Book Review – Devoted in Death

Title: Devoted in Death

Author: J.D. Robb

Format: E-book

Year Published: 2015

As I believe I’ve established before, I have a fondness for Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb in her In Death series. Not exactly high literature, sometimes they have awesome plot twists, and they’re always a quick, easy read.

Devoted is the newest offering in the world. Unfortunately, there are several routes that the mystery can take, and this book takes my least favorite form – the one where we learn who the murderer is right off the bat and then it’s just a matter of our stalwart heroes figuring it out and then catching them. I much prefer to be able to try to solve the mystery by the clues presented (which is why my second-favorite mystery style that comes up in this series – the “Eve has a hunch who it is but won’t tell anybody who or why and we don’t get enough details to figure it out ourselves” thing – drives me crazy).

The murderers in this are subtly different enough from Robbs’ other murderers that it didn’t feel like  a rehash of an old plot, and there was less of the Check-list Of Things To Be Included (Mavis is mentioned, Feeney makes a small appearance, but no Trina/Nadine/Eve’s past focus).

The story starts with the murderers’ first kill – by accident, but it sparks something in them. Then they make their way to NYC and onto the radar of Eve Dallas. Their first kill was a young cellist, and I almost prefer the stories where the victim has nobody to care about him, since watching lives be shattered by the news is a gut punch. (Strangely, I get less of this in cop shows – maybe because we usually pick up in the middle of an interview.)

Fortunately, it doesn’t take Dallas long to pick up that this kill isn’t the first, and soon begins to trace the path back to where it started. As the kills cross state-lines, the FBI is involved, but they’re only barely on-screen, mostly preferring to follow their own line of investigation (which is, as usual, proven wrong. This is one of the quibbles I have with Dallas – she’s really good at her job, and rarely, if ever, is she wrong about who the murderer is, and if she’s in disagreement with another agency, she’s ALWAYS right. Let her be wrong, once in a while! Fortunately, she’s really bad at personal relationships, so she’s a bit more of a balanced character than she appears.)

Helped out by a small-town deputy, Dallas and her crew manage to track down the murderers and rescue the two people that they took. Like most of the secondary victims, I was rooting for them and was grateful that they survived (barely, in one case). (Unlike in Thankless in Death, where the secondary victim I wanted to live didn’t and the one I didn’t have strong feelings about did.)

As a side note, the more I read her work, the more I am convinced that Robb has a deep geek side. She sneaks a Pratchett reference into this book (at which I squeaked. Loudly), did an excellent job of showing the geeky world with Fantasy In Death, and when Mal met Kaylee in one of her romance novels I nearly died laughing.

Overall, while not one of my favorites, the more unusual plot and lack of filler puts this a solid 3/5 pages.

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