Robb’s ‘Kindred in Death’ crackles with character, plot
November 25, 2009 - 5:00 am
It’s not often that homicide cop and ass-kicker Lt. Eve Dallas gets a day off.
And the international Peace Day celebration of 2060 isn’t going to prove the exception. As the rest of New York observes the holiday commemorating the end of the Urban Wars, Eve is pulled out of her cozy celebration with husband Roarke to take on the kind of case she dreads the most — the rape and murder of a young girl. And 16-year-old Deena MacMasters isn’t just any victim. Her father is fellow cop Capt. Jonah MacMasters and he’s calling in favors to get Eve on the case.
"Kindred in Death," the 30th full-length installment in J.D. Robb’s "In Death" series, shows no signs of running out of steam as it immediately plunges into the horror and gore of a crime that took place in what should have been the teenager’s safest place — her room. It soon becomes apparent that Deena’s murder is no random crime — her carefully crafted defilement is a message from someone to the girl’s father, a department veteran who’s put away a lot of criminals and made a lot of enemies during his time on the force.
Eve and her murder team — including partner Delia Peabody, E-man Ian McNab and profiler Dr. Mira — race the clock to identify the killer before he slips away. Robb’s latest is a keen look at how parents shape their children with an insightful revisiting of the "nature vs. nurture" concept when it comes to whether criminals are born or made.
And because this is a J.D. Robb novel, it’s not all about the crime. Fans of the "In Death" books will watch Eve fret and fume as her personal obligations crash into her professional commitments. Charles and Louise finally are getting married (and if you don’t know who they are, you need to start at the beginning of the series). As the matron of honor, Eve — who is more at ease at a murder scene than any social event — isn’t quite sure what she should be doing. And anyone who knows the hard-boiled detective knows that puts her at her crankiest.
Parts of "Kindred in Death" will remind readers of other novels in the series but nothing in the story struck me as recycled. Homicide investigations will have commonalities and children are the victims all too often. The point of a Robb novel is that the plot crackles, the characters pop, and for however long you’re in the story, that’s all there is.
Note: November is a bonus month for Eve Dallas fans. "The Lost," a paperback collection of novellas released Nov. 24, contains a first-time-in-print Eve Dallas tale. In keeping with the book’s theme, Dallas investigates the disappearance and possible murder of a tourist aboard a New York ferry. When the lost victim turns up minus her memories of what happened, it’s up to Eve and her murder team to investigate a case that finds them skirting the very gray edges of international espionage and homeland security. The story is tightly woven and has Eve revisiting some of her darkest moments. Fans of Eve’s nemesis, the extremely buttoned-up butler Summerset, are going to like this one.