Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Portrait in Death
Series: In Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: February 25, 2003
Publisher: Berkley

After a tip from a reporter, Eve Dallas finds the body of a young woman in a Delancey street dumpster. Just hours before, the news station had mysteriously received a portfolio of professional portraits of the woman. The photos seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary for any pretty young woman starting a modeling career. Except that she wasn't a model. And that these photos were taken after she had been murdered. Now Dallas is on the trail of a killer who's a perfectionist and an artist. He carefully observes and records his victim's every move. And he has a mission: to own every beautiful young woman's innocence, to capture her youth and vitality—in one fateful shot...

My rating:

Nadine Furst receives a portfolio of a young woman's photos and informs Lieutenant Eve Dallas who finds the subject of the photos stashed in a recycling unit. Someone followed the girl around, snapping candid photos, then snatched her off the street, pumped her full of opiates, stabbed her in the heart, and posed her for that final photo.

It looks like the killer is an artist...and he's far from done.

It was a solid story with a very fast-paced finish, but somehow it didn't really pull me in as I've come to expect from this series. I felt there was something missing in the mystery/suspense department. Maybe it was the fact, I didn't really get the killer's motive or his definitely crazy explanation for what he was doing, maybe I wasn't satisfied with how it all panned down (just like Eve and Baxter)...Or maybe it was the fact, the lukewarm mystery was paired with a rather intense private drama in the relationship between Eve and Roarke.

It was the private drama that had me glued to my e-reader, wishing the rest to pass quickly so I could read more of it.
We're usually "saddled" with the trauma of Eve's childhood, with Roarke being the supportive, patient rock that he is, so this book's role reversal was a breath of fresh air, if I may be so bold. It was Roarke the one falling to pieces (yes, it's hard to fathom, but that's what happened) due to some revelations about his past and where he really comes from.
It was quite staggering reading about this usually staid, resilient, self-assured man going all "Eve" on his wife, pushing her away, hurting her (inadvertently or not), trying to keep her out of his private investigation when, in all the other books, he expects her to simply shut up and allow it, when he butts into her own not-so-private investigations. On one side, I got it, while on the other, I wanted nothing more than for Eve to kick his teeth in until he saw reason.
It also gave us another important and poignant step in the evolution and growth of their relationship, when Eve decides that her husband is more important than the dead she stands for and her job. That particular scene, and Sinead's description of their "reunion" had my throat closing for a few moments...

The way he looked—the change in his face, in his body, in the whole of him when he saw it was you. The love was naked on him when he saw it was you, and it’s one of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen.

It was a good story with lots of development both in the character and relationship department, but the mystery part of it left me rather cold.

3½ stars


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