RogerBW's Blog

Thankless in Death, J. D. Robb 17 January 2014

Thankless in Death is the forty-sixth of J. D. Robb's In Death series. It's also, for me, the first disappointment.

There isn't a great deal of series-level development here. Many of the extended cast come back and do their thing, but we don't meet anyone new who seems likely to return, and nor do any relationships seem to go through major changes. Fair enough, that can't happen every time. Sometimes you just concentrate on the main story.

The main story's decent enough: unfortunately it's not a mystery, as we get a frequent villain's-eye perspective and know exactly whodunnit. That's not a complete show-stopper for me, particularly as the police generally aren't far behind, but I do regard it as an error, since it removes the detection element from the plot; there's also a risk of coming over as wallowing in the villain's gruesomeness.

Our protagonists, Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her richest-man-in-the-world husband Roarke, don't seem to have much spark to them here. Even the obligatory sex scenes seem, well, obligatory. There's a bit of promise as Dallas is offered a captaincy (not surprising, given her record) and turns it down to stay in the field, but that's really the only solid element here. The rest, I'm afraid, is strictly for series fans. As with Notorious Nineteen, the ongoing character bits feel as though they could have been composed with a macro: Dallas doesn't want to hear about her underling's love life, the coroner's playing suitable music when doing an autopsy, Dallas is hiding food from the office food thief.

If as I had you've read the first forty-five, you can get through this one on inertia, but I can't see it hooking in very many new readers. I really hope the next one is better; I think Robb has more to say about these characters, but here she's just marking time.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

See also:
Notorious Nineteen, Janet Evanovich


  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 06:27pm on 17 January 2014

    I have the same unaccountable fondness for them as you have. I've even written fanfic!
    http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-14603/vogonguard+Little+Old+Ladies.htm

    I have been skipping the 'obligatory sex scene' for some time: they seem to be mechanical catering to the readers who want the romance issues.

    I don't mind the 'police procedural' nature of the latest one but I've always felt that they were pretty terrible detective stories and even worse SF. Her idea of how quickly mankind could spread to 'off world' colonies is ridiculous and she doesn't think about the implications of the tech she introduces at all.

    But the characters are fun and the dialogue manages to make me turn the page. I wonder though if she has a definite schedule to bring it to an end, which will be (she has announced) with the birth of Dallas and Roarke's first child.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 06:34pm on 17 January 2014

    Yes, the tech projections are a bit strange, and Robb's clearly not an SF writer really; I'm not at all convinced she realises that there's a difference between things in the solar system and things going round other stars. (But neither did Terry Nation in the 1960s, and look where it got him.) I'm reading these books for character first, for decent puzzle second, and this one seemed to lack both.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo-nebula reread humour in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1