelling story of Amy and her barman. It sheds an interesting, and knowingly unpleasant, light on Regency times.
Ruth Ryan Langan. Timeless. 2007
Successful but unmarried businesswoman Laurel Douglas travels to Scotland for a holiday, then time travels back to the era of Con the Mighty, discovering they are lovers linked through time. Returning to the present day, she discovers the current laird is awfully familiar. [I bet she quits her job. Feugh.]
Mary Kay McComas. On the Fringe. 2007
Bonnie Sanderson is discontented with her life and wishes she had never been married. Since she's holding a magic carpet at the time, this wish is granted. She's now a successful but unmarried businesswoman, who is taken hostage at her bank by her not-in-this-universe husband, and falls in love with him. It all ends happily ever after when she returns to her previous existence, realising how happy she really is. Feugh.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas, eds.
Suite 606.
Berkley. 2008

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 30 November 2008

Another one of these collections of four novellas, that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the link is really weak: they're all to do with "Suite 606", but there's no agreement on what Suite 606 is. However, there is also a more subtle link: in each of the first three stories there is some kind of random event that seems to be there just to add a little local colour, but each of these is actually a scene from the final story. Hmm.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Ritual in Death. 2008
Lt Eve Dallas is at a party when a murder is committed in the next suite. There is an obvious suspect, but Eve suspects some deeper deviltry.
Mary Blayney. Love Endures. 2008
Another "magic coin" story: here two lovers have been kept apart by lies, but now a ghost has a chance to put things right.
Ruth Ryan Langan. Cold Case. 2008
A cop on leaves staggers out of a car crash into a house full of secrets and danger: he is there to "witness" it.
Mary Kay McComas. Wayward Wizard. 2008
A mother and son find themselves sucked into the past by a wizard's lost talisman.

J. D. Robb, Patricia Gaffney, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, eds.
The Lost.
Berkley. 2009

rating : 5 : waste of time
review : 30 January 2010

Another in the themed collection of four novellas, that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the (again rather weak) link is about something or someone that is "lost": a murderer, a life, a daughter. The novella is a length that doesn't really work for me: too long to be a single "hook" short story, but not long enough to get the sub-plots and back-stories in a novel.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Missing in Death. 2009
Lt Eve Dallas investigates a murder on the Staten Island Ferry, where there are no witnesses and no body, just oodles of blood. But how did the murderer escape with the body off a packed boat? And why choose such a venue? This displays one of the potential weaknesses of mixing SF and police procedural: the gadget made up to make the crime possible. Here that gadget is also the McGuffin, and this link restores some credibility.
Patricia Gaffney. The Dog Days of Laurie Summer. 2009
"Person wakes up as a dog" story, done quite well, and without the "feugh" ending of some of the other stories in this series of collections.
Mary Blayney. Lost in Paradise. 2009
"Beauty and the Beast" retelling, with a too easily convinced Beauty, and a too easily reformed Beast.
Ruth Ryan Langan. Legacy. 2009
Aidan O'Mara's life is in ruins after the death of her mother, when she discovers that she may have family back in Ireland.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas, eds.
The Other Side.
Berkley. 2010

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 18 September 2011

Another in the themed collection of four novellas, that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the (again rather weak) link is "the other side": mostly, but not always, ghosts.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Possession in Death. 2010
Lt Eve Dallas is possessed by a Gypsy curse to solve a missing person mystery, before it becomes a murder.
Mary Blayney. The Other Side of the Coin. 2010
"If you were a woman, and I was a man/Would it be so hard to understand"
Patricia Gaffney. The Dancing Ghost. 2010
A fake haunted-house investigator meets a fake-haunted house owner.
Ruth Ryan Langan. Almost Heaven. 2010
Recently dead loving parents watch over their daughter's wedding preparations, and are horrified to discover that her fiance murdered them, and is planning to murder her.
Mary Kay McComas. Never Too Late to Love. 2010
MJ Biderman discovers that her family house is haunted by her mother and aunts. She must discover what they have lost before they can leave and let her tear the house down.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas, eds.
The Unquiet.
Berkley. 2011

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 25 August 2012

A further entry in the themed collection of novellas that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the link is presumably "the unquiet", ghosts that cannot rest (for those stories that actually have ghosts).

Contents

J. D. Robb. Chaos in Death. 2011
Lt Eve Dallas, still not fully recovered from her ordeal in her namesake city, investigates a case with a most unbelievable murderer.
Mary Blayney. Her Greatest Treasure. 2011
A widow returns home to run her fabric shop, with her dead husband whispering "wish" in her dreams, a strange coin on a necklace, and a secret purple dye.
Patricia Gaffney. Dear One. 2011
A young telephone psychic creates a strong bond with a lonely widower.
Ruth Ryan Langan. The Unforgiven. 2011
Brianna Kerr travels to her Scottish inheritance, only to discover a vengeful old ghost thwarting her plans.
Mary Kay McComas. His Brother's Keeper. 2011
A young artist has strange dreams about the neighbour's summer house.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R. C. Ryan, eds.
Mirror Mirror.
Berkley. 2013

rating : 5 : waste of time
review : 4 May 2014

ONCE UPON A TIME in a world far removed from the days when fairy tales were new, five best-selling authors spin versions that take the classic stories into a new dimension. You'll recognize Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and other enduring characters, but they'll exist in realms beyond your imagination, where the familiar is transformed into the extraordinary and otherworldly.

