Monday, January 05, 2009

Betrayal In Death by J. D. Robb

Betrayal in Death by J. D. Robb is the twelfth book in the In Death series. It is a particularly brutal entry as the two murders are presented as they happen and are extremely graphic. My empathy level for the victims was very high. I confess, when re-reading it, I skipped those pages. I just don't need to experience the trauma of the attack from the victim's point of view. I prefer my murders after the fact, with limited detail, and a little distance. Call me a wimp, I'll own it.

The premise of this story is that a professional killer is knocking off people with a connection to Roarke in order to distract him from a huge auction of millions of dollars worth of jewelry and memorabilia being sold by a legendary screen actress. Of course, Eve et. al., don't realize that's the motive for the murders for a good while. Once again our murders have a connection to Roarke. The first murder occurs while Eve and Roarke are at the opening of the display of the goods to be auctioned. Eve is decked to the nines in an evening gown and diamonds. If Eve is dressed up, you can almost guarantee that she's going to be called to a crime scene or end up chasing a criminal. Her outfits frequently do not survive her job--good thing that Roarke's a billionaire. Weirdly, Eve travels to New Jersey in this same outfit to inform the next of kin about the murder. I'm thinking even devastated by my grief I would wonder about it, if the cop delivering the bad news was wearing a couture gown and diamonds sprinkled in her hair.

Have I mentioned lately that I write my book "reviews" in a stream of consciousness kind of way? I'm not pretending to be a professional here--this is just my reaction to the book. The next thing that struck me as hinky; the contract killer, the professional killer is...well, a sociopath. As a result, he can't just kill the victims in a business-like way. He's gotta have a whole serial killer m.o. That's what makes the murders so awful--the torture and other stuff. Now I don't claim to be an expert on killers, but it just seems to me you either kill as a job or as a hobby if you fall into one of those two types of killers. (I can't believe I'm explaining my thinking here...) It seems to me a true contract killer has to be cold and dispassionate and have a get in and get out mentality. You don't want to get caught, right? Also, since it's a business you don't want to be spending anymore time on it than necessary. A job that is done quickly is more profitable than a job that takes more time. Our contract killer does extra stuff which takes longer and increases his risk.
In this offering, McNab and Peabody's relationship hits a speed bump. McNab has reached his tipping point regarding sharing Peabody with Charles. Mavis has a minor walk-on when she helps to identify some make-up and we have the obligatory scene where Trina gives Eve a beauty treatment.

Taken altogether, Betrayal is not my favorite book in the In Death series. That said, I still recommend it as an essential read if you are a Eve and Roarke fan. I rate it a three out of five starts mainly due to the extreme violence.

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