- Title: Vengeance in Death
- Author: J D Robb
- Series: In Death #6
- Genre: Futuristic Murder Mystery Romance
- Format: e-book
- Source: own copy
- Reviewed by: Erica
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Description: In a time when technology links the law and the lawless, predators and prey can be one and the same…
He is an expert with the latest technology … a madman with the mind of a genius and the heart of a killer. He quietly stalks his prey. Then he haunts the police with cryptic riddles about the crimes he is about to commit–always solved moments too late to save his victims’ lives.
Police lieutenant Eve Dallas found the first victim butchered in his own home. The second lost his life in a vacant luxury apartment. The two men had little in common. Both suffered unspeakable torture before their deaths. And both had ties to an ugly secret of ten years past–a secret shared by none other than Eve’s new husband, Roarke.
Review: After two disappointing episodes in this series it is good to see that Robb is back to form in this book.
The first victim in the book is Tommy Brennan, and his death has not been just a simple murder. No, Tommy was killed slowly, and the post-mortem confirms that the murderer pumped him full of enough drugs that he was lucid and completely aware of what was being done to him. His hand was severed and his eye was removed, in addition to several other nasty things, and it sets the tone for the rest of the murders. The victims are not just killed, they are tortured, made to suffer in vengeance for what they have done.
The crimes they have committed in the eyes of the murderer are all related to Roarke’s rather seedy past as an Irish street criminal. At sixteen he had already hooked up with the man who is now his butler, Summerset. Roarke pissed off a few local thugs, and in order to teach him a lesson they caught Summerset’s daughter Marlena, then brutally raped and murdered her. In retaliation Roarke killed the perpetrators.
This is all stuff we learned in one of the previous books, but here it comes back to bite him. It soon becomes apparent that the murders are all somehow related to Marlena’s death, and the murderer is trying to set up Summerset as the perpetrator of these vicious torture-kills.
In a way these books feel a little like a tick-box exercise sometimes. It is as if Robb made a list of all the people in Eve Dallas’ life and thought up stories in which they all become murder suspects, and in this book it’s Summerset’s turn. What makes this one interesting is that Eve and Summerset loathe each other, which mainly affects Summerset in this book. Eve will do her job, but Summerset refuses to follow her guidance, even if it means he gets himself into further trouble for it. It is also interesting because this one is incredibly clever in its setup. I had absolutely no clue who the murderer was right up until it was spelled out for me. We also meet a new secondary character, Ian McNab, who will become a fun recurring character.
What stops me from giving this the full five stars is the bits that have annoyed me about the previous books in this series. Yet again the murderer doesn’t survive to stand trial. Yet again the book finishes almost as soon as this happens – there is no aftermath to take care of. Yet again Eve pushes herself to the very limit, refusing to take rest or undergo medical attention when she’s injured. I know it’s meant to be a big part of her character, but sometimes it feels overdone.
Still, this book has one of the best quotes in the entire series so far, in an argument between Eve and Roarke, which neatly sums up the battle of the sexes:
“You had no right. No right to stand in front of me.” He turned back now, his eyes vividly blue with temper that had gone from frigid to blaze. “No fucking right to risk yourself on my behalf.”
“Oh really. Is that so?” She stalked forward until they were toe to toe. “Okay, you tell me. You keep looking me dead in the eye and you tell me you wouldn’t have done the same if it was me in jeopardy.”
“That’s entirely different.”
“Why?” Her chin came up and her finger jabbed hard into his chest. “Because you have a penis?”
A very good effort overall, so I’ll leave it at 4.5 stars.