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, Guy Bergstrom reviews #32, Treachery in Death.
This is an unusual novel in the series in that it circles around Peabody instead of Eve, pushing her from sidekick to co-star.
The author sets it up nicely in the opening pages, with a murder in which Peabody plays the bad cop and Eve plays good cop. It is a slight foreshadow of the significance of Peabody to this book.
It's also different in that instead of hunting for a murderer on the outside, Peabody and Eve are facing traitors from within their own police department. This develops the figures from the Department and allows the reader to see the interaction between them.
If you're a fan of the character Peabody, Treachery in Death is her coming of age, her time in the spotlight. Early in the series, Delia Peabody was just another beat cop. Then, she got moved into Homicide as an aide to Eve and became a detective under the close eye of her Lieutenant. In this book, Peabody is partnered with Dallas.
But the spotlight is not easy. The story revolves around two bad cops, fellow officers who Peabody overhears discussing a side operation—a profitable one that they're willing to do anything to protect … including murder.
Even if it means killing informers and fellow police officers.
The villain, Lt. Renee Oberman, is a match for Eve and Peabody. Renee is the daughter of a beloved police commander. And just like Eve has allies—including her wealthy husband, Roarke, and Peabody—Renee has a team of accomplices. Her tentacles touch every level of the justice system: police officers, judges, and others she's cultivated over years of effort.
Renee's life story also contrasts nicely with Eve's—Renee was born into a famous police family and grew up supported and connected. Eve was an abused child who had to kill her father. They work in the same place, but they couldn't be more different.
This is a good read on many levels. It affirms the major themes of the series of self-determination, friendship, and loyalty while giving us good dialogue and plot. However, J.D. Robb is also able to shift the camera angle and allow us to access these themes in a new way, to see the inside of Cop Central and its primary players.
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Guy Bergstrom is a speechwriter and reformed journalist. He's represented by literary agent Jill Marr and can be found on Twitter @speechwriterguy or at his blog, redpenofdoom.com. For etiquette questions you want answered in this column, try [email protected].