Review: Seduction in Death – J D Robb

  • Title: Seduction in Death
  • Author: J D Robb
  • Genre: Futuristic Murder Mystery Romance
  • Why: I intend to read the whole series
  • Rating: 4 Stars

Description: She was 23 and already in love. She was certain he’d be handsome. She would be dead before midnight. Bryna Bankhead carefully dressed for her date with the wonderful Dante, a man she’s only ever spoken to online. By the end of the night, rose petals are scattered, poetry has been quoted – and Bryna has been murdered.

Review contains major spoilers!

Review: Okay, I’m going to have a rant here, and it’s a rant I’ve had before in one of the reviews for an earlier book in the series. This rant covers one point which is a massive spoiler for the end of the book, so stop reading now if you don’t want to see it.

This book was a solid five stars up until about the last chapter or two. It’s got the usual great characterisation, Eve and Roarke getting up to their usual tricks, Peabody and McNab developing their relationship further (yay!) and two truly loathsome murderers.

Who die at the end of the book. Which truly, sincerely pisses me off.

As a reader, you find out pretty early in the book who the first murderer is: Kevin, a privileged guy in his early twenties with more money than sense, and a best friend who is easily one of the creepiest guys ever thought up in fiction. The best friend is Lucias, and I’d say he’s the real villain in this book. Lucias and Kevin keep themselves entertained through bets, and the first murder victim comes as a result of one of those bets. Kevin has seduced her through the internet, then set up a date to meet her. During this date he feeds her a rather scary cocktail of date rape drugs, never realising that the combination is deadly.

This is where things get truly creepy. To start with, because Kevin thinks that the date he has set up is romantic. I’m sorry, but never mind the rose petals, candlelight and mood music, feeding someone an aphrodisiac which completely removes any sexual inhibitions means rape. Secondly, while the first death is technically an accident, Lucias sees it as serendipity, and as a fantastic way of upping the ante on the bet. Meaning that he has to go one better and do the same thing, but even more spectacularly.

Things spiral down from that point, and the viewpoint of the two murderers, who, even though they know what they’re doing is wrong, talk themselves into thinking that it is somehow right (we’re giving them a wonderful, romantic night, everything is exactly as they want it!) is scarily believable. It doesn’t really matter that Lucias is the real villain and that Kevin is more or less dragged along in his wake; Kevin is fully aware that what they’re doing is wrong and evil, yet still does it.

And then we get to the end. Kevin is caught, and Eve describes to him in excruciating detail what will happen to him in prison. Some guy called Big Dave is going to make him his bitch and is going to rape him every day for the next thirty years. I’m thinking ‘bring it on, he deserves it’. But no, Lucias somehow gets to him and kills him with poison. Then when Eve closes in on Lucias, he kills himself as well. And the book actually says ‘everyone wins’.

I’m sorry, but no. I don’t want my fiction to read as justification for the death penalty. Personally I find the thirty years of daily anal rape a far better punishment for scum such as these two, and I feel robbed by their deaths.

I realise that this is a matter of viewpoint, but it’s been pissing me off anyway that in this entire series so far, most of the murderers have died at the end of the book. If the justice system in future New York City still doesn’t include the death penalty, then this shouldn’t be circumvented and somehow justified.

So to recap, a solid five stars until the end, for which I’m knocking it down to a four.


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