Monday, December 7, 2009

Memory in Death

I have come to adore listening to the audio versions of J.D. Robb's futuristic mystery series featuring tough New York City cop Eve Dallas, so much so that I doubt I'll ever read the printed version of this series again! Susan Ericksen does a fabulous job telling these stories, particularly with the dialogue and various accents of the characters. She delivers the humorous lines with the perfect inflection and timing, invariably making me laugh out loud as I listen.

This installment sees Eve unexpectedly confronted with someone from her past: Trudy Lombard, one of her foster parents from those painful years of her childhood. Eve considers herself to be tough and resilient, but she is completely unprepared for the overwhelming sense of panic that sweeps over her as locked-away memories of the abuse she suffered under Trudy's care. Eve's husband Roarke immediately realizes that there is an ulterior motive to Trudy's presence in New York City, something more than a whim to stop by to visit with Eve, whom she'd seen on TV following the media circus of her last case.

When Trudy is murdered - and it is Eve and Roarke who find her body - Eve takes the case, even though she isn't entirely certain if she can retain a clear mind. Complicating matters is the fact that it is Christmastime in New York City, and with it come extra crowds and and confusion on the street - not to mention extra personal responsibilities that vie for Eve's attention. She is slowly learning to juggle her personal and professional lives, after living only for the job for so many years, and it is fun to watch her squirm as she finds herself connected to so many more people than she could ever have imagined, responding to the kindness and generosity of her friends and the warmth of the season. The mystery is not difficult to figure out - but the hows and the whys of it are intriguing.

It is constantly surprising to me that this series, which is one of the longest that I have read, continues to hold my attention and keep me wanting more. The mysteries are interesting and tend to explore the darker areas of the human psyche, and I do like that - but what keeps me coming back, book after book, are the characters that I've come to adore. Eve's partner Peabody, along with her boyfriend and fellow cop McNab, get plenty of screen time, as Peabody freaks out at the prospect of going to Scotland to finally meet his family. Mavis shows up for a scene or two, hugely pregnant and reminding Eve and Roarke (to their joint, continual horror) that they still have to attend that childbirth class so they can be present at the birth of her baby. Fallout from the previous book in the series left some unresolved tension between Dr. Mira and Eve, which is addressed in the course of the novel. And, of course, Eve and Roarke together make for one of my favorite literary couples, and it is fun watching them spar and butt heads, come to terms with their various issues, and come back together again, stronger than ever.

I'd say that anyone interested in this series would do well to start from the beginning, because the ongoing lives of the various characters add so much to the stories, and the characters are definitely the highlight of the series as far as I'm concerned.

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
"Midnight in Death" (in Silent Night)
8. Conspiracy in Death
9. Loyalty in Death
10. Witness in Death
11. Judgment in Death
12. Betrayal in Death
"Interlude in Death" (in Out of This World)
13. Seduction in Death
14. Reunion In Death
15. Purity in Death
16. Portrait in Death
17. Imitation in Death
18. Remember When
19. Divided in Death
20. Visions in Death
21. Survivor
in Death
22.
Origin in Death

23. Memory in Death
"Haunted in Death" (in Bump in the Night)

24. Born in Death
25. Innocent in Death
"Eternity in Death" (in Dead of Night)
26. Creation in Death
27. Strangers in Death
"Ritual in Death" (in Suite 606)
28. Salvation In Death
29. Promises in Death
30. Kindred in Death
"Missing in Death" (in The Lost)
31. Fantasy in Death (Forthcoming - 2010)

Memory in Death (#23 in the Eve Dallas series) by J.D. Robb; narrated by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
Errant Dreams Reviews: "Roberts/Robb gleefully indulges in everything that makes over-the-top detective novels and mysteries fun, and infuses it with a dollop of romance for good measure. It seems clear that she’s writing for the fun of it and thoroughly enjoying what she’s doing, and as a result her books are equally enjoyable to read."
Sherri's Thoughts and Ramblings: "The identity of the killer came as a complete surprise. I love how this series continues to hold my interest."

6 comments:

  1. I really love these books. Even if one isn't a story that completely catches me, the characters always do. And for a series to be this long and not start to suck with each book is a great thing!

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  2. Cat - I agree! It's amazing how she does it.

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  3. I tried reading the first book in this series and I wasn't really in the mood. I'd like to be able to read them, because Eve really strikes me as an awesome character. I don't think it was anything specifically that failed to catch my attention; I think it was just wrong time/wrong place for it. But perhaps I should try listening to the audio instead? I need something to listen to on my commute right now...

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  4. Kiirstin - I would try the audio, definitely. And keep in mind that while I enjoyed the first few books, my expectations weren't very high - and the series gets better over time, as you get to know the characters. I'd love to hear what you think of the audio experience!

    And I love your new socks pic. :)

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  5. Oh I haven't listened to the audio version before! I wonder if my library has any of these in audiobook. If they do I'll make sure to try it. Thanks!

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  6. Ladytink - You are in for a treat. I hope your library has them!

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