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Portrait in Death    by J. D. Robb order for
Portrait in Death
by J.D. Robb
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2003 (2003)
Paperback, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The day is starting out on a particularly high note for Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Her husband's annoying major domo, Summerset is moments away from leaving on vacation. The prospect of her 'personal pain-in-the-butt' being gone for three whole weeks has put Eve in an almost euphoric state. But when Summerset trips over the cat and tumbles down a flight of stairs Eve's bright mood is snuffed out. She's saved from playing nursemaid when she's called in to investigate New York's latest homicide. Someone is killing college students, then carefully posing and photographing them to capture their 'light and innocence'. To make matters even more challenging, the killer sends carefully scripted clues to Nadine Furst, the city's number one television reporter, and also to Dallas. How long before the clever killer chooses his next victim?

While Eve and her team aggressively pursue leads, her billionaire husband Roarke alternates between worrying over Summerset and running his many business interests. At the opening of a shelter he's funded, he's approached by a woman who delivers some unbelievable revelations about his past. Using his many skills and connections Roarke discovers that everything the woman has told him is true. In a surprising turn-around, he closes himself off from the two people closest to him, Eve and Summerset. In fact, Roarke shuts Eve out so completely and so coldly, she's truly shaken. Worried about her marriage she confides in Summerset and in her mentor, Feeney. Their very wise marital advice steers her on a clearer and determined path that has Eve flying to Ireland to stand by her husband's side as he confronts the truth about his shadowy past.

Portrait in Death is another fine addition to Robb's brilliant and entertaining series. This time around the hunt for the killer is more standard fare, but as always it's the interaction of Dallas and her top-notch team of investigators that kicks the excitement up a notch. Robb has also finally rewarded diligent followers of her In Death books with much anticipated information about the mysterious ex-criminal, Rourke -- information that is sure to add even more depth to his and Eve's fiery relationship and that will definitely add an interesting new spin to future instalments of this one-of-a-kind futuristic romantic suspense series.

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