The latest entry in the themed collection of novellas that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the link is stories that mirror a classic fairy tale; a weak bunch this time round.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Taken in Death. 2013
Hansel and Gretel: two children are kidnapped by a mad aunt who wants revenge on their mother; Eve Dallas must find them before she harms them.
Mary Blayney. If wishes were horses. 2013
A Magic Coin tale: the bearer of the coin is disappointed that it has never granted her a wish.
Elaine Fox. Beauty, sleeping. 2013
Sleeping Beauty with a twist: Michael Prince, shallow, but not evil, is cursed; could the woman who has bought the house he haunts rescue him?
Mary Kay McComas. The Christmas comet. 2013
The Little Match Girl meets comet ISON (which unfortunately turned out not to be as spectacular as assumed here).
R. C. Ryan. Stroke of midnight. 2013
Cinderella: Sydney, bullied by her monstrous stepmother, comes into a little money, and decides to visit her dead father’s home town in Ireland.

J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R. C. Ryan, eds.
Down the Rabbit Hole.
Berkley. 2015

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 11 December 2016

Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales from five bestselling authors. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carrol’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.

Don’t be afraid to follow them… Down the Rabbit Hole

The latest entry in the themed collection of novellas that I buy just for the Eve Dallas story. Here the theme is stories that have a link to Alice in Wonderland; “iLove” is the most imaginative of these.

Contents

J. D. Robb. Wonderment in Death. 2015
Lt Eve Dallas tracks down a serial killer with a drug-based Wonderland theme.
Mary Blayney. Alice and the Earl of Wonderland. 2015
A Magic Coin tale, the flip side of the original “Poppy’s coin” story: what happened to the regency pair swapped to the modern day.
Elaine Fox. iLove. 2015
Jeremy Abbott, more in love with his phone that with any person, gets a traumatic lesson in learning to pay attention.
Mary Kay McComas. A true heart. 2015
Elise encounters a strange creature in a costume shop, who teaches her that she has been closing off relationships for fear of being betrayed again.
R. C. Ryan. Fallen. 2015
Orphan Beth, raised by an evil aunt to be a selfish lawyer, encounters a cursed Laird; only she can save him, but will her loyalty to her aunt be too strong?

J. D. Robb.
Naked in Death.
Berkley. 1995

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 10 November 2002

This is essentially a police procedural, but I classify it as SF, rather than general fiction, because it's set about 50 years in the future.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD is called in to a brutal murder of a powerful senator's granddaughter. It starts off looking like a political crime. But then other murders start happening. Maybe it's a serial killer. Whatever, Dallas is being pressured on all sides: to close the case, but in a way that doesn't embarrass the senator.

As a police procedural, this is fine. It's not a terribly complex plot: who the murderer is is reasonably obvious, but the interest is in how Dallas cracks the case. As SF, it is rather less successful. The future setting is all in the background -- historical references, better computers (but not advanced nearly enough), robot drones, holograms, mentions of space stations -- but these have very little impact on the foreground, or the plot. It could have been set in the present day with only cosmetic changes. A better integration of SF and detective stories is given by Lee Killough's Brill and Maxwell trilogy. But I'll probably keep reading this series, anyway, as mind candy.

J. D. Robb.
Glory in Death.
Berkley. 1995

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 20 January 2003

This time Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called in to investigate the murder of a close friend of her boss. The victim is a successful Prosecuting Attorney, so it looks fairly straightforward revenge killing, until another unconnected woman is murdered the same way. Unconnected except via Eve's boyfriend Roarke, that is. Dallas knows it's not him, however, and sets herself up as live bait, to be a third victim. But things don't go as planned.

Another reasonable police procedural, again with the SF element firmly in the background, as frosting, rather than integral to the plot. But the pacing is fast, and the investigation interesting, so it's a good page turner.

J. D. Robb.
Immortal in Death.
Berkley. 1996

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 27 January 2003

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is about to get married, and has to shop for a wedding dress, much to her dismay. Her friend Mavis introduces her to an up-and-coming designer, but then disaster strikes. The designer's business backer and ex-lover is found brutally murdered in his salon, discovered by Mavis herself, who had an excellent motive to kill her. So Dallas finds herself investigating a murder with her best friend as prime suspect.

Yet again, this is a decent police procedural, with twists and clues, with a light dusting of an SFnal background. However, I have a feeling that the SF part is beginning to become a little more important. Fingers crossed!

