Indulgence in Death (Book 31, In Death Series)
by J.D. Robb
Release Date: November 2, 2010
2010 G.P. Putnam Books
Hardcover Edition; 384 Pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Lt. Eve Dallas of the New York Police and Security Department returns home from a long overdue Irish vacation to a string of bizarre murders. The crossbow killing of chauffeur Jamal Houston in his limo in a La Guardia parking lot is followed by the death of high-rent prostitute Ava Crampton, found at Coney Island's House of Horrors stabbed with a bayonet. Other victims include Luc Delaflote, a celebrity chef who's harpooned, and Adrianne Jonas, "a facilitator for the rich" strangled with a handmade bullwhip. Eve, assisted by her trustworthy sidekicks, Det. Delia Peabody and husband Roarke, uncovers a wicked game that grows increasingly macabre.
When I first started reading this book, I thought J.D. Robb had returned to the writing style of the earlier books of this series and I really enjoyed the set-up and interaction between Eve and Roarke and Roarke's Irish family. Eve and Roarke were in Ireland taking a much-needed holiday and it was fun seeing Eve out of her element in the countryside attempting to deal with nature and countryside and animals. There was a softer side to the book which had been present in the earlier books in the series where we first met Eve and Roarke as they dealt with their horrible childhoods and fell in love. Even the presence of a murder in Ireland did not really take away from the softer side of the story, and I was enthralled, enjoying the novel as well as the interesting plot and character developments. Unfortunately, that 'aura' to the book did not stay when Eve and Roarke returned to New York and I was not really immersed in the novel from that point on.
Don't get me wrong as I enjoyed the novel and I enjoyed reading how Eve and Roarke and Peabody and the various other characters worked together to solve the mystery and the crimes as it was interesting, but there was something lacking in the plot and in the character development whereby I was not as immersed as I was in the earlier novels in this series. I felt like Ms. Robb was perhaps trying too hard looking for a good story and trying too hard to make it really interesting and it showed. I have always been interested in the development of Eve and Roarke's relationship and how she 'softened' over the years, yet except for the wonderful beginning to the novel, I really didn't feel that connectedness between she and Roarke that I felt in the earlier novels which was a shame.
I was a little disappointed in the type of villain in this novel as well. In the past, her villains have always been so interesting and full of character, with many reasons as to why they did the crime. I really felt let down in this novel with these villains, particularly as I know how well-written her villains have been in the past. Maybe I was expecting too much, but there was little anticipation and little climax in this novel and I felt somewhat let-down towards the end. Knowing how good many of her previous novels in this series have been however, I am definitely not ready to give up on this series quite yet, but would like to see a return to a more complicated villain with more justifiable reasons for doing what they are doing.
As usual, one of the strengths of the book is always the witty and interesting dialogue between the characters. There were some funny and comical moments between the characters that did have me laughing out loud, and I particularly enjoyed the rooster scene at the beginning of the novel. Seeing the serious Eve acting it up is always a treat and I always enjoy those moments when she comes out of shell and does something completely unexpected; it definitely keeps things interesting.
While Indulgence in Death is not my favourite novel of the series, I am definitely not quite ready to give up on this series as of yet. I would like to see more of the personal sides to Eve and Roarke which would make it more interesting than the formulaic writing that has already been done to death (sorry for the pun, it was unintentional!).