Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Innocent in Death
Series: In Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: February 20, 2007
Publisher: Berkley

New York Lieutenant Eve Dallas doesn't like to see innocent people murdered. And the death of Craig Foster is clearly a murder. He was seemingly ordinary history teacher, but uncovers some extraordinary surprises. Foster's death devastated his young wife, who'd sent him to work that day with a lovingly packed lunch. It shocked his colleagues at the private school, too, and as for the ten-year-old girls who found him in his classroom in a pool of bodily fluids—they may have been traumatized for life.

Eve soon determines that Foster's homemade lunch was tainted with deadly ricin, and that Mr. Foster's colleagues have some startling secrets of their own. It's Eve's job to sort it out—and discover why someone would have done this to a man who seemed so inoffensive, so innocent.

Now Magdalena Percell...there's someone Eve can picture as a murder victim. Possibly at Eve's own hands. The slinky blonde—an old flame of her billionaire husband, Roarke—has arrived in New York, and she's anything but innocent. Roarke seems blind to Magdalena's manipulation, and he insists that the occasional lunch or business meeting with her is nothing to worry about...and none of Eve's business. Consumed by her jealousy—and Roarke's indifference to it, she is unnerved by the situation that she finds it hard to focus on her case. Still, she'll have to put aside her feelings, for a while at least—because another man has just turned up dead.

Eve knows all too well that innocence can be a facade. Keeping that in mind may help her solve this case at last. But it may also tear apart her marriage.

My rating:

A young teacher is killed via poisoned home-made hot chocolate, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas's gut tells her it wasn't the man's wife...Then another man, also a teacher, is killed, tranqued and drowned in the school swimming pool.

There's no apparent motive for both murders, no apparent killer who'd want to snuff both men, and to complicate matters further, Eve's not really at the top of her game, thanks to an old flame of Roarke's resurfacing to muddy the waters, plunging the otherwise strong couple into a tailspin of jealousy and fear.

Whew, what a relief that after the glitch that was the previous book, this series is back on track with a bang.

There were two solid plotlines in this story, expertly interwoven, with one actually infringing on the other with Eve's professional life hindered by the turmoil in her personal one.

The "professional" plot involved the conundrum that was the initial murder, its connection to the second, and the various intersecting lines between the two as Eve and team struggled to find a common denominator that would point them to the killer and the motive.
I certainly didn't see any of the two coming, and my sentiments echoed the ones of the characters as each of them struggled with seeing, comprehending and swallowing the truth. It might've been hard to believe, but definitely possible and plausible.
The final reveal was twisted and chilling, but didn't really came across as far-fetched as the sociopath was revealed.
Well-plotted, and very well-written with a deceptively slow pace.

The second story, and the one that truly grabbed my attention and heart-strings, was the turmoil and havoc in Eve and Roarke's personal lives. Throughout the series these two have come across as a true power couple, with their bond holding strong, their trust in each other implacable, and only fighting about big things (and even those fights never lasted long). So it was refreshing (and reassuring for us mere mortals) to see them scramble, to see Eve in the grip of fear-fueled jealousy and Roarke reduced to an ignorant male affronted that his wife would dare question him.
Reading about their rift, how it impacted their everyday lives and Eve's work was a little heartbreaking, but, as Ms Robb tries to teach with every book—that communication is key in a strong relationship—everything was resolved once Eve actually spoke up about what was bothering her in this particular situation.
I would've loved a more satisfying end to the "Maggie" angle, but, as Eve said, the Fear of Roarke would have to do.

I loved this story, both its major plotlines, the main characters were once more those that I came to love, and I'm looking forward to more.


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