Desert Isle Keeper Review

Loyalty In Death

J.D. Robb
1999, Futuristic Romantic Suspense
Berkley, $7.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 042517140X
Part of a series

Grade: A-
Sensuality: Warm

If I were to sum up Loyalty in Death in one sentence, I would say, "This book is ice, frigid, mag, remember the word elevator, and Roarke gets shot." Alas, I would not be that cruel. And, oh, "mag" apparently means fabulous.

In the New York City of sixty years from now, New York Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas is investigating the murder of tycoon J.C. Branson. He died screwed to the wall - literally. His lover, Lisbeth Cooke, used a super powered screwdriver on J.C.'s heart during a jealous rage and is unrepentant about it. There is more to this, Eve thinks as Lisbeth calmly explains her reasons, and she is right, but the answer is not what Eve suspects it might be.

Aided by Officer Peabody (She-body to Electronics Department Detective Ian McNab), Eve's attention gets jolted by a series of notes from a group that calls itself Cassandra, after the Greek goddess who foretold the future. Bombings follow each note, with the promise of widespread destruction in the city. While Cassandra continues targeting assorted sites belonging to Eve's husband, Roarke, we get to meet Peabody's brother Zeke, visiting because Clarissa Branson, sister-in-law of the recently deceased, has hired him to do some carpentry work at their home.

What Cassandra wants, much to Roarke's amusement, is the fall of the overbearing, greedy capitalists who run the world. Cassandra is capable, raised from infancy with the brainwashing hatred of a generation that failed in the same endeavor, but is much better prepared. Cassandra watches as Eve frantically works to empty theaters and save lives before the latest bomb can go off, and smugly lets Eve know they are way ahead of her. The final confrontation takes place at the most American symbol of all, with a surprisingly tender moment amidst all the shooting and bomb defusing.

Aside from the timely topic of domestic terrorism, the main lesson in Loyalty in Death would be that nothing is what it seems, and our only anchors amidst the illusions, then, are the main characters.

Eve is, as usual, running on empty, her mind troubled by the group that is targeting her husband's property and by more memories of her past that spring to the surface. She can find no rhyme or reason to Cassandra's activities and the demands the group makes are unattainable. Her defense mechanism when a colleague is killed is to tell her husband that cops are better off alone, then to flee a budding marital dispute before Roarke can unleash those Irish eyes on her. Even when she offers him a sickly flower as a peace offering, she is uncomfortable with her feelings, but confesses them nonetheless, much to Roarke's delight.

As much as I love Eve Dallas and Roarke, however, in this book, their relationship takes a slight backseat to that of Delia Peabody and Ian McNab. McNab is not the carefree goof Eve has always thought him, and he surprises her by telling her off when she begins to exhibit protective tendencies. Peabody turns out to be a mother hen, worrying that her na´ve brother will be mugged and killed while he wanders around New York. The dangers to Zeke are not in the street, though, but in the woman he falls in love with. As for Peabody and McNab, it is impossible to read their scenes together without grinning.

This latest In Death book does not disappoint. Eve, Roarke, Peabody and the rest of the gang are familiar to us now, but no less interesting for it. As they continue to grow within their relationships, so does my dread that I now have to wait many months before the next book.

-- Claudia Terrones

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