<i>Enforcing the Paw</i>: Excerpt Enforcing the Paw: Excerpt Diane Kelly The sixth book in the Paw Enforcement series. Review: <i>The Child</i> by Fiona Barton Review: The Child by Fiona Barton Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review! The Dark Tower: <i>The Dark Tower</i> Part I The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part I David Cranmer Join our discussion! <i>Every Deadly Kiss</i>: Excerpt Every Deadly Kiss: Excerpt Steven James The 10th book in the Bowers Files.
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Showing posts tagged: In Death series click to see more stuff tagged with In Death series
Feb 8 2017 1:00pm

5 New Books to Read this Week: February 7, 2017

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

This was a huge week for crime fans! J.D. Robb released her 44th In Death novel, Kelley Armstrong continued her Casey Duncan series, and Chris Ewan delivered a superb standalone thriller! See what else to read this week:

[See this week's Top 5...]

Feb 7 2017 5:15pm

Who Is Your Favorite Supporting Character in the In Death series?

One of the things that makes J.D. Robb’s In Death novels such a success is the adept characterization of the supporting cast. Sure, Eve Dallas is the star, but her friends and makeshift family help create a world you feel a part of—even if it is set in a futuristic NYC of the late 2050s / early 2060s. 

With today’s release of the 44th In Death novel, Echoes in Death, we want to know who YOUR favorite secondary character is throughout the series? Could it be billionaire husband Roarke? Eve’s eventual partner and friend, Delia Peabody? Or maybe mentor and former partner Captain Ryan Feeney? 

Check out our review coverage of the entire In Death series!

[Vote for your favorite below!]

Feb 7 2017 4:00pm

My Top 5 In Death Novels

I discovered J.D. Robb before I knew she was Nora Roberts

My mom has been a long-time member of the Mystery Guild, and back in 1999 she gave me her booklet and asked if I wanted anything. I was looking for something new to read, and the description of Conspiracy in Death by this unknown (to me) author J.D. Robb sounded intriguing. The Mystery Guild booklet didn’t identify J.D. Robb as Nora Roberts, but I didn’t care—a futuristic police procedural? Sounded fun and different.

I remember reading this book and losing myself in the future world expertly built with lasers and AutoChefs and holos and designer drugs. Strong, independent cop Eve Dallas; sexy, former criminal turned mostly-straight businessman; insecure-but-determined partner Peabody; annoying-but-loyal Summerset; and, of course, Galahad the spoiled cat. And many more. No character is left two-dimensional, whether they’re continuing, support cast, or in only one important scene. We are immersed in the world and with the characters.

[See which In Death novels made the list!]

Feb 7 2017 2:00pm

Review: Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb is the 44th book in the In Death series featuring Eve Dallas.

As I read the first three chapters of Echoes in Death, I wondered if the book was written intentionally as a jumping-on point for new readers. It certainly reads that way, catching readers up to speed on the characters, their relationships, and the futuristic setting all in the first two chapters. 

Intentional or not, if you’re curious about the In Death series, yes, you can start with this 44th book.

The story opens from the point of view of a victim: Daphne Strazza, a young doctor’s wife. Injured, terrified, and convinced she’s been attacked by the literal devil, she stumbles into the street into the path of the limousine carrying Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke as they head home from a charity event. 

[Read Corrina Lawson's review of Echoes in Death...]

Feb 6 2017 5:30pm

The Pleasures of Reading J.D. Robb

When you find a mystery series that you completely enjoy reading, it’s as if you have found reading gold. Finishing each book is no longer an agony because you know your favorite main characters will come back in the next book in the series.

Readers of my Cate Harlow Private Investigation series have told me that they enjoy knowing Cate and company will return in a new book. I like that too, as each time I write a new book the character of Cate Harlow grows in ways that add to her fictional life.

One of my favorite authors is J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, who pens the absolutely superb In Death series featuring the steely-eyed, incomparable Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Eve is a fiercely dedicated cop who prefers to do things on her own. According to her way of thinking, this impacts both her personal and professional lives with fewer complications. Truthfully, she chose to be in law enforcement as a police officer so that she could have absolute control over her own life. Until the age of eighteen, she was controlled by others in a foster care system from hell. 

[Read more from Kristen Houghton!]

Feb 6 2017 2:00pm

Review: Apprentice 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, Janet Webb reviews #43, Apprentice in Death.

Apprentice in Death gives us J.D. Robb at the top of her game. Each In Death book juxtaposes a methodical, futuristic police procedural with the ever-evolving relationship of New York City’s Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke, her gazillionaire husband.

