If you have followed my Sunday Book Club posts, then it’s not news to you that I’m super sick of JD Robb’s (which is the pen name of Nora Roberts) “In Death” books but it’s obvious that I just can’t stop myself from reading them. Every book has the same style of writing with pretty much the same plot, and I swear she, or her ghost writer, just lifts sections from other books in the series to fill up the empty pages. But I guess I am not quite sane so I just keep on reading these books despite knowing exactly what is going to happen.
Echoes in Death is the latest book – 44th in the “In Death” series. As this was just recently published, it costs US$12.99 on Kindle. The price usually goes down after a couple of months, so if you’re planning to buy this, just hold off for a few months. Thankfully, I have friends who are crazy like me and still reading this series, so I just borrowed it at no cost. I can’t bring myself to pay so much money on these books.
**This part of the review consist of Spoilers
I’ll skip some introductions, because it’s repeated in every single book. In this book, NYPD Lieutenant Eve Dallas was on her way home with her super wealthy husband Roarke when a young woman Daphne suddenly stumbles out in front of the car, totally naked and in a daze. It turns out that she and her husband Anthony, a very well-known orthopedic surgeon, were attacked; her husband is dead, while she was brutally abused and raped.
Eve and her sidekick Peabody learn that the attacker was dressed like a devil, and attacked them in their own house after a dinner party held at home. Eve and her team question the guests and caterers, but those interviews didn’t lead to anywhere, except that Anthony was a control freak and an asshole, who browbeats Daphne into submission. They find out that she have been abused both emotionally and physically by her now-deceased husband, as well as forced to break ties with her family. Tish, Daphne’s sister, finds out that Daphne has been attacked and runs down immediately to be by her side.
They discover that there are other couples who were also attacked by someone similarly dressed up as some kind of devil, except that noone was killed previously – all the victims’ wives were raped, and their personal items, both valuables and non-valuables, were stolen, but the victims were released afterwards. It appears that the killer is escalating; now that he has killed someone, he may strike again – and this time, he may not release anyone.
As they look closer at the victims, they deduce that the killer is a guy who has some older-female-figure-that-he-wants-but-can’t-have issue who attacks gorgeous women. Eve has a gut feeling that it’s Kyle, cousin of Neville who was a victim along with his wife Rosa. When they raid Kyle’s house, they find everything that was stolen from the victims – it turns out that Eve’s gut was right. Neville had liked and wanted Rosa, but she never gave him a second look, just like Neville’s mother that Kyle had once hit on.
I would say that this is not her worst “In Death” book, and definitely better than the 43rd book “Apprentice in Death” which was a hot mess. It is marginally better than the 42nd book “Brotherhood in Death” because they cut down the whole part about how Eve was raped by her father as a child and how it still haunts her (every time there’s rape involved, it will be followed by pages and pages of this). There’s still a lot of it, but considering how much they usually load it on, and there’s so much rape involved in this book which is fertile ground for them to harp over it, this is a great improvement. I’m also thankful that they skipped the Roarke-and-Eve-big-fight-followed-by-hot-sex routine in this book.
The plot is as usual half-assed. I knew who the killer was about 3 chapters in, and I am not trying to boast about my detective skills. The plot must have been recycled from previous books – typical sexual predator guy with a mummy issue (or similar) thus rapes others as a substitute. But I’m slightly appreciative of the final tiny twist, because it rarely happens with this series. There is also more on the topic of “Family”, which is actually done quite well in this book and I really liked Tish (Daphne’s sister). Roarke doesn’t sound like a jobless retard like he usually does (with his stupid fights with Eve, the words he says during sex, oh-so-in-love actions towards Eve, feed Eve like she is a retard, etc.) – he sounds a little more like the rich rogue-turned-businessman that he’s supposed to be.
All in all, I would say this is definitely not one of those books that would ever win a literary award and is far from a good detective book, but there is enough to suck you in if you have ever started reading the series. To be honest, this was such a big improvement, that I pondered if JD Robb actually improved after 44 books or if she used a different ghost writer. You can read my previous reviews on Apprentice in Death here, and Brotherhood in Death here. If you have never read any in the series, I would definitely suggest that you don’t because I don’t want to see another person be like me, sucked-in to a soulless series.