Thankless In Death by J.D. Robb

January 24, 2014 Reviews, Romantic Suspense 4

A badge, baseball bat and wine glass take up the lower quarter of the page with the rest given over to author name and titleA badge, baseball bat and wine glass take up the lower quarter of the page with the rest given over to author name and  titleWhile many have given up on the In Death series I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. They’re a comfort read – the book equivalent of flipping to a favorite syndicated show and hoping for an episode you haven’t seen. I read In Death books to spend time in Eve’s world and check in with favorite characters. I’ve always appreciated how the series keeps it focus on the dead and the detectives, rarely lingering over the crimes themselves. Thankless In Death breaks this unspoken promise.

The killer here is a far more familiar figure than Eve has been dealing with lately. No clone plots, no multi generational vendetta. Eve’s chasing an angry Nice Guy while he murders everyone who failed to appreciate him. We spend far too much time in Nice Guy’s head. When Eve stands and pictures the crime scene, we already know what happened. There’s no revelation in her thoughts, only reruns for the reader. There’s no mystery, the killer and his motivation were shown up front. I spent far more time with the murderer than I wanted to. His contemplation of innovative torture techniques was the opposite of comfort reading.

Eve was unsatisfying as well. Thankless In Death finds Eve stagnant. She has cast aside career ambition, feeling that she is best suited for the rank and role she plays. This limits her character. An Eve who looks at the murder, bangs her husband, reflects on murdering her dad and then locks the bad guy up is a disposable Eve. Expanding Eve’s world, increasing her personal responsibilities, these are the elements that have sustained In Death through a shocking number of installments. Eve has become a media figure in her own right, Rourke’s Cop. She’s grown complacent with that status. She has universal and abundant praise from those around her. No longer fighting for worth, Eve has earned it through her actions and connections. What’s left for Eve (and the reader) to explore? With a new In Death right around the corner I’ll give the series another installment. If Eve isn’t interested in moving on, I might have to do it for both of us.

Final Assessment: Robb dials up the murder for an ultimately unsatisfying C read.

Series: Book umpteen million for In Death. You can jump in anywhere.

Source: Library

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Meoskop's first non-compulsory book review was in 1973. Although a hit with the 3rd grade, concerns raised by the administration necessitated an extended hiatus. Reviews resumed in 1985 but the concerns are ongoing.

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4 Responses to “Thankless In Death by J.D. Robb”

  1. Tina

    I actually liked this one more a few weeks after I read it than I did while I was reading it. My biggest problem with it was that I hated being in the criminal’s head so much because he was really tiresome. But in the end I appreciated what Robb did with him on the whole.

    Eve has always been up against these smart master criminal types whom she manages to catch after out-thinking and out-smarting them. In this one, Jerry is just dumb and he only manages to elude Eve through sheer, blind luck. Even as Eve begins her usual deductive process, we know (because we have so much more information than she does) that her usual SOP just won’t work with this guy. It ratchets up the frustration level which I think was intentional.

    It isn’t until Eve gets a piece of her own dumb luck that she gets the guy. One of the things that I’ve always thought was very smart of Robb about this series is how she tries to change things up in tone and structure from book to book. The way she created Jerry was is a bit of a departure from Eve’s regular adversaries and it proved to be another method of changing up the meat of the story while still keeping the bones of a solid police procedural.

    So yeah, a so-so installment. But even so, I haven’t gotten even close to the point in this series where I am tired of it. Amazing actually given how many books there are.

  2. Meoskop

    Agree in changing it up – I rarely finish series because I get tired of the rehashing / standard elements. Roberts has really been smart with the series, both the slow pace of Eve’s life and pulling back from supervillian adversaries. I am still ready for something to shake it up – I think Eve is in danger of sainthood.

  3. Ann

    I don’t know why I keep reading her books. I usually end up buying it when there is nothing left to buy at the grocery store. I too get tired of the rehash, and the murderer in this one is pretty grusome. If all of us could predict who he was going to go after, why couldn’t Eve do anything about it? Annoying. I’m sure this ends well, but I always give up on these books before I get to the end.