The setting of Apprentice in Death is decades into the future, but the vagaries of murder are, unfortunately, timeless. There’s a shooting at an outdoor skating rink: “Three shots in roughly twelve seconds, three dead—center back, gut, forehead. That’s not luck.” No, those are skilled shots.

Eve knows immediately that she has a LDSK on her hands. According to the Urban Dictionary, the initials represent “Long Distance Serial Killer; a serial killer that kills at great distances via a sniper rifle or other weapons.”

[Read Janet Webb's review of Apprentice In Death...]

Feb 3 2017 4:00pm

Before Jessica Jones, There Was Eve Dallas

When Jessica Jones premiered on Netflix in 2015, it was met with critical acclaim for its portrayal of a rape victim seizing control of her life, all tossed with an extra slice of “fight the partriarchy.” “Groundbreaking,” critics said.

For all the praise, one would think the show contained the first character in pop culture to have this kind of character arc or feature this kind of heroine.

See also: Jessica Jones Review: Season 1, Episodes 1-4

But before there was Jessica Jones, there was Eve Dallas, who came to life twenty years before. Dallas is the lead character of J.D. Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) In Death series. The first book in that series, Naked in Death, was published in 1995. And even if you’re counting the comics—which I don’t because the versions of Jessica Jones were different—Eve Dallas is six years older than Alias (which introduced Jones).

[Read more from Corrina Lawson!]

Feb 3 2017 2:00pm

Review: Brotherhood 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, Angie Barry reviews #42, Brotherhood in Death.

Eve leaned forward, just a little. “You can kiss my ass.”

Color flooded Mandy's face. “How dare you. You can be sure I'll contact your superior and report your behavior.”

“That would be Whitney, Commander Jack. Cop Central.” Eve took out her badge. “Make a note of the name and number. I cleaned up some of your husband's blood in that ridiculous old house today—you think about that. You think about that and the fact that you can't find him. And you remember Dennis Mira ended up unconscious on the floor, shedding some of his own blood, because he tried to help. And you—”

“Eve,” Roarke murmured.

“No, not done. And you think about the fact a cop came to your door to inform you, to gather information in the investigation of your husband's whereabouts, and you stonewalled. As a cop I'm now looking right at you, right straight at you as my chief suspect. You got anything hiding in your closets, sister? I guarantee I'll find it.”

In the 42nd installment of her In Death series, J.D. Robb makes things decidedly personal for Lieutenant Eve Dallas. 

[Read Angie Barry's review of Brotherhood in Death...]

Feb 2 2017 5:30pm

Nora Roberts: One of Literature’s Most Underrated Authors

I initially conceived of this article as a way to convince readers who dismiss Nora Roberts with a wave and an eye roll of her considerable writing skills. But I put that article away because my words, no matter how eloquent they might be, wouldn’t cut it. The best supporting evidence for Nora Roberts is Nora Roberts’s own words.

Instead, I pulled short excerpts from Roberts’s stories and juxtaposed them with bestselling or acclaimed works by authors who don’t receive the same unearned, unwarranted, and unnecessary look of disdain.

[See why you should be reading Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb...]

Feb 2 2017 2:00pm

Review: Devoted 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, Allison Brennan reviews #41, Devoted in Death.

Buckle up for Devoted in Death because this story starts with a bang and does not let up as two love-struck killers travel from Oklahoma to New York, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

One of the fun things about being a fan of J.D. Robb’s In Death series from the (almost) beginning is that there’s such variety in the stories throughout the series itself while still holding true to the characters. Some books are deeply emotional and story-changing (New York to Dallas); others are almost a straight-up police procedural (Survivor in Death); and others are a bit lighter and fun, at least as fun as murder and mayhem can be (Fantasy in Death). Devoted in Death is a genuine crime thriller, a race-against-time Bonnie-and-Clyde story.

[Read Allison Brennan's review of Devoted in Death...]

Feb 1 2017 3:00pm

4 Reasons You Should Read J.D. Robb ... According to My Mom

As you may have noticed, we—the reviewers here at Criminal Element—are happily gorging ourselves on J.D. Robb’s In Death series in preparation for the upcoming release of Echoes in Death. But there’s an important voice you need to hear if we’re going to talk seriously about J.D. Robb: my mom’s.   

When you walk into my mom’s house, you go straight into the living room (it’d probably be called a “formal living room” if my mom was a “formal living room” kinda gal … which she isn’t), and the first thing you see is a large entertainment center. You see the normal entertainment center kinda things: television, the entire series of NCIS, and other movies/shows that don’t star Mark Harmon or Michael Weatherly. 

