Review: Conspiracy in Death – J D Robb

  • Title: Conspiracy in Death
  • Author: J D Robb
  • Genre: Futuristic Murder Mystery Romance
  • Why: I intend to read the full series.
  • Rating: 3 Stars

Description: In the late 21st century, on the streets of New York City, a street sleeper is found murdered, his diseased heart removed with surgical precision. His death would typically drop to the bottom of a list of senseless and inexplicable killings, but Lieutenant Dallas, who “would stand for the dead and the living,” is not about to let that happen.

When her research uncovers similar crimes in several cities that were dropped under mysterious circumstances, Dallas knows she’s facing a killer cruel enough to prey on the weakest in society and powerful enough to conspire an extensive coverup.

To complicate matters further, Dallas faces an equally troubling threat to her career when she’s linked to the death of a fellow cop. Now she must fight to restore her good name as well as track down the killer.

Review: A weaker effort in the In Death series, for me at least, mainly due to the behaviour of Eve in this book.

The first murder in the book is that of Snooks, an old, harmless, homeless man who is found in his makeshift shelter with his heart removed. It has been done like a surgical procedure, and with such skill that it is clear even to a layman that it must have been done by an actual surgeon. Eve finds this inexplicable, since surgeons are devoted to preserving life, not taking it away.

At the scene of the murder she is confronted by Ellen Bowers, a fellow cop with a history of petty complaints and a sloppy approach to her work. The sloppiness is evident from the crime scene, and Eve berates Bowers for this in her usual rather abusive manner.

And to be fair, that’s Eve all over, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t irked me more before now. She never bothers to be polite to people, relying instead on impatient curtness, threats and her police badge to get her way. Fair enough if that’s what she’s like, and up to a point I can understand impatience with people who are being obstructive, but I don’t quite buy that all her close friends find it endearing and never try to tell her that maybe she’d get more results if she tried being polite to people.

Where the book really fell down for me is when, halfway through the book, Eve becomes the suspect of a murder herself and is suspended from duty. To her, her work is her life, and her initial reaction is disbelief that they dare to do such a thing, then becoming almost catatonic. All her friends react with equal disbelief, and Roarke even punches the poor sod who has been assigned to resolve the murder.

And that’s the part that I just really didn’t get. Eve is a police detective, so she should be the first one to understand that if you are a – quite legitimate – murder suspect, you cannot be left to continue your police job as if nothing’s wrong, no matter how good a cop you’ve been until that point. That’s simple procedure, and it cannot be circumvented without making a mockery of the whole police system. Her police colleagues should know it just as well, and not bluster on about how the department dare to do such a thing to one of their best.

So what does Eve do once she’s got over her depression? She goes rogue, that’s what. And all her colleagues help her with it. Sure, her motivation is that the dead need justice, and the murderer must be found, but her mentor Feeney has taken over her case and surely she must trust him to be able to solve it?

It just didn’t work for me, and I do hope that Eve will learn to be less of a bitch over the course of future books.

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