J. D. Robb.
Rapture in Death.
Berkley. 1996

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 17 February 2003

Newly married Lieutenant Eve Dallas ends her honeymoon investigating an apparently motivelss suicide. When she comes across a second such suicide, she gets suspicious, and begins to investigate further. Forensics reveals a minute burn in the victims' brains, indicating there may be foul play at work. Investigating with her usual dogged persistence, she discovers her new husband may be a potential vicitm.

Yet another decent police procedural. The SFnal background is indeed beginning to become a little more prominent; VR plays an important role in this tale. But I feel much of the tech is nowhere near the supposed 50 years in the future, while other is just "magic".

J. D. Robb.
Ceremony in Death.
Berkley. 1997

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 25 February 2003

When a well-respected cop dies of a heart attack, it looks like natural causes. But Captain Whitney calls in Lieutenant Eve Dallas, telling her there were suspicious circumstances, that Feeney may be implicated, and he wants Dallas to investigate. As she does, it looks less like a corrupt cop, and more like a case of war between the local Wiccans and Satanists.

Mainly of interest for the insights into Officer Peabody's background, this has rather less SFnal content than the preceding in the series. Still a decent page-turner, though.

J. D. Robb.
Vengeance in Death.
Berkley. 1997

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 26 May 2003

Eve Dallas gets a phone call, from a ranting religious riddler, and follows it up to discover a body brutally tortured to death. Then there is a second call, and a second body. It soon becomes clear the link is Roarke, and the chief suspect is Summerset. But things are never that simple around Eve. She must race against time to catch the killer before he kills again, all the time knowing that eventually Roarke will be the target.

Another good page turner, with rather more plot (but still not very SFnal), and fortunately rather less sex, than some of the earlier ones. And even though I now know the algorithm for spotting the bad guy, I still didn't spot them until very near the end, dammit.

J. D. Robb.
Holiday in Death.
Bantam. 1998

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 16 August 2003

Eve Dallas is still not fully recovered from the injuries that she took at the end of her last case, but she's desperate to get off her desk job. So she answers an "all units" call, and finds herself in the middle of a Christmas serial rape/killer. She has to act fast, but will her strength hold up?

Even less SFnal content than most (just some minor forensics), but still a good page turner. There's enough background being built up in the series that interaction and events concerning Eve's friends and colleagues can happen without the need for too much explanation.

J. D. Robb.
Midnight in Death (novella).
Bantam. 1998

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 8 November 2005

This is a full blown Eve Dallas story, condensed into a 90 page novella. It starts a mere six hours after the events in Holiday in Death. On Christmas Day the body of a judge is found, complete with a list of all the other people the escaped serial killer is after. Eve's name is last on the list, but, more worrying for her, Dr Mira's is there too. Eve knows who the bad guy is, so the race is on to find him before he works his way through his Christmas list.

Being condensed into a novella, much of what gets lost is the character interaction, leaving a rather straightforward chase after the killer. But there are some good moments along the way.

J. D. Robb.
Conspiracy in Death.
Berkley. 1999

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 7 September 2003

A bunch of homeless dropouts are found dead, with various organs sliced out by a top class surgeon. But organ-legging has been obsolete for decades, what with cheaper, better, artificial replacements. So what is the motive? Eve Dallas is soon on the scene, which leads her deep into high-level conspiracy, and the potential destruction of her career.

A bit more SFnal this time, with discussion of artificial organ transplants and advanced medical procedures. But it's still really a detective story set in a not too plausible future (the world-building is mostly restricted to the things needed for the plot). This one isn't even a particularly tricky piece of detection -- there are no real red herrings. It does provide a good piece of character development for Eve, though -- we know how much her job means to her, so how will she handle suspension and the possible end of her career?

J. D. Robb.
Loyalty in Death.
Berkley. 1999

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 4 October 2003

In a murder mystery, you usually need more than one murder, to keep the tension going. Sometimes the extra murders can be as a result of the investigation, with the killer ever more desperately trying to cover their tracks, leading to an interesting moral dilemma. But usually, they are the work of a serial killer. So, with multiple books, we end up with a series of serial killers, stretching one's willing suspension of disbelief somewhat (and over such a short timespan too -- this is the 9th book in the series, yet covering only a year of elapsed time). Here the killers are deranged terrorists, too.

The plot is mainly interesting for a small amount of backstory worldbuilding (remember, these books are ostensibly set about 50 years in the future), and some character development around secondary characters. There aren't really as many detecting red herrings as earlier books -- it soon becomes pretty clear who the bad guys are, and all the effort is in stopping them. There are a couple of large coincidences, but they are used for pragmatic reasons to reduce the number of characters and speed up the plot, rather than drive it in an otherwise unnatural direction, and so I don't mind that too much.

This book was written after the Oklahoma bombing, and reads like an appalled reaction to that (at the time) ultimate outrage. But it was written before September 11; I doubt if it would be the same if written now.

