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Memory in Death    by J. D. Robb order for
Memory in Death
by J. D. Robb
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Eve Dallas is looking forward to spending her second Christmas with billionaire husband Roarke, but in her line of work death never takes a holiday - not even for Santa, who's taken a swan dive to a messy end after getting high at an office party. Eve and her partner, Delia Peabody, quickly put the case to bed and head back to cop central to close shop for the holidays. As Eve breezes into her office, a woman is waiting for her with claims to be her mama. Trudy Lombard may look like a kindly middle-aged grandmother, but Eve knows better. She remembers the many psychological torments she suffered in her foster mother's care.

Eve is shaken to the core by Lombard's sudden appearance, but manages to keep it together long enough to throw the woman out of her office, hoping that's the end of it. Lombard however, isn't about to be put off. She's determined to get a share of Roarke's billions and makes an appointment to see him with blackmail in mind. Having anticipated this move, he's ready for her and in his succinct and deadly way, suggests Lombard leave New York and never bother him, or his wife, again. But it seems that someone else harbors ill will against Trudy Lombard; the next day she's found bludgeoned to death in her hotel room. Eve is determined to solve the case, if only to get answers for Trudy's distraught son Bobby (who had been kind to her during her sixth months under Lombard's care) and despite the bad memories that Trudy and the investigation invoke.

Though this episode allows readers more glimpses into Eve's past, Robb is still miserly with details. She alternates between showing Eve at her investigative best and delving deeper into the very real emotional trauma Lombard's appearance triggers. Even Eve's incredibly protective husband Roarke (who has just as many secrets as his wife) can't fix this for her. All he can do is show Eve what it really means to have a family bond, a message that is particularly poignant in the Christmas setting of this story. Memory in Death is another stellar addition to a series that only gets better with age.

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