Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Divided in Death

This series, written under a pseudonym by Nora Roberts, has been regular reading fodder of mine for years. It's odd that I have yet to complete it, even though I've been reading it for such a long time. Mainly that's because these books are a dependable, gripping read, something I know will not only be absorbing and compelling, but also because revisiting the characters is like stopping by for a visit with old friends, to catch up on their lives. So I wait until I'm facing a long plane ride or going though a difficult time where I will benefit from a comprehensive break from reality.

While the books are set in a futuristic version of New York, I would not classify these as science fiction - they are really fun police procedural murder mysteries that typically focus on the psychological aspects of murder and violence, with a dash of romance for a bit of leavening. The "science fictional" trappings make the series fun and a bit different, but lend more to the atmosphere and are not an intrinsic part of the books. The mysteries tend to be character driven - my favorite kind - and events in the personal lives of the characters become wrapped up in the investigation, which tends to heighten the tension of the novels.

As with any series, some books are more successful than others, and I found myself enjoying this one very much. The book opens with an angry woman who has just discovered her husband has been cheating on her (with her good friend, no less), and goes to her friend's apartment to confront them. She breaks in, only to find that her husband and friend have been brutally murdered. It turns out that the woman, a former member of the Secret Service, now works for Roarke, Eve's husband. Eve is called into the investigation, which soon reveals itself to be much more than a domestic dispute.

At the same time, information about Eve's troubled past surfaces, and the ramifications pose a serious threat to the equilibrium of her relationship with Roarke. The more Eve uncovers the disturbing details surrounding the marriage of the murder victim, the more she finds herself examining her own marriage, her role in it, and its future. Eve is a compelling character, a very strong woman who regularly faces down the demons from her past in order to protect others, and her job as a police investigator is very much a part of who she is. Roarke has demons of his own, and he has dealt with them in a very different way; yet, until now, their marriage has managed to withstand certain differences of opinion. However, there are issues in which compromise is simply not an option.

This book was particularly successful because of the way in which the author seamlessly weaves together the personal storyline with the murder investigation, creating a gripping read that also gives the reader plenty of food for thought. Robb also has a deft hand with humor, and just when the book seems overwhelmingly dark, something happens to give it a lift. Eve, for example, has no problem facing down rampaging lunatics and cold-blooded serial killers. But send her into a salon for a facial or haircut, and she's already sneaking out the back door. It is surprising to me that I have yet to tire of this series, given how very many books have been written. This is no doubt due to the author's ability to create intriguing murder mysteries, but is also a testament to her skillful creation of the characters, who possess a wonderful amount of depth and detail, always leaving me curious to hear more about their lives.

Divided in Death (#18 in the Eve Dallas series) by J.D. Robb (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004)

Books in the Eve Dallas series:

1. Naked in Death
2. Glory in Death
3. Immortal in Death
4. Rapture in Death
5. Ceremony in Death
6. Vengeance in Death
7. Holiday in Death
8. Conspiracy in Death
9. Loyalty in Death
10. Witness in Death
11. Judgment in Death
12. Betrayal in Death
13. Seduction in Death
14. Reunion in Death
15. Purity
in Death
16. Portrait
in Death
17. Imitation
in Death
18. Divided
in Death
19. Visions in Death
20. Survivor
in Death
21. Origin in Death
22. Memory in Death
23. Born in Death
24. Innocent in Death
25. Creation in Death
26. Strangers in Death
26. Salvation in Death

8 comments:

  1. I've always dismissed Nora Roberts for no other reason than snobiness, maybe I should rethink that:)

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  2. I ADORE this series!! It's one that I most read through a friend who always bought them when they came out. But it's one that I am going to look for at garage sales, etc because I love it so much I will read them all again. I love her characters and humour.

    Valentia - I too used to stay away from anything Nora Roberts until this one friend bullied me into reading this series. ;) I am happy that I did - it's not romance, it's mystery and with a wicked humour and great characters. You should try one out! :)

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  3. I read the first book in this series not too long ago (I have one movie and one book ahead of it then I'll post my review).

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  4. Valentina - I know what you mean, and I was skeptical at first, too. I read a review, though, which convinced me to give the series a try. I'm glad I did!

    Cat - I am glad you like this series, too - and that there are so many books in it!

    Ladytink - I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts. The first book definitely has more of a classic romance storyline than the others (for obvious reasons).

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  5. I recently started this series and I'm devouring it. Eve fascinates me as a character. I love her with Roarke. Peabody is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters and I really enjoy Dr. Mira. The writing is clever and fun. I just wish there wasn't so much profanity. Usually I can skim it, but it's rather intrusive in this series. Not enough that I'm going to stop reading, though. *grin*

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  6. Fuzzycricket - I'm glad you're enjoying it, too. I really love those characters, as well, and many that just keep getting better as the series goes on. I actually can't say that I even noticed the profanity that you mention, which either means that it seemed natural enough to the characters in my mind, or else that I've just become desensitized to it. Huh. I'll have to pay more attention next time, I guess!

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  7. I love the death series. Have read them twice and just got #27 Salvation in Death. They are books you want to savor. #28 Promises in Death will be out 2/24/09. Thanks for the great review.

    Robin of My Two Blessings.

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  8. Hi, Robin! I"m glad you enjoy the series, too, and that you've read all of them and still like it. I always worry that the series won't be as good as it goes on (especially one this long), but it sounds like that's not the case here.

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