J. D. Robb.
Witness in Death.
Berkley. 2000

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 22 November 2003

A pleasant change of pace from the usual deranged serial killers: here we have an interesting homage to the more genteel style of Agatha Christie. A murder is committed during a showing of a new run of "Witness for the Prosecution", in front of thousands of witnesses, including Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As in most Christie-esque murder mysteries, in order for everyone to have a motive, the victim has to be entirely detestable, and so you end up sympathising more with the killer. Robb plays with this, especially the effect it has on Dallas, quite well. And there's even a plausible explanation for holding that set-piece denouement!

J. D. Robb.
Judgment in Death.
Berkley. 2000

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 3 December 2003

Dallas investigates the murder of a cop who might have been dirty. As her case proceeds, more corrupt cops are found murdered, and Ricker, a dangerous gangster, and old-time enemy of Roarke, seems to be involved. Eve must stop the cop killer, and dissuade Roarke from protecting her against Ricker.

Another good page-turner, as Dallas makes more powerful enemies, and cuts her way through a swathe of bad guys. Virtually no SFnal content, though.

J. D. Robb.
Betrayal in Death.
Bantam. 2001

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 5 January 2004

A chambermaid in one of Roarke's hotels is brutally murdered by an international hit-man. When a second Roarke employee is murdered the same way, the real target becomes clear. Dallas must race to find the killer, and his employer, before more people die, maybe even Roarke himself. But she is hampered by a bungling FBI team.

There is a little SFnal content: mainly the usual computer hacking to get the data needed to move the plot along, an under-used hologram (maybe in preparation for later stories), and the bizarre fact that by 2059 Cornwall has somehow moved to the north of Britain.

J. D. Robb.
Seduction in Death.
Berkley. 2001

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 2 February 2004

Roarke is away in Ireland, tidying up the aftermath of Eve Dallas' last case, and she's suffering increasingly bad nightmares in his absence. But soon she's called onto another case -- a dead woman and what seems to be the result of a botched date-rape crime. This time we know who the murderers are, and the tension is to see if Dallas can stop them before they get a taste for killing.

Events from previous stories play out some consequences here, giving more depth to Eve's life. Most of the SFnal background is just the improved forensics that allows the case to proceed at top speed.

J. D. Robb.
Reunion in Death.
Berkley. 2002

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 14 March 2004

One of Eve Dallas's first cases as a detective was to help put away Julianna Dunne for the serial murder of three rich husbands. Now Julianna is out again, and looking forward to revenge on Eve. The bodies start piling up, and Eve realises that Roarke is the ultimate target. But part of her investigation leads her to Dallas -- can she overcome her fear of that place?

More fun detection. We get to see Peabody's parents, one of whom is a "sensitive", so maybe that counts as the nod towards a SFnal content this time.

J. D. Robb.
Purity in Death.
Bantam. 2002

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 6 April 2004

People are dying in berserk rages, seemingly brought about by a computer virus infecting them. A terrorist group claim they are targetting those the justice system has failed to stop. Dallas needs to stop them before more innocents get caught in the crossfire. The tension stays high as the stakes keep rising.

Fortunately, Robb doesn't even try to explain how the virus leaps from machine to brain, beyond the most minimal techno-babble, so suspension of disbelief can remain willing. Another good page-turner.

J. D. Robb.
Portrait in Death.
Berkley. 2003

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 19 April 2004

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is happy -- Summerset is about to go off on a three week vacation. But that doesn't go as planned, and then the latest crazed serial killer to hit New York turns up, posing and photographing his victims after death. Eve needs to stop him, but she doesn't get as much help as usual from Roarke, who's off in Ireland tracking down some unsettling news about his past. One of the main characters there is called Siobhan (pronounced "Shi-VAWN") -- but disconcertingly this is nearly always spelled "Siobahn" (pronounced who can tell how? "Shi-BARN"?? Makes you wonder about the rest of the Gaelic).

Another good page turner, but still very little overtly SFnal content.

J. D. Robb.
Imitation in Death.
Berkley. 2003

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 9 May 2004

There's a serial killer on the loose, copy-catting older killers, and challenging Lieutenant Eve Dallas to catch him. Analysing the pattern of his murders, it's clear he's got her tagged as a victim down the line. As usual, the race is on to stop him before he kills again. But Peabody is a bit distracted by her imminent Detective's exam. And Eve is distracted by a new nightmare, of her mother.

One has to wonder at the number of serial killers haunting New York -- only a few weeks have elapsed since the previous case, and only a couple of years since the series started. There's a little self-mocking here, too, as one of the suspects is a writer who has studied up on serial killers, and Eve isn't sure that's a healthy occupation.

Nora Roberts, J. D. Robb.
Remember When.
Piatkus. 2003

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 5 March 2006

All the "In Death" Eve Dallas stories have the author on the cover: "Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb". This one has "Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb". Not since John Wyndham and Lucas Parkes wrote The Outward Urge have I read a book by two authors who are in fact the same person. The reason here is simple: this is a book of two halves. The first, set in contemporary small-town America, revolves around a $28M diamond heist, insurance investigator Max Gannon, and antique shop owner Laine Tavish, who just happens to be the estranged daughter of one of the thieves. The second half is set 50 years later in Lt Eve Dallas' New York, where murder strikes again as clues to the lost diamonds' whereabouts begin to appear.

