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Kindred in Death    by J. D. Robb order for
Kindred in Death
by J. D. Robb
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Lieutenant Eve Dallas and billionaire husband Roarke are enjoying a few days of a much-needed vacation when she receives a call from her commander to lead the investigation into a horrific murder. Once Eve surveys the crime scene, it's no stretch to conclude that the killer has a vicious grudge against newly promoted captain Jonah MacMasters. Whether that grudge was professional or personal has yet to be determined. One thing is very clear, sixteen-year-old Deena MacMasters was forced to endure a long and violent assault in prelude to her death by strangulation.

The manner and brutality of Deena's death not only brings out rage in Eve, but also memories from her own brutal childhood at the hands of her father. She's determined, however, not to let those dark years get the best of her and together with her usual team of investigators, including civilian consultant Roarke, she vows to stop the killer. But not before he commits another disturbing murder.

It's soon clear that a very clever chameleon is making a bold statement to not only the MacMasters, but also Eve and her team, taunting them to unravel his identity and his motivation. Eve knows however, that her quarry will eventually slip up and that his overconfidence will be his ultimate undoing - and she'll be right there to toss him into a cage when that happens.

While Robb's popular Eve Dallas crime series has always featured dark crimes, darker villains and wonderfully twisty plotlines, this current instalment is grittier than usual. Robb doesn't break up the tension of the hunt nearly enough with a) the usual short, snarky and always amusing asides Eve shares with Roarke's unshakeable major domo Sommerset or b) the wonderful interplay and comedic moments with Peabody and the rest of Eve's crack investigative team. Nor does Robb spend enough page space showcasing good friends, Charles and Louise's, wedding, an event hinted at in past books. In the end, the ceremony is given only short shrift at the conclusion of the book.

Even so, Robb delivers another crackerjack futuristic murder mystery - and after thirty books in her Eve Dallas series thus far, that's no small feat.

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