But one thing you will notice very quickly is, along the top shelf of the entertainment center, the entire series of J.D. Robb’s In Death novels on full display—from number one to number whatever-number-J.D. Robb-is-up-to-by-the-time-of-this-writing. (That’s 44 in February once Echoes in Death comes out.)

[Mom knows best...]

Feb 1 2017 2:00pm

Review: Obsession 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, John Jacobson reviews #40, Obsession in Death.

Obsession in Death marks the 40th official title in the In Death series. After reviewing Festive in Death, I managed to avoid feeling series burnout because of Eve Dallas’s continued improvement as a character. Obsession in Death took those feelings and amped them up a few notches. This installment is much more about the mystery, following a serial killer that kills with the belief that they are Dallas’s friend. It’s a compelling mystery arc that also gives the reader a lens to look back on Eve’s career—a smart authorial decision on Robb’s part that makes this book work both as a standalone mystery and as a later installment in an ongoing series. 

Getting called to a grisly murder scene is day-to-day work for Lieutenant Eve Dallas, even if it is just after the Christmas holidays. Eve’s latest job has something she’s never seen before: a note from the killer addressed directly to her.

[Read John Jacobson's review of Obsession in Death...]

Jan 31 2017 2:00pm

Review: Festive 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, John Jacobson reviews #39, Festive in Death.

At book 39 (wow) of the In Death series, Festive in Death is a great way to look at the evolution of Robb’s work. My last review was of Rapture in Death—one of the earliest books in the series. The differences between the first few stories and the later books are readily apparent, but, as a fan of Robb’s work, I have to say that I find them the sign of an expert in her craft.

Festive in Death continues the work of characterizing Eve Dallas by looking at her relationship of giving to others, and it also makes a strong statement about the importance of identifying rape as rape. Robb’s continued quest to keep this series growing and relevant to contemporary issues is a worthwhile one, and I think In Death fans have a lot to still appreciate about later In Death books.

Trey Ziegler is a popular personal trainer in NYC with a strong client base and a reputation for being a lady’s man. Sadly, his physique and charisma don’t help him avoid being murdered with a knife straight through the chest. Lieutenant Eve Dallas doesn’t like slick playboys such as Trey, but her professional desire for justice has her searching for his killer. 

[Read John Jacobson's review of Festive in Death...]

Jan 30 2017 2:00pm

Review: Concealed 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, Allison Brennan reviews #38, Concealed in Death.

J.D. Robb has a knack for first lines that immediately draw you into the story:

  • “Killing was easier than I thought it could be, and a lot more rewarding.” (Obsession in Death)
  • “Men, Sima thought, can’t live with them, can’t beat them to death with a nine iron.” (Festive in Death)
  • “A late-night urge for an orange fizzy saved Nixie’s life.” (Survivor in Death)

And, of course, the book I’m talking about today—the opening line of Concealed in Death totally rocks: “Neglect could kill a building brick by brick.” Neglect kills not just buildings, but people, and as the story unfolds, we see how this theme is played out in multiple ways.

[Read Allison Brennan's review of Concealed in Death...]

Jan 27 2017 2:00pm

Review: Thankless 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, Dirk Robertson reviews #37, Thankless in Death.

Eve Dallas is back in the 37th In Death novel, Thankless in Death. J.D. Robb has created a most-believable heroine with this series of books, and despite its longevity, each book feels essentially individual. Robb achieves this by working in layers when it comes to Eve Dallas. The past she has endured and the life she has led because of it all come together to make her the person she is. And with each book, Robb peels the layers off, one by one, to take the reader on a journey that ends in the Lieutenant we love. The result is books that are immensely readable and extremely enjoyable, which portray a character that you can root for all the way—so long as she is not coming after you. 

Thankfully, this time Eve’s coming after Jerry Reinhold. Jerry has given his parents a proper evening’s attention, the likes of which only a proper psychopath can aspire to: a knife for his loving Mum, who has put up with so much from the ungrateful sponger, and a baseball bat for his poor old Dad. Jerry is the kind of character you develop a soft spot for straight away—a slurry pit just off the New Jersey turnpike. He really is a foul specimen. 

[Read Dirk Robertson's review of Thankless in Death...]

Jan 26 2017 5:30pm

Top Female Crime and Mystery Authors

Crime and mystery fiction’s diversity attracts a broad readership. For instance, I prefer the soft stuff and am attracted to the puzzle rather than grizzly details, while many of my friends enjoy peeled skin and body parts. Knowing that, it seems immensely impertinent for me to try to compile a “best of” list on my own. So, I engaged my online community in search of a random (objectively subjective!) sampling. And the thing that struck me from the almost two hundred replies I received was that crime readers love—and more often remember—the author and the main character in a series rather than specific titles.