Roberts' story of Max and Laine sets the scene for Robb's Dallas story. Although the events are linked through time, each half reads like a separate short novel. And quite clearly written by the same person: Roberts doesn't use a pseudonym to signal a change in writing style, but rather to label a particular series, it seems.

J. D. Robb.
Divided in Death.
Piatkus. 2004

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 2 November 2004

One of Roarke's senior employees is prime suspect for a gruesome double murder, but Eve realises she was set up. The reason appears to have something to do with the high security project she was working on, and shadowy government agencies are implicated. Roarke discovers a link with Eve's past, and what he plans to do about it threatens to shatter their marriage.

Virtually no SFnal content at all, but the digs at certain government agencies make it worthwhile.

J. D. Robb.
Visions in Death.
Piatkus. 2004

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 21 December 2004

A sick vicious serial killer is on the loose in New York. All in a day's work for Lt Eve Dallas, except this time a psychic has come forward with information on the murders. Initially skeptical and suspicious, Eve has to come to terms with the fact the psychic is genuine. But will it be visions, or good old fashioned police legwork, that cracks the case?

Still very little SFnal content, but an interesting step forward in Dallas' relationship with Peabody.

J. D. Robb.
Survivor in Death.
Piatkus. 2005

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 24 August 2005

A family has been brutally murdered in their own home, but the 9-year-old daughter, by a miracle, has escaped. Lt Eve Dallas has to take her into protective custody as a crucial eye-witness -- and her own house is the safest place around. But dealing with a traumatised child brings her own past back to haunt her.

A few references back to earlier books (including an incident I haven't seen, so I presume it's in one of the novellas) help to link this into the series. But there seems to be less arc development in this one; it's all just police procedural and good old fashioned legwork.

J. D. Robb.
Origin in Death.
Piatkus. 2005

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 4 February 2006

A well-loved doctor is professionally murdered in his consulting room. Lt Eve Dallas suspects that no-one can be as perfect as he seemed, so she starts to dig deeper. And uncovers evidence of a horrifying long-concealed plot.

A bit more SFnal than many in this series, with the underlying plot requiring a development of present day medical technology, and the usual discussion of the importance of the relative importance of nature and nurture that underlies most of these books.

J. D. Robb.
Memory in Death.
Piatkus. 2006

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 17 June 2006

Lt Eve Dallas receives a surprising, and unwelcome, visit from her first foster mother, a sadistic women who mistreated all her charges. Her real reason for visiting New York is to blackmail Roarke, but soon she is found murdered. Eve takes charge of the case, despite, this time, feeling nothing for the victim.

A good entry in the series, despite basically zero SFnal content, with some questioning about the morality of murdering such an evil person.

J. D. Robb.
Born in Death.
Piatkus. 2006

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 5 May 2007

Lt Eve Dallas is called in to solve a double murder at an accountancy, which appears to point to some possible shady financial dealings. Just the thing for her financially-savvy husband Roarke to help out with, but he's incensed by NYPSD implications that he would use the data so gained to his own advantage. Meanwhile, Eve is preparing a baby shower for Mavis, or rather, Peabody is bullying her into it -- then one of Mavis' friends goes missing, and Mavis implores Eve to look for her. Eve hopes that the missing person case won't turn into another murder case.

This is a little lack-lustre on the detection front, especially as one knows that the missing person case is going to turn out connected to the murders, so it is obvious what the underlying plot device is. And it's not a convincing plot device 50 years in the future.

J. D. Robb.
Innocent in Death.
Piatkus. 2007

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 4 October 2007

A popular teacher has been poisoned, and Lt Eve Dallas is having difficulty in discovering a motive, let alone a suspect. And she is distracted by an old flame of Roarke's who wants to start up where she left off many years ago, and Roarke seems blind to the danger.

Some straightforward detection, and little SFnal content. But it's a good plot, and a chilling denouement.

J. D. Robb.
Creation in Death.
Piatkus. 2007

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 16 April 2008

The Groom, a serial torturer and killer that Feeney and Dallas failed to catch nine years ago, is back. This time Dallas is primary on the case, and desperate to catch him before he kills again. There are extra clues: this time he is targetting Roarke's employees. Then they realise, he is setting himself up for his grand finale: Lt Eve Dallas herself.

A bit more detecting, and less personal interactions, than there has been for some time, although there is some tension between Dallas and Feeney due to their guilt over their failure the previous time around. And we get a bit of background into the Urban Wars.

J. D. Robb.
Strangers in Death.
Piatkus. 2008

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 11 September 2008

A popular businessman has been found dead in an apparently compromising position. Lt Eve Dallas needs to find out who wanted to kill him in a way that embarrasses the rest of the family too.

