June 29, 2014

Review: Concealed in Death

Concealed in Death
In Death, Book 38
J.D. Robb

Published: 27 February, 2014

Piatkus, Trade, 416p.
ISBN: 9780749959401 

In a decrepit and long-empty New York building, a man begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, he finds two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it.

The man is Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s billionaire husband, Roarke, and he summons her immediately. His latest real estate project is going to be on hold for a while, because by the time Eve and her crew are finished searching the premises, there are twelve murders to be solved….

After a little digging reveals that the place housed a makeshift shelter for troubled and homeless teenagers back in the mid-2040s, Eve tracks down the people who worked there. Between their recollections and the brilliant work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the skeletal remains. They are all girls. A tattooed tough teenager who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.

Everyone has something to hide. And when Eve discovers a stunning connection between the victims and someone she knows, she is even more driven to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and to find the evil concealed in one human heart.

I can't believe this review was still stuck in my draft folder.  Even though it's more than overdue, better late than never - right?  So here goes nothing, and I hope you enjoy my very late review of Concealed in Death (CiD).

As with some of the recent books in the In Death series, there seems to be some spark that is absent from the story that makes this only a so-so offering.  Now I love Eve and her relationship with Roarke.  They are a very realistic couple - minus the vast fortune - who fight and snark at each other, yet still have that underlying core of love, trust and respect that shines through.  My problem seems to lie in the execution of the story.  On the surface, Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb) concepts are great.  Yet somehow the disconnect between fabulous idea and mediocre product occurs.

There are moments that take you back to the brilliance of the earlier books in the series, but those are few and far between.  On the positive side, I really enjoyed finding out more about Mavis' pre-Eve history, and it's still amusing to watch how Eve interacts with the gorgeous Bell.  Eve still looks at her like she's a boomer about to go off {;-D}.  However where were Feehney and Whitney?  They seemed to disappear without a trace.  I miss the interactions between Eve and her co-workers at the precinct.  Also, while I enjoy Eve's subconsious chats with the victims, is it going to become standard fare?  I'm not sure I like this happening in every book recently.  A little mystery on how Eve processes things at times would be nice.  But it was the ending that I was most disappointed with.  I love Eve's usual style of getting confessions out of the perps in the interrogation room, whether its by trickery, or just inciting all out rage, but this time it just didn't work out that way.  It was a soft ending.

In CiD there is a lack of excitement, and the edginess that has always accompanied these books is missing.  Roarke is front and centre in this investigation, but even then he just seems to be on the perifery.  I can't quite explain it.  Something is definitely off.  I can say that after 38 books I don't expect perfection every time {I don't know how she can write so many books each and every year!} and the quirks and foibles of Eve and company always make me laugh.  However I do expect a certain standard and I'd rather wait longer for a title than get a substandard offering.

Still, I'm a devoted fan of the series and can't help but buy them religiously.  An excellent series that can take a dud or two, but hopefully the series will be redeemed in Festive in Death (due Nov, 2014).

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