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Born in Death    by J. D. Robb order for
Born in Death
by J. D. Robb
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is delighted when a fresh murder case offers a reprieve from the prenatal class that she and her husband Roarke are attending on the insistence of Eve's very pregnant best friend, music vid-star Mavis Freestone. Everyone knows that Dallas, not to mention her husband, would rather eat lead than coach Mavis's breathing, coo over baby clothes or organize the impending baby shower.

The double homicide Eve and erstwhile partner Peabody are called in to investigate involves the murder of two accountants, Natalie Copperfield and her fianc Bick Byson, both well-liked employees of a prestigious financial firm. The brutality of the crime is telling. Eve's gut instincts conclude that either Natalie or Bick had stumbled across something big and then tried to deal with it on their own. Unfortunately, someone was willing to go to any lengths to keep the couple silent.

Just as the leads in the double homicide begin paying off, a frantic Mavis contacts Eve to beg another favor; one of the other moms in her birthing class has gone missing. Mavis is sick with worry over her friend Tandy's mysterious disappearance and wants Eve to investigate. Within hours Eve is juggling what she believes are two very different cases. But as she and her team meticulously dig deeper, she discovers that the double homicide and Tandy's disappearance are linked and may be the tip of the iceberg to an even more widespread and sinister black market operation.

Besides providing another solid police procedural, Robb continues her exploration of the evolving and complicated relationship between Eve Dallas and billionaire husband Roarke - as well as their interactions with recurring secondaries who are as important to this series as its two stars. With the imminent arrival of Mavis's baby, there is also the heightened reader expectation of how Eve and Roarke will react on the big day. Both are resigned to the promise they made a few books ago to act as Mavis's birth coaches.

Those moments have provided wonderful bits of comic relief throughout the enthusiastic mom's stages of pregnancy - and are especially gratifying and often laugh-out-loud funny in the closing chapters of Born in Death when Mavis finally goes into labor and Eve and Roarke must give in the 'horrible reality' of witnessing a live birth.

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