Here the twist is that Eve is certain she knows who the killer is, despite their rock-solid alibi: it's a "howdunnit", rather than a "whodunnit".

J. D. Robb.
Salvation in Death.
Piatkus. 2008

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 6 April 2009

During the funeral of a well-respected local man, the officiating priest is poisoned by cyanide in the communion wine. Lt Eve Dallas investigates. The priest appears to have been popular and well-respected, but as Dallas digs deeper, she finds clues indicating he was not who he seemed to be. Then a TV preacher is poisoned on air: should she instead be looking for a serial religious killer?

Good solid investigation here, although I'm not convinced the priest could have carried off his double life in quite the way indicated -- just how did he manage to be so likeable? Also, not much progression of the various "private life" subplots: merely some amusing minor angsting about a bridal shower for Louise.

And Piatkus have changed their cover design -- dontcha just hate it when they do that?

J. D. Robb.
Promises in Death.
Piatkus. 2009

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 22 August 2009

Lt Eve Dallas is horrified to discover that her latest murder case is a fellow detective. And things get worse as she digs into the background, and find close connections with friends and herself. But the biggest horror is the upcoming bridal shower for Louise that she has to host.

Some good detection, and some more rather heavy-handed moralising on whether genetics determines us. And I wonder what's going to replace all those wrangles with Maintenance?

J. D. Robb.
Kindred in Death.
Piatkus. 2009

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 15 August 2010

The teenage daughter of a respected police Captain is found brutally murdered, and Eve Dallas is called in to investigate. As her team home in on the ruthless killer, there's another murder, and a pattern emerges...

I know it's necessary to demonstrate how evil murder is, but I felt this one lingered rather too much on the gruesome details, and not enough on the detection, or the various relationships Eve has with her team. Essentially no SF, either, except for a peculiar form of holo-conferencing.

J. D. Robb.
Fantasy in Death.
Piatkus. 2010

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 4 October 2010

Lt Eve Dallas has a puzzle on her hands when a computer games company director is found dead in his locked holo room. No-one could have got in, so how was he killed? Eve will find she has to use her own holo-game skills before the case is closed.

This neatly avoids the "futuristic detective" novel problem of pulling a piece of never-before-seen tech out of thin air in the denouement. That tech is firmly in place from the start, and the reader knows how the murder was done, just leaving us to work out who while Eve struggles with the how as well.

J. D. Robb.
Indulgence in Death.
Piatkus. 2010

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 30 March 2011

Lt Eve Dallas is barely back from holiday with Roarke's new-found family in Ireland when a pair of bizarre murders land on her desk. She very quickly identifies the killers, but they are clever, and she has to race to find the evidence before they kill again.

The fun in the detection here is how Eve has to work to gather the evidence, piece by piece as the killers make small mistakes. There's not so much interaction with the rest of the characters (no Nadine, very little Summerset), but there is a barbecue to come.

J. D. Robb.
Treachery in Death.
Piatkus. 2011

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 18 August 2011

Peabody overhears two corrupt cops talking of murder. The problem is, one of them is the daughter of the sainted Commander Oberman, so Dallas is going to have to be extremely careful in bringing her down.

Nice to see Dallas after a cop -- and having to work with IAD. And there's an interesting little bit at the end, where she advises her boss on how to handle the media fallout -- she's showing promotion potential!

J. D. Robb.
New York to Dallas.
Piatkus. 2011

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 19 March 2012

When Lt Eve Dallas was a rookie police officer, she caught Isaac McQueen, a notorious paedophile. Now McQueen has escaped from jail, gone to Dallas, and taken hostages, determined to lure Eve to her death at his hands. Of course, Eve has issues of her own with her namesake city. Isolated from her usual team, with memories of her past resurfacing, can she catch McQueen before he rapes and kills again?

It's interesting to see Dallas working with a different team, having to win their respect from scratch. And it's good to fill in a bit of the backstory of her early years as a cop. A good, fast-paced entry in the series.

J. D. Robb.
Celebrity in Death.
Piatkus. 2012

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 26 August 2012

Nadine Furst wrote a best seller about the Icove case (as recounted in Origin in Death), and it is now being turned into a blockbuster film. Dallas and Peabody get to meet the cast. Peabody is thrilled, until the actor playing her is murdered. Dallas is even less thrilled, since the murder happened during a party where she was a guest.

The usual detection, as Eve tries to discover which of the actors is lying. Self-referential fun.

J. D. Robb.
Delusion in Death.
Piatkus. 2013

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 27 April 2013

Lt Eve Dallas is called in to a murder scene so gross that even she has trouble dealing with it. 80 members of the public went wild, and hacked each other to death. It's a mass murder that has the hallmarks of a terrorist attack, and reminds Summerfield of some events from the Urban Wars that have been covered up. Eve must find the culprits before they strike again, but her nightmares have started back up since the traumatic events in Dallas. And then a Homeland Security agent is assigned to the team...