So, what began as a list of the Top Ten Crime and Mystery Novels by Women, evolved into a Top Ten Female Crime and Mystery Authors. Of course, who knows what “Top” means exactly? Most popular? Most well-marketed? Most enduring? Most engaging? Most well-written? All of the preceding? The accurate description, I suppose, would be to say that this is a list of crime and mystery authors that my friends and colleagues most appreciate. And I do acknowledge there may be a slight survey bias towards Australian writers, seeing as a lot of my online community are Australian. But of course, that’s not a bad thing, is it?!

[See who made the list!]

Jan 26 2017 2:00pm

Review: Calculated 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 #36, Calculated in Death.

The 36th book in this series is a complicated whodunit embroiled in the world of big money and even bigger egos. Add in a little Hollywood by way of a much anticipated movie premiere, and you have the perfect formula for an Eve Dallas saga.

Set in a cold, futuristic November in Manhattan, it begins with the truly upsetting murder of a young accountant and, more importantly, mother and wife. The tragedy is only at the surface of what quickly becomes a very complicated plot, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas is determined to find out the how and why.

We have the usual elements in place, including Eve and Roarke’s amazing relationship. She spends many a night and day at her job, but Roarke—being the world’s most understanding spouse that he is—not only obliges, but even helps her occasionally. Eve’s commitment to her job, sometimes at the expense of her relationship, is something she’s aware of, as pointed out by her own thoughts here:

[Read Amber Keller's review of Calculated in Death...]

Jan 25 2017 2:00pm

Review: Delusion 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, Meghan Harker reviews #35, Delusion in Death.

There's no better way to unwind from a long day at the office than to kick back at a bar with a few coworkers or friends. It’s a usual routine: down a few drinks, grab a handful of nachos, flirt your way through a blind date, and, without warning, spend a brutal twelve minutes beating each other to death. That's the scene Lieutenant Eve Dallas finds one evening—an overwhelming eighty bodies floating in the bloodbath. What she can't dredge up is a suspect, motive, or means. 

When three survivors turn up in stable enough condition to speak to her, they claim their evening started out normal but ended with demons, giant swarms of bees, and other impossible things. The only claim they have in common is a sudden headache. 

[Read Meghan Harker's review of Delusion in Death...]

Jan 24 2017 2:00pm

Review: Celebrity 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, John Valeri reviews #34, Celebrity in Death.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas isn’t much impressed by the thought of rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s elite at a fancy dinner for the cast and crew of The Icove Agenda—a film-in-progress based on one of her most celebrated cases. Nevertheless, she and her partner, the effervescent Det. Delia Peabody, find themselves making nice at director Mason Roundtree’s swanky New York pad; after all, public relations are of the utmost importance to the brass. But when an actresses is found dead in the pool, the A-list becomes the suspect list in J.D. Robb’s Celebrity in Death, the 34th book in this futuristic crime series.     

Though the plot is somewhat reminiscent of Wes Craven’s horror film Scream 3 (2000), it plays better on the page than it did on the big screen—and Robb’s characters are every bit as self-aware as celluloid ones. Maybe more so. The fact that the victim—twenty-seven-year-old K.T. Harris—was portraying Peabody adds a brilliantly emotional bent to the story (it’s easy for Dallas and Co. to visualize her when viewing the corpse). Circumstances are further complicated by the fact that Harris was universally disliked, meaning that the motives for her murder are plentiful. A second, related death proves that hers was not an isolated incident—and that Dallas and Peabody are up against a ticking clock.

[Read John Valeri's review of Celebrity in Death...]

Jan 23 2017 2:00pm

Review: New York to Dallas 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, Corrina Lawson reviews #33, New York to Dallas.

New York to Dallas may be the most important book in the entire In Death series. In a nod to the story’s unique place, it’s the only book not to have “In Death” in the title.

The title has a two-layered meaning. The first is the obvious physical journey that Lt. Eve Dallas must take from New York City to Dallas, Texas to chase an escaped serial killer who has already taken a hostage. The second journey is symbolic, as Eve returns to the city where she was found wandering in an alley, injured, bloody, and amnesiac—the place where she initially became Eve Dallas. Now, she’s become Lt. Eve Dallas of New York. But the events of this book strip her emotions back down to that lost and broken child, and it’s only with supreme effort that she defeats her internal and external demons.

[Read Corrina Lawson's review of New York to Dallas...]