Bibliophile reviews Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb

Series detective: Eve Dallas
No. in series: 8
Year of publication: 1999
Type of mystery: Murder, whodunnit, police procedural, futuristic mystery thriller
Type of investigator: Police
Setting & time: New York, USA, 2059

This is the third book I finish for the From the Stacks challenge. Upcoming is a review of My Journey to Lhasa.

When I first heard of the In Death series I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. The review I read emphasised that in order to enjoy the books fully, it was important to read them in the order of publication, so I got the first book from the library, read it in one sitting and got hooked. After reading several books, I decided that while it was indeed best to read them in order, they could be read out of order, but only if one was reading them for the mystery plots and not for character development and relationship dynamics. I continued reading them until I finished book seven, and then I got reader's block. Conspiracy… had been on my night table for more than a year when I decided to participate in the From the Stacks reading challenge, so it was a logical choice.

Story: When Eve Dallas reprimands a lower ranking police officer on the scene of a gruesome and mysterious murder, she has no inclination that it is the beginning of events that will eventually lead to her career as a police officer being severely threatened. The case she is working on involves the mysterious murders of homeless people and the removal of diseased organs from their bodies. Eve and her colleagues come to the conclusion that the murderer is probably a doctor who is conducting illegal experiments, but finding out who it is proves to both difficult and dangerous and Eve has to use all her experience and resources (including her husband's connections and computer savvy) to catch the killer.

Review: This is another thrilling installation in the In Death series that takes Eve right to the edge when first her spotless reputation is threatened and then her job. As in the previous books, the personal interactions and relationships of the characters are mixed up with the mystery plot, making it possible to read the book both as an individual mystery thriller and part of a continuing story about people who happen to investigate murders both as a sport (Roarke) and for a living (Eve and her colleagues). The futuristic aspects are incidental to the plot, and even people who cordially hate science fiction should be able to enjoy the story.

While I have at times complained about too many sex scenes in the In Death books when recommending them to others, in this case it was interesting to see how Robb uses sex to express the moods of Eve and Roarke and various nuances of their relationship and how they, and especially Eve, use physical action (fighting as well as sex) to relieve their emotions. That said, there are still too many sex scenes in the book. Most romances don't even have that many, but fortunately they are short, generally 2 pages or less and there is no purple prose.

The murder mystery is baffling and gruesome at times, and while there are subtle hints, I for one didn't discover them until after the murderer's identity was revealed.

Rating: Another great installation in the series. 3+ stars.


Maxine said…
I read most of these. I prefer to read books in order so I bought all of them that were published when I first heard about the series (about 15?) and read them all one after the other. I enjoyed the premise but I did find they got a bit samey after a while -- the structure and formula is pretty much the same from book to book and not a lot of character development happens, and the facts about Eve's past are doled out far too slowly in my view. Roberts publishes 2 new ones a year so I'm now about 4 behind. I've got a couple as yet unread in my pile and somehow they never quite make it to the top...
Bibliophile said…
When I read about 10 Cat Who books one after the other and then the first 6 or so Anita Blake books I realised that glomming series is often not a good idea. You begin to see the patterns and formulas the author uses and even quite good series books can seem repetitive and too similar to the previous offerings when read too soon after several other books in the same series. This is why I now try to stop myself after I have read 2-3 back to back and go read something else to cleanse my reading palate. Two months is usually enough time to let pass until I have sufficiently forgotten the structure of a book (unless it is a very good book).

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