RogerBW's Blog

Abandoned in Death, J. D. Robb 29 March 2022

2022 SF/mystery; 54th novel of J. D. Robb's In Death series (SF police procedurals). The woman's body, throat slit, is dumped on a playground bench, neatly dressed and made up but decades out of style. And the note reads Bad Mommy.

I like my police procedurals to have a tight focus: I the reader don't know any more than the investigators do, so the decisions they make have some force and urgency to them. I find that this is diluted by cutaways to a killer's-eye view, or even (as here) a victim's-eye; this book also adds flashbacks to explain the odd history that produced this particular serial murderer.

I don't think I'm asking for another book just like the last book, but I do feel that this particular literary trick weakens the story; with some authors it's also an excuse to revel in showing the suffering of the victims, and at least that isn't going on here. But given that Robb doesn't want to give the secrets away early, a fair bit has to be left out of the cutaways anyway, and I think the book would have worked better without them.

I particularly appreciated that the Significant Things in the Past happened in the early 2000s rather than in the modern day, which is always the easy option when writing in the future and referring to its history.

The usual series regulars do their thing; Harvo gets a bit more time than usual. Eve Dallas is by this point a famous homicide detective, and this feeds into the reactions of the people she interviews, helpfully and otherwise.

For me not a particularly impressive entry in the series, but it gets the job done.

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