Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Betrayal in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Betrayal in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Publication Date: March 2001
Series: In Death {Book 12}
Source: Library
Links: GoodReads | Amazon
My Rating: Four Stars
Betrayal in Death (In Death, #12)At the luxurious Roarke Palace Hotel, a maid walks into suite 4602 for the nightly turndown - and steps into her worst nightmare. A killer leaves her dead, strangled by a thin silver wire. He's Sly Yost, a virtuoso of music and murder. A hit man for the elite. Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows him well. But in this twisted case, knowing the killer doesn't help solve the crime. Because there's someone else involved. Someone with a more personal motive. And Eve must face a terrifying possibility - that the real target may, in fact, be her husband Roarke.

I was thinking about this series on my run this morning (I tend to think about random things - it was before I had my coffee), trying to figure out exactly why I can't resist picking up one of Robb's science-fiction/romance/suspense novels every time I go to the library. I figured it out (in part) in my third mile - it's the characters. 

I love returning to Eve's world for each new mystery because the cast of vibrant characters doesn't remain the same; they are constantly changing and evolving into new versions of themselves. Like in Betrayal in Death, Roarke suddenly has to deal with not only the possibility that he is the next probable target, but that he might be somehow responsible for the deaths of two of his employees (the second burdens him more than the first). He must learn to step back and realize he can't control everything (despite Eve's constant reminders that he must own half the world by now) and let the NYSPD team take over. Eve has to learn to support Roarke in an entirely different manner, for during most of their marriage, he has been strong despite all of their ups and downs.

Betrayal in Death uses internal conflict to force each character out of their shell, especially Peabody and McNab, who face some of their own bumps and bruises along the way. I found the relationship dynamic between the two constantly fascinating. Peabody was a little blind, in my opinion. 

Then there's the conflict with the FBI, especially Special Agent Jacoby, who strolls into Cop Central like he's walking into Macy's. I loved how Robb uses the stereotypical aggressive relationship between the feds and the locals to spice up the manhunt for Sly Yost - Jacoby is so aggressive and manipulative, it's impossible to even pretend to like him. His partner, Special Agent Karen Stowe, is the good cop out of the two, but even she is hiding her own little secrets. 

I read this book in two days because the tensions and conflicts were so engrossing - everyone was facing some sort of conflict or issue in the novel, but it never felt forced or overdone. Each character had some sort of external struggle as well as an internal one (maybe in relationships or professionally)  that made the pages fly by. And the romance between Roarke and Eve is still strong - I always enjoy how they are a team, no matter what, even if they're battling it out with each other. 

I want to touch on Yost really quickly (sorry, this is becoming a bit of a long post!). This villain was terrifying. I really enjoy when Robb allows the reader little glimpses into the killer's mind so we can understand their mindset and motives, and Yost didn't disappoint. He was cold, methodical, and so incredibly arrogant in his work (I guess that's what it's called?) that it stunned even Eve. I love the little narrational transitions into his mind so I can fully understand the evil lurking behind his eyes. It makes the character so much more real to me and adds a lot of tension to the already strong plot.

Final Thoughts: There are some of the In Death series that I could take or leave, but Betrayal in Death offers such a wide scope of narration, plot and conflict that it was impossible to put down.

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