Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Fantasy in Death
Series: In Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: February 23, 2010
Publisher: Berkley

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world, to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king, in his company's latest top-secret project, Fantastical.

The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game...

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks-as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U-Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death...

My rating:

Bart Minnock, geeky genius behind the gaming company U-Play, is decapitated in the holo-room in his apartment. There's no sign of tampering, and no sign he had company in there. So how can it be murder if he was alone? It's Lieutenant Eve Dallas's job to prove foul play and her main three suspects are Bart's partners and co-owners of the company.

But they all have good alibis...And Bart was alone. Can a game be used as a murder weapon?

A rather intriguing plot (from the gaming/sci-fi point of view), but very predictable as far as the killer and murder weapon was concerned.

The forte of the story were once more the characters and their relationships, although I must confess Peabody is really starting to get on my nerves. I liked her much better as a uniform; ever since she made Detective she often behaves dissonantly to the murder case and overall proceedings. I'm with Eve on this one; some guy's been beheaded and you're fretting about your shoes?! I keep waiting for Eve to smack her.

The second dissonance in this book was the scene between Roarke and Eve in the hospital. The reason given as part of Roarks's apology for hurting her, figuratively slapping at her, just didn't sound right. The words, coming pretty much out of the left field the was the scene is presented (maybe something was cut out of it before publishing), were too harsh for Eve's perceived "transgression" without a deeper insight into the relationship between Roarke and the group behind U-Play, which in the story was merely touched upon a few times. So his reaction was a bit incongruous with the "background" we've been given.
Of course it all evened out in the end, when Eve was given a glimpse into what Roarke must be going through every single day, but still...

It's those little, seemingly inconsequential dissonances that can quickly break the flow of the story, and, coupled with the predictability of the main plot, failed to "inspire" me.


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