This is good pacey stuff that I read in two sittings. Eve again pulls a detecting rabbit out of the hat, but there is a twist in the tale (that's not a spoiler, since at what appears to be the denoument it's obvious that there are still 50-odd pages to go).

J. D. Robb.
Calculated in Death.
Piatkus. 2013

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 25 August 2013

Lieutenant Eve Dallas stuck her frozen hands in the warm pockets of her coat and looked down at death.

On a bitterly cold night on the steps outside an empty office in New York's financial district, a woman lies dead. It seems like a mugging gone wrong, but Eve Dallas soon discovers that the body was dumped there deliberately.

Now she has to find out why.

Eve has a host of suspects for Marta Dickenson’s murder. Using her husband Roarke’s business know-how and with Detective Delia Peabody by her side – when not distracted by the upcoming premiere they’re all to attend – Eve starts examining the motives of some very powerful people in order to catch a killer.

The detection in this instalment is rather straightforward: an accountant is murdered in what initially looks like a mugging, but very soon it becomes clear it was no such thing. Unfortunately, once it is clear that it is a targeted murder, it is then relatively easy for Dallas to work out who, and why.

Given the straightforwardness of the detection plot, it would have been good to have a deeper background of Eve’s life. But apart from a little bit of arc (everyone is preparing for the première of the film of the book of the Icove case) there’s not a lot extra here.

J. D. Robb.
Thankless in Death.
Piatkus. 2013

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 18 March 2014

Murder doesn’t stop for Thanksgiving.

As NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepare for family and friends to descend, an ungrateful son, Jerald Reinhold, decides to shut up his nagging parents – for good.

Soon Jerald is working his way through anyone who has ever thwarted him in his path to an easy life. While a frustrated Eve struggles to consider all the potential victims, Jerald stays one terrifying step ahead.

With the holiday in full swing, Eve is desperately focused on identifying which victim will be next on Jerald’s list.

Jerald Reinhold, layabout loser with a grudge against the world, snaps when his mother nags him to get a job, and kills her. Finally finding a career path he enjoys, he decides to kill everyone else who he imagines has held him back. Lt Eve Dallas has to figure out who’s next on his list, but has some help from one of the victims.

A particularly nasty killer, with not much advancement of Eve’s private life to balance. Sure, the Oirish family are over for Thanksgiving, but some other inclusions feel almost cursory, as when Dallas calls ex-LC Charles for some information, but then never uses it. It feels a bit like just going through the motions for the most part. However, I did appreciate Dallas’ decision about Whitney’s offer, and then Roarke’s reaction to her decision.

J. D. Robb.
Concealed in Death.
Piatkus. 2014

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 10 September 2014

Between the wall he’d opened and the one barely a foot behind it lay two bundles wrapped in thick plastic. But he could see, clearly enough, what they were…

There is nothing unusual about billionaire Roarke supervising work on his new property – but when he takes a ceremonial swing at the first wall, he uncovers the body of a girl. And then another – in fact, twelve dead girls in all.

Luckily for Roarke, he is married to the best police lieutenant in town. Eve Dallas is determined to find the killer – especially when she discovers that the building used to be a sanctuary for delinquent teenagers and the parallel with her past as a young runaway hits hard.

Lt Eve Dallas has a very cold case on her hands: 12 bodies, killed over a decade ago, and many of them delinquent runaways who nobody cared about then, or now. And when it starts to look like the killer might also be dead, then why should anyone care? But Eve, of course, cares.

This provides an interesting bit of backstory to Mavis, and to her original relationship with Eve. Additionally, it is yet another example of why caring matters, and the devastating effect that murder has on those left behind. Here, although many of the murdered girls are abused runaways, some are not, and we see the effect on their families even these many years later. It’s one of the good things about this series; although there is a lot of gruesome killing, this is always shown to cause suffering to friends and families: the victims do not exist in a vacuum, there only to provide a hook for the crime.

J. D. Robb.
Festive in Death.
Piatkus. 2014

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 27 November 2015

The kitchen knife jammed into his cold heart pinned a cardboard sign to his well-toned chest. It read: Santa Says You’ve Been Bad!!! Ho, Ho, Ho!

It’s Christmas, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in no mood to celebrate. While her charismatic husband Roarke plans a huge, glittering party, Eve has murder on her mind.

The victim – Trey Ziegler – was trouble in life and is even more so in death. Trey had cultivated a lot of enemies, which means Eve has a lot of potential suspects. And when she and Detective Peabody uncover Trey’s sinister secret, the case takes a deadly turn.

The latest corpse to attract Lt. Eve Dallas’ attention is Trey Ziegler, discovered by none other than her fearsome stylist Trina. The more she probes into Trey’s background, the clearer it becomes that he was a very unpleasant person indeed. Meaning that essentially everyone who knew him is a suspect. Eve needs to discover the real culprit, but in a rash moment with Summerset, she has also agreed to help organise her and Roarke’s Christmas party.

