Wed
Jan 11 2017 2:00pm

Review: Creation in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, David Cranmer reviews #25, Creation in Death.

It’s March of 2060, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas has a rare couple of days off. She’s enjoying a movie with Roarke and has no other plans except to “nail her husband like an air jack” after the video ends. But before they can consummate the evening on such a candid note, Eve gets a call from her commander directing her to a homicide. Roarke asks to tag along—as he often does—promising to stay out of the way, and what they find is revolting:

It might have been a sheet of ice or snow. From a distance, it might appear to be. And from a distance, the body arranged on it might appear to be artful—a model for some edgy shoot.

But she knew what it was, even from a distance, and the line of cold up her spine took on teeth.

Her eyes met Morris’s. But they said nothing.

It wasn’t ice, or snow. She wasn’t a model or a piece of art.

The victim is identified as 28-year-old Sarifina York, and in a rather too convenient plot twist, Roarke is acquainted with the young woman, having hired her to manage a club.

But her killer is no stranger, per se, either. He’s is well known to Eve from several unsolved murders dating nine years back and has been dubbed “The Groom” because of his signature calling card: a ring that he places on the deceased’s finger. Sprinkled throughout the novel, we are privy to The Groom’s disturbed mind. He considers what he’s doing an art form, and he carves into the skin of his captives how long they survived, right down to the second. The prologue for Creation in Death sums up the clinical, psychotic killer that Lieutenant Eve Dallas is up against with this go around.

Death was, in and of itself, the all.

He considered himself a late bloomer, and often bemoaned the years before he’d found his raison d’être. All that time lost, all those opportunities missed. But still, he had bloomed, and was forever grateful that he had finally looked inside himself and seen what he was. What he was meant for.

He was a maestro in the art of death. The keeper of time. The bringer of destiny.

Antagonists of this nature—the kind of serial killers that deem themselves erudite with fine taste—always reminds me of the big dog on the front porch, Hannibal Lecter. In particular, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is the standard by which I govern their ilk. Though “The Groom” is not as original as “Hannibal the Cannibal,” he’s nevertheless a worthy adversary as he begins circling closer and closer to Eve, intent on making her his last victim … and his ultimate creation.

As in all the In Death books, focus is squarely on hardboiled Eve Dallas, who has gone from being a loner in the earlier part of the series to being surrounded by a loyal group of supporters, like the ever-ready Peabody and billionaire husband Roarke, who I’ve always pictured as Lee Horsley from the Matt Houston series. A super rich dude who never lost the connection to the common man and has the grit that a tough-as-nails cop like Eve can respect. Whether she likes to admit it or not, he grounds her and makes her a more sympathetic person.

An excellent futuristic crime procedural, but don’t take my word for it. Stephen King said, “If you haven’t read Robb, this is a great place to start.” And from the late Robert B. Parker, “Creation in Death is a complete pleasure. WONDERFUL!”

 

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David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

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