Thursday, July 30, 2009

Origin in Death

A prominent doctor, a pioneer in the field of reconstruction and plastic surgery, is found dead in his office with a single scalpel wound to his heart. Eve Dallas happens to be at the hospital, working on another case, when the body is discovered. Dr. Icove, the deceased, is a pillar of the medical profession, beloved by all, a philanthropist, with a stellar reputation. No one is that clean, Dallas insists. Her first hint that Dr. Icove's background isn't so pristine are some very odd encrypted files on his home computer. Once decoded, the files turn out to contain a list of patients, all young women, known only by numbers, not names, such as experimental test subjects might have. But no one - not even Icove's own son, who has followed closely in his father's footsteps and is a prominent doctor himself, seems to know what those files mean.

The prologue of the novel, however, depicts a harrowing scene in which a young girl is euthanized. So the reader has a few suspicions about those files and what exactly they might mean.

Meanwhile, in Eve's personal life, she and Rourke have invited his Irish relatives to their house for Thanksgiving, along with their closest personal friends, including Peabody and McNab, Louise and Charles, and of course Mavis and Leonardo. Having both grown up without any real family (as Rourke only discovered his relatives fairly recently), Rourke and Eve are unsure how to deal with it all. The humorous sections of the book that deal with the Thanksgiving celebration serve as a welcome and effective comic relief from the rest of the story, which is unrelentingly dark and disturbing.

These books are set in New York City in the future (in the 2050s), but that setting has always been more a fun background than actual science fiction. (In my opinion, a science fiction novel must contain a science fiction element without which the story would not hold up.) The past books could really have been set in the present day, for the most part, which wouldn't be as fun because there wouldn't be all the fun futuristic gadgets and such, but the stories as a whole are police procedural serial killer mysteries and would still work. Not so with this book. The medical science element is inextricable to the plot, and without it, the story would fall apart. I liked that! There's a fascinating concept at the heart of the book, and it goes to some creepy places.

I do adore this series - one reason I've taken so long to get through it is that I tend to save the books for when I know I'll need an un-put-downable book. Since I discovered the audio books, though, I haven't been able to help myself - the narrator, Susan Ericksen, does such an excellent job with characterization. Although for this one I found myself having just a bit of trouble with her voice for Trina, the beautician who cuts Eve's hair (to Eve's dismay - she hates being fiddled with - and I can totally relate to that!). Trina's voice sounded just like Roz, the dispatcher in Monsters, Inc. I kept laughing to imagine Roz giving Eve a facial!

My only complaint is that the book ended so soon after the climax. What about the Thanksgiving dinner? It would have been a welcome change from the harrowing events at the end of the book to see Eve and Roarke back at home among all those Irish relatives, particularly the children - with limitless opportunities for humor at their expense. Still, I'm very much looking forward to the next dark futuristic mystery in the Eve Dallas series.

Robb, J.D. -Eve Dallas series
1. Naked in Death
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
27. Salvation in Death

28.Promises in Death
29.Kindred in Death
(November 2009)

Origin in Death (#21 in the Eve Dallas series) by J.D. Robb; narrated by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio, 2005)

Also reviewed at:
Banter Basement: "I whizzed through it in one day. The ending is pretty exciting, you know Eve and Roarke are going to survive but it's a bit tricky for a while there." [Spoiler warning for this review!]
Brianna's Mommy: "God bless Nora Robert’s prolific heart, I hope she continues to give me two new installments a year because I’m like a junkie and if I didn’t get my fix…I hate to imagine the lengths to which I might go."
Shae_Reads: " While the idea of the book was really interesting, I thought the subplot of the upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations were more interesting. When confronted with lots and lots of children, Eve does not disappoint."


  1. I don't remember where I've stopped off on the series. It always makes it harder for me because I read them back to back and then when I have to wait for a new one I lose me memory of it all!! I don't know if I've read this one yet. But I want Rorake and you can have Ranger :) Deal!

  2. I'm not a fan of Nora Roberts (I know gasp, shock horror). But thanks for the review on Finger Lickin Fifteen, I'm number 264 in line at the library for it, hee hee.

  3. I love the scenes where everyone is together and Even panics! Haha! Those are some of the best parts of these books. AND if she needs to take some sort of blocker after being injured and Roarke sneaks it to her. hahaha.

    Gosh, I love this series!!

  4. Origin In Death is so complex, but the whole relatives-over-for-Thanksgiving is a riot. And the whole birth coach angle? Ha!

    I've read the entire available series. Now, I'm going back through and listening to them. I agree, Susan Ericksen brings these characters to life. Listening to the stories, I find bits emphasized that change the dynamic of a scene.

    Your observation about Trina? Very funny. It's spot on!

  5. I've only read the first one in this series, but absolutely love it. I'm glad to hear that they are still worth reading after so many books!

  6. Margo - Yes, I remember when you lapped me on this series and kept on going! I think I'd take Ranger over Roarke - he's too crazy about Eve anyway. Who could compete with her? :-)

    VA Gal - I hope your Stephanie Plum novel comes in soon!

    Cat - me, too - those scenes crack me up. In this one Roarke dimmed the room so she'd sleep and she got all mad at him, haha. I love the juxtaposition of dark and disturbing with the humor and friendship parts.

    Fuzzycricket - I do hope we'll get to see the birth of Mavis's baby! I'm glad you're enjoying them on audio - it really makes for a different experience, doesn't it? I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Roz when Trina spoke! :-)

    Stephanie - you're lucky to have so many fun books waiting for you. I am amazed every time that the books continue to be so good. I guess because the the central part is really the mystery, it never feels old or overdone.

  7. Umm well I'm secretly Eve.......yeah...........

    Fine. You have Rorake and I'll take Ranger. Deal :)

  8. I am still back on like book 10 in this series. I really must get reading or I will never catch up!

  9. Margo - It's really a win-win, don't you think?

    Kailana - But isn't it good to know you have a bunch of dependably good reads waiting for you? :-)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!