Another fairly standard entry in the series, with Eve getting more successful at Christmas shopping and parties, but just as efficient as ever at detecting. The attempted surprise twist at the end is pretty obvious, though.

J. D. Robb.
Obsession in Death.
Piatkus. 2015

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 15 March 2016

A crisp winter morning in New York. In a luxury apartment, the body of a woman lies stretched out on a huge bed. On the wall above, the killer has left a message in bold black ink: For Lieutenant Eve Dallas, with great admiration and understanding.

Eve Dallas is used to unwanted attention. Famous for her high-profile cases and her marriage to billionaire businessman Roarke, she has learned to deal with intense public scrutiny. But now Eve has become the object of a singular and deadly obsession. She has an ‘admirer’, who is convinced they have a special bond. Who is planning to kill for her – again and again.

And soon this deadly obsession will be turned on Eve herself – and everyone she loves…

Yet another day in future New York; yet another serial killer for Dallas to track down. This one is a secret “admirer”, killing defence lawyers and petty criminals who are stopping Eve achieving justice. But Dallas doesn’t want that kind of help, and needs to catch the killer before they realise that, and turns on Eve and her friends. And Eve has a lot more friends than she used to. If only she can persuade them to take the right precautions.

A fairly straightforward case, as Eve eliminates suspects and tracks and tricks the killer, up to a suspenseful showdown in the Cop Central itself. Although having friends is doing Eve good, it’s rather tough on the friends themselves…

J. D. Robb.
Devoted in Death.
Piatkus. 2015

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 28 August 2016

It’s a new year in New York City, and two star-crossed lovers have just discovered an insatiable appetite – for murder.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has witnessed some grisly crimes in her career. But when a much-loved musician is found dead, Eve realises that his murder is part of a horrific killing spree. Now the killers have reached New York. Eve only has a few days to save a young girl’s life, and to stop a sadistic couple and their twisted games.

Eve Dallas is just back from holiday, where she was recuperating from the shattering finale of her previous case, when a grisly murder is discovered. She realises it is the latest in a long serial killing spree. The Feds don’t agree, so Eve has to back-track on her own, in a race against time to discover the killers before they finally kill their latest victim.

This is a fairly straightforward case for Eve: no personal attacks, no shaking down low-lifes, no danger to friends. Just legwork and persistence. We know she’s going to get there in the end. And this time, it’s without as much trauma as usual.

J. D. Robb.
Brotherhood in Death.
Piatkus. 2016

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 19 December 2016

Edward Mira is a powerful man, with a lot of enemies. But when the former senator is abducted, Lieutenant Eve Dallas suspects his kidnap is more personal than political. Someone is seeking justice; the bloodier the better.

The case is personal for Eve and husband Roarke too – Edward’s cousin Dennis is a close friend. But as Eve delves deeper into the case, dark secrets emerge that could tear the family apart. Edward Mira has friends in very high places – and they seem to be hiding something sinister. As the investigation takes a shocking turn, Eve finds that not all victims are innocent, and that some bonds are forged not in friendship, but in blood.

Lt. Eve Dallas is called onto a case before a murder has been committed: Dennis Mira has been assaulted and his cousin, the powerful ex-Senator Edward Mira, abducted.

Yet more evidence that it is dangerous to be friends with Eve Dallas! Here the Mira family are under the spotlight, as Eve works to solve the case without dragging them deeper into it. And, with Roarke’s urging, she also takes another step away from her old pre-Roarke life.

J. D. Robb.
Apprentice in Death.
Piatkus. 2016

rating : 4.5 : passes the time
review : 2 August 2017

The shots come quickly and with deadly accuracy.

Within seconds, three people lie dead in Central Park. There’s a sniper on the loose on the streets of New York City, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas is about to face one of the toughest cases of her career. Eve knows only a handful of people could have carried out such an audacious hit. Even more disturbing: this expert in death has an accomplice with an insatiable taste for murder.

Eve Dallas has to stop a serial killer before the next set of mass shootings. With the usual fast police work, since the shootings aren’t as random as they initially appear, the killer is identified: a rogue cop helped by his kid, avenging the death of his wife. But knowing who they are and finding them is another matter. And the kid seems more interested in death than in vengeance.

This is a fairly straightforward race against time: we know who the killers are fairly soon, and watch Eve race to find them. But this race seems to miss a step over a plot point. There seem to be several clues laid pointing to the real cause of the wife’s death, leading potentially to a shocking denouement. But nothing is made of these. Did Robb forget she had laid thes clues? Will they turn out to have consequences in a later case? Or did I just imagine them? Whatever, it made the ending a bit of a damp squib for me.

J. D. Robb.
Echoes in Death.
Piatkus. 2017

New York at night.

A young woman stumbles out on to a busy street, right in front of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke. Confused and traumatised, she manages to tell them one thing: her attacker wore a devil's mask.

Eve soon realises this is the latest in a series of terrifying attacks on wealthy couples. As the violence escalates, she and her team must race to unmask a mysterious and elusive killer – before he strikes again.