Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Innocent in Death

Innocent in Death is J. D. Robb’s version of the bad seed. Remember, The Bad Seed? A movie originally from the 50’s which was pretty controversial in its time because the movie was about a little girl who was a murderer. In the very last scene in the movie—after she’d gotten away with murdering several people, including her mother, lightening came out of the sky and struck her dead. It was a shocking topic—child killers not being something that people in the 50’s were familiar with at all. In subsequent versions of the film, they took out the lightening strike at the end and just had the little girl getting away with it. I’m not sure how that was “better” than having God dispense the ultimate justice but, there you go---Hollywood has skewed sensibilities.

But I digress, (what else is new, right?) in this latest story—Eve is called to a school where a nice, young enthusiastic teacher has suddenly and unexplainably died. She quickly discerns that he has been poisoned with ricin. As one might expect, given the extremely ordinary nature of the victim, motive is tricky to figure out. Soon, another murder takes place at the school, and well, it gets very complicated. Suffice to say—Teacher A shouldn’t have given little sociopath Rayleen an A- on her project.

The big secondary story line of the book is the reappearance of a former love of Roarke’s. Eve immediately senses that this chick is different. She handles it all wrong—focusing on the possibility that this woman will tempt Roarke back into crime rather than admitting that she's afraid that Roarke will compare the two of them and regret marrying Eve. The conflict between them ebbs and flows through the book and wrecks Eve’s concentration and her ability to eat. She is one emotional ball o’angst.

Highlights of the book—Nadine’s new show “Now” debuts with Eve as the first interview. Summerset and Eve are definitely on the same page regarding the evil blast from the past. Eve has heart-to- hearts with Mira and new mother Mavis which are very tender. The final scene where Roarke’s eyes have been opened to how his former lover has hurt Eve and tried to hurt their relationship is pretty satisfying since he unleashes the “wrath of Roarke”. Love that phrase.

Lowlights of the book—um…uh….well, I guess if one feels the need to be really nit-picky they did spend a long time on a murder that was not necessarily high profile. Of course, having Eve investigate an ordinary murder makes a nice change but---well—I might have mentioned this before, but one at a time? Nobody else in homicide is just carrying one case at a time. When the series started Eve didn’t either. I mean, is she the equivalent to Brenda in The Closer (love love LOVE that show)? Because if she is, then, she should only be assigned high profile cases. Is she the equivalent to Eames and Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent? Because if she is, then, she should only be assigned high profile cases. THEN, it would be okay that she only carries one case at a time. Otherwise she really needs to be juggling more cases. And while I’m on this riff—what’s with never taking a day off or ending shift on time? Peabody is working the same hours as Eve and who’s approving all this overtime? Even if Eve can afford to give up the $, Peabody can’t. What about those pesky details of life? Laundry, groceries, cleaning the house—Eve has somebody to do all that for her now. Peabody doesn’t. Even access to real coffee and occasional good breakfasts doesn’t make it all roses being the partner of a workaholic.

Still—even the lowlights are minor compared to the pleasure of reading a series of books that extends into the dozens of volumes and is filled with a cast of characters I adore and enjoy spending time with whenever I open a book. I’m going to have some serious book withdrawal when I hit the last in the series so far. I give this book four and a half stars out of five. ;O)

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