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, Ardi Alspach reviews #3, Immortal in Death.
Immortal in Death, the 3rd installment of the In Death series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas, is a thrilling and complicated crime story that I’d argue is the best in the series so far. Robb gets better and better as each book comes along, giving hope that this series will only continue to improve and get more thrilling over time.
The theme of this novel is trust. Relationships are evolving, as we see more of Eve’s personal life become entwined with her work. Her best friend—the wild and crazy singer Mavis—has a new love: Leonardo. Unfortunately, Leonardo is not without baggage.
As an up-and-coming fashion designer, Leonardo has been relying on the biggest model of the time, Pandora, to support his new fashion show. Pandora happens to be an ex-lover of his, and she doesn’t take kindly to being replaced in Leonardo’s affections by Mavis. After Pandora and Mavis are seen fighting, Pandora ends up dead in Leonardo’s apartment, and Mavis’s prints are all over the crime scene. Can Mavis trust Dallas to clear her name?
The pressure is on. Dallas and Roarke are planning a wedding, but the stress of needing to clear Mavis’s name nearly breaks her. Dallas has to trust Roarke as she begins remembering bits and pieces of her broken past, and Roarke, too, must learn to tell his dark secrets to Dallas. It’s a whirlwind of emotion, and just as you think Dallas might be close to solving the case, the plot thickens with twists and turns as new evidence and new players are introduced.
Here’s Dallas discussing Roarke with her therapist, Dr. Mira:
“I can’t do my job unless I know I have the wheel.”
“And in your personal life?”
“Shit, nobody grabs the wheel from Roarke.”
“He’s running things then?”
“He would if you let him.” She [Dallas] gave a short laugh. “He’d probably say the same about me. I guess we do a lot of juggling for the controls, end up heading in the same direction anyway. He loves me.”
“You sound surprised.”
“Nobody ever did. Not like this. It’s easy to say, for some people. The words. But it’s not just words with Roarke. He sees inside me, and it doesn’t matter.”
“I don’t know. I don’t always like what I see there, but he does. Or at least he understands it.” And now Eve understood that this was what she’d needed to talk through. Those black, ragged edges inside her. “Maybe it’s because we both had lousy beginnings. We knew, when we should have been too young to know, how cruel people can be.”
I think what appealed to me the most about this novel is how much the worldbuilding is a part of the plot this time. We get to see more of the science and technology available in 2058, and off-planet ventures and laws are influencing what’s happening in Dallas’s case. For example, in addition to investigating the death of Pandora, Dallas is also looking into the death of one of her informants, Boomer. It’s obviously drug related, and the homicide department wants to close it, but Dallas can’t let go of one of her own being taken down. In the course of the investigation, she discovers that a new drug is being manufactured, and one of the ingredients is from off-world. Import and export laws aren’t just about countries on Earth anymore—they also include import and export between planets.
We’ve often seen Roarke go off-planet to deal with business interests, but this is the first time we have any details about what happens on other planets, and I find that aspect really interesting. Robb does an excellent job of giving us just enough new tidbits about the world in each book that I find myself wanting to read the next one to see what else she’ll come up with.
Not to mention learning more about the mysterious pasts of both Dallas and Roarke! Trust is hard, and this relationship has progressed quickly. I certainly hope that these two lovebirds can find a way to battle their personal demons together. And I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what’s next for the future New York!
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Ardi Alspach was born in Florida, raised in South Carolina, and now resides in New York City with her cat and an apartment full of books. By day, she's a publicist, and by night, she's a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @ardyceelaine or check out her website at ardyceelaine.wordpress.com.