Reviews by L. J. Roberts

J. D. ROBB (aka NORA ROBERTS) – Fantasy in Death. Putnam, hardcover, February 2010. Reprint paperback: Berkley, July 2010.

Genre:   Police procedural. Leading character:   Det. Eve Dallas, 37th in series. Setting:   New York City–Future/2060.

J. D. ROBB Fantasy in Death

First Sentence:   While swords of lightning slashed and stabbed murderously across the scarred shield of sky, Bart Minnock whistled his way home for the last time.

   U-Play is a fast-rising gaming company with a quartet of co-owners. One of them takes the disk home for a game in development, and literally loses his head over it. Lt. Eve Dallas is faced with a locked-room mystery where she and her team have to find out not only who did it, but how it was done.

    Reading J. D. Robb has always been one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy her voice and her humor. Only Robb can write a conversation about private parts that is neither silly, salacious or scatological, but is laugh-out-loud funny.

   She has such a wonderful ear for dialogue and banter. I appreciate her references to books, literature, television and movies, including a delightful homage to ďThe Godfather.Ē

   She also does a very good creating life in 2060; the not-too-distant future. Itís a tricky balance of making it seem possible but not fantastical. “Itís always fiction until science catches up.Ē

   The focus of this book is relationships; friends, partners, lovers. It is nice watching Eve develop emotionally with each book and the sexual relationship with Roark, while still there, be less prominent. The usual supporting relationships were all there in a more cameo role than in the past, but they contributed to the theme.

   Where the book fell apart a bit, for me, was the plot. It started off really well as a locked-room mystery. There were viable suspects and some good red herrings. However, because of the type of crime, it didnít quite make sense that Eve was the one who came up with the solution; the logic, perhaps, but not the technicality.

   The final climatic scene seemed abrupt and over the top. I did enjoy the book, do still enjoy the series and know Iíll continue reading it, but would like to see Robb/Roberts change it up a bit.

Rating: Good.

Editorial Comment:   Can there already really be 37 in this series? The first one was Naked in Death, which came out in 1995 as a paperback original from Berkley. That’s well over two books a year ever since.

   But when I went to look the series up online, I found that while the Fantastic Fiction website agrees that Fantasy in Death is #37 in the series, it appears that a few of the 37 were only long novelettes that appeared in collections with other authors. Looking further on the same page, though, I see that some of these have been published individually as novellas under the J. D. Robb byline, so I’m assuming the number is at least semi-legitimate and to let it stand.