Conspiracy in Death

J.D. Robb
1999, Futuristic Romantic Suspense
Berkley, $7.99, 400 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425168131
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Reading a J.D. Robb novel is like visiting with old friends. Each story in the series brings new trials for Eve and Roarke and deeper explorations into their relationship. The reader is allowed to view the ‘happily ever after' and continue the journey with the hero and heroine. This latest installment in the series involves a situation that Eve has never had to face before in her career as a cop.

In 2059, artificial organ implants are common place. They are easier to produce, last longer than the body's own organs and can also be recycled into another person. Rejection is a thing of the distant past. So why then is Eve finding bodies in the slums with their organs surgically removed? These are the unwanted in society, the chem-heads, the licensed companions, the derelicts. Their organs are severely damaged due to their life styles, what could anyone want with old, diseased organs? Only a handful of surgeons in the country could perform the type of operation that was perpetrated on these victims.

Eve's investigation takes her into the highest levels of medicine, politics, and the police force. Those behind the murders have a large stake in the research business and will go to any length to stop Eve's investigation. To compound the difficulty, a jealous subordinate officer files a harassment complaint against Eve that the department is compelled to investigate.

Robb takes us deeper into Eve's psyche and identity with this book. Roarke, as always, stands beside Eve for the journey. He does not take a back seat in this story as he has in some of the past novels. Because of the nature of the plot, Eve must ask Roarke for help in using his ‘special' computer talents to determine the identity of the murderers. This is a change from earlier novels where Eve is continually pushing Roarke's contributions to the background. She also would not have mentally survived the twists and turns of her investigation without Roarke's emotional support. This is true to some extent in the earlier novels, however, their interaction moves into the foreground in this installment. As always, the relationship between them is laced with love and enjoyable for the reader. It's a refreshing change to be able to watch a couple resolve their differences and face their difficulties over time.

Alas, although Roarke is much more present in this novel, his past issues and emotions are still overshadowed by Eve's. He is, in many ways, much stronger emotionally than Eve. He does move further away from the strong, silent, background prop in this storyline, thankfully. However, this reviewer hopes that the focus will shift from Eve to reveal more of Roarke's hidden past in the next book.

As always, these books are not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of violence and strong language. I highly recommend this series and the newest book does not disappoint. The books must be read in order to understand the progression of the relationship between the characters.

So if you're looking for a new romantic suspense series, and blood and gore doesn't bother you, definitely pick up Naked in Death and work your way up to Conspiracy in Death. You won't be sorry!

-- Liz Zink

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