Saturday, February 14, 2009

Memory in Death

Memory in Death by J. D. Robb is the twenty-second full length novel in the series. It continues the story of Eve and Roarke and we learn additional information about Eve’s history and what happened after Dallas. It is a Christmas time novel—and for once, we get to actually experience the holiday. If you will remember, last year’s Christmas story ended with Peabody’s attack by the Santa serial killer on Christmas Eve.

After Dallas, Eve went into the Child Protective Services system. She was placed in foster care with a woman named Trudy Lombard. Trudy shows up in New York in the wake of all the media coverage of the Icove case with the intention of blackmailing Eve and Roarke. Apparently, Trudy was an abusive nutcase with a bent against abused girls—she pretty much made Eve’s life a misery until she ran away.

Trudy shows up unannounced at the police station cooing love and “I’m your mama”. Eve doesn’t handle the first encounter with Trudy too well. It pretty much sends her into a familiar emotional meltdown. She races for home in a state of completely wierded-outness. She doesn’t connect all the dots right away as a result. Roarke, cynic that he is, recognizes right away that Trudy is looking to cash in on the connection. His encounter with Trudy was satisfying since he pretty much scared her silly before he sent her packing.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. Trudy is subsequently murdered and Eve and Roarke discover the body. Once again, Eve makes herself primary in an investigation in which she has a clear conflict of interest. It is quickly evident that Eve and Roarke couldn’t have killed Trudy since her TOD corresponds to when Eve and Roarke were having their big Christmas bash. Hey—that makes a change—a party where Eve doesn’t have to run out and save someone or interrogate someone or arrest someone. Woohoo! Eve proceeds to then pour department resources into what can only be described as a simple murder. She manages to get approval to have Baxter and Trueheart follow Trudy’s son and wife around New York. She has a rotation of uniforms on protection duty for two people about whom there is no evidence that they are even in any danger of being attacked. All this was with holiday overtime pay, too.

Eventually, our murderer is revealed to be another foster child who was abused by Trudy. A poor unfortunate who ended up a sociopath—there’s a slight implication that this is the result of abuse—but I offer in contradiction the millions of people who’ve been abused who don’t turn into conscience-less killers. Oh, the murderer is also Trudy’s daughter-in-law.

Highlights of the book include: Peabody and McNab have a big fight because they are going to visit McNab’s family in Scotland. Peabody is nervous they won’t like her. All is made better by receiving a Christmas present from Eve and Roarke—private shuttle to Scotland—mag car rental while in Scotland. Their make-up scene is both funny and sweet. Peabody wove a sweater for Eve and Roarke for their gifts. Even Eve appreciated that. Mavis checks in by phone after Christmas and that’s all we see of her but we do learn her baby is due around Valentine’s Day and that Eve and Roarke are going to have to begin taking classes to assist in the birth soon.

The best part of the book--Eve and Roarke actually spend Christmas together and we get to be there too. Remember the last book ended before Thanksgiving so we missed the whole visit from Roarke's family except for one scene. One book even ended right as Eve was walking down the aisle for their wedding--which I'm still aggravated about--holding a grudge here. So trust me when I say--it is unusual in an In Death book to get to enjoy time off with Eve and Roarke.

Memory is a good addition to the list of novels already written in the series. The love story between Eve and Roarke advances. Peabody and McNab's love story advances. Mira and Eve deepen their friendship, and we learn more about Eve's history after Dallas. Best book of the bunch? No. Enjoyable? Yes. I will rate this one with four out of five stars.

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