Tue
Jan 3 2017 1:00pm

Review: Visions 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, Amber Keller reviews #19, Visions in Death.

The 19th book in the In Death series has Lieutenant Eve Dallas searching for one twisted murderer.

It’s just another day in the life of Eve Dallas when the chaotic monotony is broken by a horrific crime. A woman’s body is found brutally beaten, raped, and missing the eyes. Soon after, another death with the same MO is discovered. The nature of these crimes dredge up terrible memories for Dallas, and she must face them while she hunts for the killer before he can strike again.

Dallas is known for her strength and abilities, all wrapped up in a tiny package. But she’s even stronger than most realize, and she’s got some major demons in her past. She’s almost as well known for her ruthless capabilities as she is for being married to high-society Roarke.

“When people talk about Roarke’s cop over their cocktails and canapés, they say she’s a little scary, a little mean, and very relentless.”

In this book, one side story gives us a humorous glimpse into a part of the special connection that Dallas and Roarke share when their friend becomes pregnant and asks them to be backup labor coaches. When they’re alone, this priceless conversation about the dreaded event is one to remember:

“Before you know it, she’s going to want us to deliver the thing. They’ll want to do it here, in our bedroom or something, with cameras – live feed to her fans. And us pulling the thing out of her.”

Utter and genuine horror leaped into his eyes. “Stop it, Eve. Stop it now.”

“Yeah, live feed, that’s Mavis to the ground. And we’ll do it.” She spun back to him. “We’ll do it because she’s just sucking us in. Sucking us in like some…” She windmilled her arms, “Like some big sucking thing. Some big pregnant sucking thing.”

“Let’s just calm down.” With the images Eve painted playing in his head, Roarke took out a cigarette. Lighting it, he ordered himself to think rationally. “Surely you’ve done this sort of thing before. You’re a cop. You must have at least been on hand during a birthing.”

“Uh-uh. Nope. No. Once, when I was still on patrol, we had to take this woman into a health center. Jesus, she was screaming like somebody was ramming steel spikes into her crotch.”

“Merciful Jesus, Eve, could you dispense with some of the imagery?”

The bad guy in this one is truly messed up. He hates women. All of them. And we eventually find out why—and that’s bad enough, too. It’s hard to feel sorry for the villain sometimes—and in this instance I sure didn’t want to—but with a backstory like his, let’s just say that no good was going to come of this. Dallas does explore his backstory, and given her own tragic upbringing, she explains that you can either take something like this and make something good out of it, or devolve into what has become of this killer.

In the few times we see through the killer’s point of view, we are given a clear and chilling picture of the madness that is him.

He was stronger. Look at him now. Just look.

He did, turning to one of the walls of mirrors to admire his body. The sheer shape and strength. The perfection he’d worked so hard to achieve. He was a man.

“Do you see? Do you see what I am?”

He turned, holding out his arms, and a dozen pairs of eyes stared back at him as they floated in their jars.

They could see him now. She could see him. She had no choice but to look at him. Forever.

Dallas becomes paired with a sensitive that is having visions of the crimes as they happen. This goes against her arrow-straight and grounded nature, as she explains, “You can’t use logic and paranormal in the same sentence.” But she slowly comes to accept the woman’s ability and even finds it helpful in identifying the killer. As she makes sense of this new help, she applies it to her own unique abilities.

Bad vibes, she thought again, and looked out at her city.

It wasn’t extrasensory. What she had, what she did was, in her opinion, the antithesis of paranormal. It was elemental, maybe on some level even primitive – the way early man had known when to hunt and when to hide.

She’d say visceral except the word always sounded sort of pompous to her. And there was nothing pompous about cop work.

The vibes, for lack of a better word, were a combination of instinct and experience and a knowledge she had no inclination to analyze.

With a twist ending that gives the story a leaving pop of excitement, this installment delivers the goods and them some.

 

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Amber Keller is a writer who delves into dark, speculative fiction, particularly horror and suspense/thrillers. You can find her work on her Amazon Author Page and she also features many short stories on Diary of a Writer. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she contributes to many websites and eMagazines and you can follow her on Twitter @akeller9.

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