Book Critique: Secrets In Death (In Death # 45)

For review of all books in the In Death series, go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Contrary to her usual race against time plots, this was Robb's much slower paced, yet with police procedure depicted close to reality. I found it gripping, entertaining and at the same time intriguing; touching all senses of human mind despite the gruesome crime.

Secrets in Death is forty fifth book in the long running In Death Series by J. D. Robb, the alter ego of the famous American romance novelist Nora Roberts, first published in September of 2017. The plot takes us through another case by Lieutenant Eve Dallas that practically lands in her lap - the murder of gossip reporter Larinda Mars. However, little does Eve realize that while treading the past of Larinda Mars she might find hidden doors and secret pockets that she might want closed forever and never revealed.

The stories in the In Death Series are set in mid-21st century New York City, New York in United States, featuring NYPSD (New York Police and Security Department) Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke, CEO of Roarke Industries, and one of the richest man in the world. First started in 1995, as of February 2022, 54 books have been written in this series. The first book begins in the year 2058 and showcases that technology completely dominates the world, yet Robb has her main character still believe in human impulses and emotions that are key to solving every single case she comes across. Along with the cases, Robb traverses through the lives of Eve, Roarke and anyone connected to them giving us millions of sub-plots.

Nora Roberts was the first author that I ever read when I moved to America 20 years ago. I have pretty much read all the books she has written under her original name, and even own them. However, I had never read any books in her In Death Series that she wrote under her pseudonym J. D. Robb. I did read Hot Rocks, the first book in a two part cross-over with In Death series, released in 2010.

Since then I have been thinking of reading her books in this series but other authors piqued my interest and this fell on back burner. Finally I picked the book # 45 in the series to start with. Eventually I might go back and begin the series all over again, which I normally do if I like a book (and I loved this book a lot) in a series. For not, here are my thoughts about Secrets In Death book.

The series is set in futuristic time. And when Robb started the series in 1995, she had begun it with the year 2058; a good 63 years ahead. However now we are in 2021; and the 45th book is set in 2061 (only 3 years since the first book is set), but 26 years apart in real-life. So perhaps we will be pretty soon living the future that Robb has been enticing the readers with her books in this series. 

The plot-line and the series in general reminded me of the American science fiction television series Fringe, that began in September of 2008 and concluded in January of 2013. It is not set in future, but it shows parallel worlds living simultaneously giving us glimpses of things that are not part of this world, making it look like a futuristic world for the viewers. Also the amalgamation of fantasy with crime procedures in the tv show are pretty close to what Robb had created with this series.

The characterization of Eve Dallas reminds me so much of Ziva David, a Mossad Liaison Officer for NCIS and later becomes an NCIS agent, in the long running American police procedural television series NCIS. Ziva was portrayed by Cote de Pablo. The way Eve always gets surprised and baffled at things that are normal to others; or the way she mis-quotes or calls things incorrectly and people around her correct her, reminds me so much of Ziva. 

Robb introduces us to some concepts and technology that may have been unimaginable in 1995, but in 2021 most are happening now, with a few that she shows might happen pretty soon. Check the Spoiler Alerts below for some of them that I identified and grouped them.

Robb gives users a treat in the book. Exclusive "In Death" puzzles are printed behind the book jacket, all clues centering on the books in the series.

After reading the book, I am thinking how come I have not picked this series before. **Smacking my head**. Although Robb's In Death series books mostly are plots that race against time, this was a much slower paced, yet with police procedure depicted close to reality. I found it gripping, entertaining and at the same time intriguing; touching all senses of human mind despite the gruesome crime.

A thrilling ride for sure, that I hope will not end soon. Now I am off to pick the very first book from the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Roarke owns pretty much everything in NYC. His high-end club/bar in this book is named Du Vin. He also owns vineyards.

b. Detective Peabody & her partner & lover Detective Ian McNab head off to Mexico for a much needed vacation. 

c. Advanced technology and concepts for the time the book is set in (2058): Instead of Phone Call you get tagged using a 'Link; Menu in a restaurant is displayed on a screen on the wall panel of the booth (much like accessing menu via a bar code now - contactless service); Droids, robots, living & working side-by-side humans; Recorder, a device attached to every law enforcement personnel to record crime scenes (similar to bodycams that we have now); Vid used instead of Videos and Films; Seal-It, a product to coat hands and feet like gloves and coveralls to reduce contamination of a scene; Identi-pad, an identification device; PPC - portable personal computer like laptops and touchpads; Soda comes in tubes instead of cans; Lip Stick is called as Lip Gunk or Lip Dye; Furniture made of some kind of gel; Voice-Command electronics and devices; AutoChef, like a vending machine that makes fresh food on order; Coffee dispensers in the cars; Birth records called as Records of Origin; Very advanced technology in surgery, reconstruction of body parts; Airboots that make you run on air; Video calls via Hologram; Revised Miranda Rights (I wonder what they would be!); Glide, for traveling from floor to floor in a building or across the floor.

2. Sub Plots:

a. Law Enforcement and extended departments: Commander Whitney; Dr. Garnet DeWinter, forensic anthropologist; Dr. Li Morris, medical examiner; Detective Delia Peabody & her partner EDD Detective Ian McNab; Kyung, media liaison; Detective Baxter & his partner Detective Trueheart; Captain Feeney, head of Electronic Detectives Division (EDD) & Eve's ex-partner; Detective Santiago & his partner Detective Carmichael; Dr. Elsie Kendrick, works with Garnet; Detectives Jenkinson & Reineke; 

b. Close friends and family of Eve and Roarke: Nadine Furst, crime-beat reporter; Mavis & her husband Leonardo Freestone with a daughter Bella; Lawrence Summerset, butler, valet and all encompassing gentleman's gentleman to Roarke; Marlena, Summeset's biological daughter; Ivanna; Galahad, their cat; Trina, Nadine's make-up artist & Mavis' friend; Mira, psychologist, & her husband Dennis; 

c. Other characters frequently appear: Caro, Roarke's personal assistant; 

d. Garnet has a daughter Miranda; shows interest in Morris.

e. Peabody & McNab are lovers.

f. Nadine is looking for an admin; Eve has someone in her mind. A past character surfaces perhaps!

g. Several scenes, I suspect, are plots from past books. Such as:

i. Garnet & her daughter invited by Mavis & Leonardo to Bella's birthday party. In the same plot, an incident involved an officer getting injured, who is on medical leave as of this book.

ii. Li Morris' story about his dead wife Amaryllis; he is still grieving.

iii. Nadine wrote a book on Eve and the Icoves, titled The Icove Agenda.

iv. C.J. Morse & the murders committed by him three years ago are mentioned multiple times; Nadine was almost killed by Morse.

v. Eve had gone after corrupt cops in a prior plot.

vi. A rape case caught by her detectives and a witness statement for her current case, shows Eve thinking of her past that was so similar to these cases. Perhaps the initial books covered that.

vii. Dr. Elise Kendrick was involved in a case at The Sanctuary regarding unidentified girls.

viii. A period called Urbans is referenced frequently when city landscapes are discussed.

ix. Roarke's past with his father and his killing surfaces in this plot and is explained clearly again. His past with his Magdalena, his ex, is briefly mentioned, but there seems to be volumes of stories hidden in that. Magdalena also is mentioned to have arrived in Port-au-Prince a few days ago, trying to get into one of Roarke's hotel. So more story around her?

3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 335, Line 22, shouldn’t it be "I'm riding high"?


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