REVIEW: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb

Dear Ms. Robb:

I left off the last book feeling vaguely unhappy with how little Eve seems to give in the relationship with Roarke. This book is my comeuppance. Every book in the In Death series has had a good mystery and police procedure is one of my favorite genres. Not every one, however, leaves me with a big impression or makes me want to re-read it when I close the book. This one, made me stay up until 2 am, wondering if I needed to join some Reader’s Anonymous club for people who are worthless at work because of reading books.

Eve Dallas has two problems. The first is that her murder victim is like Mr. Rogers, only way younger. He’s a school teacher at a private school. Everyone likes him. He had a great marriage. The only complaint was that he and his lovely wife had very noisy sex and alot of it. There is simply very little reason to kill young Mr. Rogers (also known as Craig Foster).

The second is that a real threat to Eve and Roarke’s marriage in the form of a drop dead gorgeous, very sophisticated Magdelana Percell with whom Roarke had a previous relationship. According to Roarke, “Maggie” is no threat to the relationship but just an old friend with whom Roarke feels it is perfectly appropriate to see for a trip down memory lane. This and the glimpse of attraction that Eve sees in Roarke’s eyes makes her feel quite anxious. What Roarke fails to see this time, when it seems he always understands Eve, is that she is insecure and she doesn’t think she can measure up to Magdelana.

At one point, Peabody urges Eve to tell Roarke that this reunion with the old flame is hurting her. Eve always seems so strong, so indomitable which made the view of her emotional, vulnerable side was so compelling. The scenes between Eve and Mira and then again, with Roarke, during the reconciliation, made my eyes feel a bit damp.

Eve doesn’t know how to handle Roarke’s old flame and every time she tries, Roarke takes it as a personal insult. Seeing Roarke act childish and self-righteous served to make him more human. It was actually a welcome relief to his near perfect response rate in so many other books. Roarke and Eve acted like two people who cared about each other but were having trouble communicating and understanding each other. Like, um, real people and real marriages.

I don’t want to say too much about the murderer for fear of giving it away. The clues were there for the reader to guess who the guilty party is. The resolution of the story is heart rending with at least one individual facing a near impossible dilemna. It was definitely the best In Death book I have read in a good long while. A-

Best regards,