Written by JD Robb — The first book published in JD Robb’s In Death series was Naked in Death, published back in 1995. Since then the author – who also writes under the name Nora Robberts – has released two hardcover In Death books per year. She’s also occasional penned stand-alone In Death stories that have appeared in anthologies. The books are firmly crime fiction, detailing the investigations of Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke of the New York City Police and Security Department, but they are set in the mid-21st century. The latest book is Calculated in Death, which carries on from previously reviewed Delusion in Death.
It is a cold November evening in New York City and a woman lies dead at the bottom of the short stairway leading down to what appears to be a lower-level apartment. From the angle of her head, Lieutenant Eve Dallas can tell that her neck has been broken. The woman has no jewellery, no coat, no handbag, briefcase or file bag so instantly the death looks like a mugging gone wrong. When Bradley Whitestone, the man who discovered the body, reveals to police that he owns an empty unit in the apartment block, they decide to go inside and investigate. Blood is found on the tarp in the apartment and when the blood turns out to be that of the victim the case turns into a murder investigation.
There is a host of suspects, and since the victim, Marta Dickenson, worked as an auditor, the first thought is that someone is trying to hide fiddling their books. The suspects include Bradley Whitestone and the rest of his partners from the WIN Group, Sterling Alexander from Alexander and Pope Properties (a company Marta was auditing), Candida Mobsley (a socialite Marta was auditing), and Young-Biden (another company Marta was auditing).
After two more bodies turn up and an attempt is made on the lives of Dallas and her partner, Peabody, the case becomes more complicated. Meanwhile, Judge Yung – who is also the Marta Dickenson’s sister-in-law – is putting pressure on the investigation, and a film premiere is coming up that Dallas and the suspects will be attending. It could prove to be the scene of the killer’s next move, so Dallas is in a race against time to catch them.
This is the second book I have read from the In Death series and I must admit Lieutenant Eve Dallas is growing on me. This novel features more romance than Delusion in Death, which helped to show the main character’s human side. Providing more romance and more of a personal life generates more emotional attachment for the reader. However, at times perhaps the book focused a little too much on Eve and Roarke’s relationship and not enough about the investigation. The plot featured around various companies that the victim was auditing and Roarke lends a helping hand since he knows the industry well. Unfortunately, this means you don’t get to follow the investigation as Eve figures things out since Roarke gives her the key information she needs.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars