RogerBW's Blog

Connections in Death, J. D. Robb 27 February 2019

2019 SF/mystery; fifty-ninth (roughly, or 48th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Lyle had cleaned up and got out of the gang life, and things were starting to look up for him. So when he's found dead of an overdose, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is already suspicious.

After an opening act at a party full of Dallas's friends, this book is mostly about gritty street life, with gang living and politics to the fore. It never quite convinces; there are few people less "street" than I, but somehow this depiction doesn't ring true either for the present day or for this future, especially when it turns out to be trivially easy for the police to stage a raid and arrest everyone in the gang that's become the centre of attention.

The real problem is that while there's some slight sophistication to the criminal plot it's never particularly challenging for Dallas to solve: most of the evidence only admits of one interpretation, and the progression is a straightforward one. Yes, all right, not every homicide case can be about a scheming and twisted killer who's a challenge to catch, but there's a dreariness to the story here that Robb clearly finds it hard to overcome.

Some of the series regulars turn up, but it's mostly Dallas and Peabody with some Roarke; this doesn't feel like a case which demands Dallas's network of experts and allies.

If this had been my first book in the series I would have wondered what all the fuss was about. It's engagingly written but the reader is given no particular reason to care about the characters. On the other hand, while there isn't a big "number 48" on the cover, I suspect most people reading this will already be fans of the series, and that can tide one over the occasional slightly weak spot. To be followed by Vendetta in Death.

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Previous in series: Leverage in Death | Series: In Death

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