3.5 stars out of 5
It's a case of star-crossed lovers (think Romeo and Juliet) with a bent for murder (add a touch of Bonnie and Clyde). That's who Manhattan police Lt. Eve Dallas and her crew are chasing here. It begins when a victim turns up in an alley, the body so mangled that Eve nearly misses the heart with two initials - E and D - carved into the victim's skin. That leads the team to believe this might not be the first victim, and sure enough, further investigation turns up a string of bodies from Arkansas to New York and the possibility of a pair of serial torturer/killers who most likely have no plans to stop any time soon.
Then a couple more missing persons come to light in Manhattan, and it becomes a race to identify the killers and catch them before they get away with two more. But even by putting to use all the technology they have at hand - notably more in the year 2061, when this book is set, than today - it's still a race to the finish.
All in all, it's an exciting ride as usual, but somehow, this one fell a bit short of my expectations (because half-stars aren't possible here, I rounded up my actual rating of 3.5 stars to four only because it's better than rounding down to three). Why? It sounds simplistic to say the book is a bit lackluster compared with the others - the plot, after all, is interesting and moves along just as a police procedural should.
But somehow, the whole thing felt a little flat, starting with Eve's super-rich, super technology talented and impossibly handsome Irish husband, Roarke, who anticipates, and caters, to her every need even before she knows she needs it. He is, in fact, near the top of my 10 all-time favorite "heroes" in mystery/thrillers. But here, his usually helpful concerns almost seemed forced, as if he was more intent on imposing his own opinion on his wife than trying to support her. It's a thin line and maybe it's just my imagination, but if he didn't cross it here, he came way too close for my comfort.
Besides that, none of the other characters seemed to be as feisty (for want of a better word) than in previous books. The only real bright spot was a cop from a backwoods town where the murder spree began who suspected foul play and didn't stop till he got to New York and convinced Eve that his hunches were on target.
All things considered, while I enjoyed reading this book, it's not the best in the series. That said, I'll be ready and waiting for the next one, if for no other reason than I've still gotta love Eve. When asked for her "take" on opera, for instance, she responds, "You can't understand anything anybody's saying, then they all die."
Yep, my kind of woman.
Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb (G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 2015); 384 pp.