Friday, October 6, 2017

Review: Divided in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Divided in Death
Series: In Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: August 31, 2004
Publisher: Berkley
ASIN: 0425197956

Reva Ewing, a former member of the Secret Service and a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises, is a prime suspect in a double homicide. She had every reason to want to kill her husband, the renowned artist Blair Bissel. Not only was he having an affair, he was having it with her best friend.

But Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who's on the case, believes Reva is innocent. Eve's instincts tell her that the murder scene looks too perfectly staged, the apparent answers too obvious. And when she digs for more, she discovers that at nearly the exact time a kitchen knife was jammed into the victim's ribs, the passcode to his art studio was changed—and all of the data on his computer deliberately corrupted.

To Roarke, it's the computer attack that poses the real threat. Signs show that this is the nightmare his company has secretly been preparing for. He and Reva have been under a code-red government contract to develop a program that would shield against a new breed of hackers, the Doomsday Group. These techno-terrorists with brilliant minds and plenty of financial backing hack into systems, steal data, and corrupt computer units on a large scale - and kill anyone who gets too close.

Eve and Roarke must infiltrate an extraordinarily secretive government agency to expose the corruption at its core, before the virus spreads from one office to a corporation to the entire country.

My rating:

Roarke's admin, Caro, calls him in the middle of the night, begging for his, and Eve's, help. Her daughter, and one of Roarke's techno experts, is sitting in the middle of a double homicide; the victims are her husband and her best friend, naked and butchered in bed together.

It looks like a simple murder of passion, but the scene is too perfect; the only thing missing is a nice little red bow...And Eve's gut is screaming set-up. But who would want to kill an artist and his mistress and frame an innocent woman...And why?

This book had a great mystery and ever greater personal drama.

On one hand, you have corpses piling up, industrial espionage, cyber-terrorists, a computer virus, and a shady government agency throwing wrenched into the wheels of the investigation...And on the other you have the big marital spat between Eve and Roarke involving some new information about her past, and the shady government agency passive involvement in what happened to her, and Roarke's rage-filled quest for revenge on his beloved behalf that puts them at odds for most of the book.

No marriage is perfect and Robb does a wonderful job in portraying this particular marriage as being as far from a stroll in a meadow as possible. Roarke and Eve almost always stand on different sides of a line, but usually there's some middle, common ground for them to meet on. This particular case, this particular mission, put them at such odds, it was hard seeing how they could ever see eye to eye, when they actually refused to communicate or barely could share a space...In the end, it came down to love. The simplest, purest of solutions.

The mystery, the hunt, the big question mark was well-written and well-paced (although the fog on the true identity of the killer started lifting a little early for me), the industrial espionage being nothing but cover for the baddies to get rich was interesting and entertaining, but the drama in the personal life of my favorite fictional couple was what propelled the whole story forward.
It had it all, drama, angst, fear of the future, pathos, tearjerker moments, and the incredible, beautiful romance underneath.
I loved how the final solution, for them both, was so utterly simple. They just needed to see each other, and to love each other.

A good mystery and a wonderfully bittersweet romance. What more can you want?

4 ½ stars


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