March 3, 2011

Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb

Treachery in Death

J.D. Robb

Futuristic Romantic Suspense

Grade: B

Detective Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, are following up on a senseless crime-an elderly grocery owner killed by three stoned punks for nothing more than kicks and snacks. This is Peabody's first case as primary detective-good thing she learned from the master.

But Peabody soon stumbles upon a trickier situation. After a hard workout, she's all alone in the locker room when the gym door clatters open; and-while hiding inside a shower stall trying not to make a sound-she overhears two fellow officers, Garnet and Oberman, arguing. It doesn't take long to realize they're both crooked-guilty not just of corruption but of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve's husband, Roarke, are trying to get the hard evidence they need to bring the dirty cops down-knowing all the while that the two are willing to kill to keep their secret.

I've been tepid in my response to the most recent In Death releases, so I approached Treachery in Death with some trepidation. If I didn't like it a great deal, I planned to go on a semi-permanent J.D. Robb hiatus. Thank god I won't have to do that. If not for two flaws—I found it overly long and wished for another love scene—this one would have earned an even higher grade.

Although Treachery in Death is primarily a procedurally oriented book, Robb still serves up plenty of great personal interplay between Eve Dallas and her NYPSD cohorts. Peabody's relationship with Eve moves to a new level. The unmotherly Eve is like a mama bird in this book; she's pushing Peabody out of the nest knowing she's ready to fly. And Peabody, around whom this corruption plot circles, flies high and strong.

Robb didn't write enough physical intimacy between Eve and Roarke this time around, but their love and care for each other remains palpable. I particularly enjoyed their banter about Eve owing Roarke sexual favors as a result of his "consultant" work for her in this instance. He ups the ante each time she wants him to do more and do it faster; by the end of the story costumes are involved. Whenever she second-guesses him on the case, he becomes more and more "insulted" by her lack of confidence. It's all in great fun, and helps lighten the tone.

Even better than their banter, though, is how Roarke, a former criminal, totally "gets" Eve. She tells him that "at the end of the day, you're what fixes me up." It's a beautiful moment, particularly in context as Eve reflects upon her relationship to her squad and compares it to the corrupt relationship she uncovers between another lieutenant and her men. My all-time favorite moment of the book actually comes when one of her men, and not Baxter or Truehart or anyone who's gotten much (if any) screen time, takes down one of the corrupt cops:

"Drop the fucking weapon, you fucking motherfucker, or I'll fucking scramble your fucking brains. Hands up! Hands where I can fucking see them, you fucking cocksucker. You fucking breathe wrong, you fucking blink wrong, and I will fuck you up."

"On your fucking face, you fucking shit coward. Stream my lieutenant in the fucking back? Fuck you..."

"I seem to have misjudged my step, Lieutenant, and stepped on one of this motherfucker's fingers. I believe it's broken."

That's not a spoiler, btw, as in every book in this series there's a moment when Eve puts herself in the line of fire. And it all comes together at the very end, during that moment of reflection for Eve, and brings it back to Peabody too; Eve allows her squad to fly high, gives them the respect they deserve, expects the best, and they're glad to give it to her. Eve may not have family in the traditional sense—outside of Roarke—but her squad is her family, unconventional though it may be, and Eve, whether she likes it or not, is their mama bird. By the end of Treachery in Death, I believe she actually begins to like that fact.



Anonymous said...

Janet W: Well thank you Laurie: you wrote the review I would have wanted to write. Yes yes yes -- maybe I would even have given it a B+. One small detail -- I wanted a glimpse at corruption in IAB & the judiciary -- and I wanted an idea of those costumes Roarke was going to have specially designed. Wonder what kind of futuristic store that would be. And weren't you envious of the washing machine contraption that folds clothes. Whaaaa :)

Laurie Gold said...

Thanks, Janet. Had it been slightly shorter, I'd have graded it B+. And, yes...the clothes folder would be a great addition to my laundry room.