Review: Kindred 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 #29, Kindred in Death.

Eve and Roarke have just made love and are having a bit of breakfast in bed when they’re joined by the cat, who waited a respectful length of time before joining them. What is there not like about that? Peaceful, relaxed, and fulfilled—gentle things going on as they think about getting ready for a quick jaunt to the Cayman Islands to check out the possible purchase of a villa. 

But reality has another agenda as a communicator summons her to pick up and read the display. It’s from Whitney. Now she is no longer Roarke’s lover, pet afficiando, and person who was about to jet off to the Caymans—she is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, and it is time for another case. 

Instead of boarding a plane for the sun, she has to go to 541 Central Park South. A victim awaits her: Deena Macmasters, sixteen, found dead by her parents when they came back from a weekend trip. It doesn’t get any worse. Parents should never have to bury their children under any circumstances. 

It doesn’t matter how many of these books J.D. Robb turns out, each one is as good as the last. I challenge anyone to get tired of the writing, the plots, the structure, and, of course, the mysteries. 

Eve Dallas continues to take on these difficult cases, and not just because she takes her job seriously, but she also has the best motivator for action: her past. She has dealt with many unpleasant crimes and crimes scenes; it never gets easier. The victim is Captain Macmasters’s child. Dallas is familiar with the man. She knew him as Lieutenant. As she makes her way to the scene, she wonders why he asked for her specifically to be on the case. She would be sure to ask.

Macmasters rose as she came in. She judged him at six-four, and lean to the point of gangly. His casual dress of T-shirt and jeans coincided with returning from a brief holiday. His hair, dark like his wife’s, had a tight curl and remained full and thick around a lean face with deep cheek grooves that may have been dimples in his youth. His eyes, a pale, almost misty green, met hers levelly. In them she saw grief and shock, and anger.

He moved to her, held out a hand. “Thank-you. Lieutenant…” He seemed to run out of words.

“Captain, I’m very sorry, very sorry for your loss.”

“She’s the one?” Carol struggled up even as her tears spilled down her cheeks.

“You’re Lieutenant Dallas?”

“Yes, ma’am. Mrs. Macmasters—”

“Jonah said it had to be you. You’re the best there is. You’ll find out who…how…

“But she’ll still be gone. My baby will still be gone. She’s upstairs, She’s up there, and I can’t be with her.” Her voice pitched from raw grief toward hysteria. 

“They won’t let me go be with her. She’s dead. Our Deena’s dead.”

The young victim has been violently killed and abused. It strikes a deep note within Eve, as she is no stranger to this type of terrifying act. She was luckier than Deena MacMasters; she survived it. Eve is, of course, a professional and more than capable of being detached and focused, but it is impossible for her not feel it personally when she sees the nature of the poor girl’s death and last moments. And for Even Dallas, it’s definitely personal—it can’t be anything else.

The plot thickens. It looks like there is more to it than rape and murder—much more—and it gets Eve Dallas angrier and more determined to get her murderer. Nothing is straightforward in the world of crime, and nothing is ever exactly what you think it is. Events and circumstances present themselves in one shape or another, reminding you that just when you think you have tracked the perpetrator down, you have to think again.

The air was overripe, a garden of grief.

People spilled onto the terrace, into both parlors, and their voices ebbed and flowed into a sea of sound. Through it she listened to team members report status through her earbud.

She started toward the terrace as much for some air as to do another sweep.

As she reached the doorway a crash had her whirling around. Screams, shouts exploded as the sea of sound became a sea of panic.

If you want a nice cozy read with a mystery that slowly presents itself at a relaxed pace, then this is not the series for you. If you want a cracking read with a rich vein of intrigue and double dealing, then Eve Dallas is your woman and Kindred in Death is your book.


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Dirk Robertson is a Scots thriller writer, currently in Virginia where he is promoting literacy and art projects for young gang members. When not writing, tweeting, or blogging on the Mystery Writers of America website, he designs and knits clothes and handbags from recycled rubbish.

Read all Dirk Robertson’s posts for Criminal Element.


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