How did I get it: The library.
Why did I get it: One of the many libraries I frequent has special copies of new releases and bestsellers that you can only take out for two weeks and can’t renew. I meant to read this series in order, but after reading at least ten or more, I am positive that it’s not very necessary. And I couldn’t help myself.
How would I rate it: 3 and a 1/2 out of 5 stars. This was tricky for me since character-wise, this book is probably 4 stars. Plot-wise, however, this book barely warrants 2 stars.
Death follows Eve Dallas where ever she goes from rural Ireland to back home again in New York City. While getting back to the daily grind, she finds that someone has killed a limousine driver and owner of a fairly successful, very expensive company with a crossbow. But this death is only the beginning and soon it becomes obvious that the killer or killers are a little too arrogant and too rich for their own good.
(Caution: Mild spoilers.)
First of all, I’d like to go on record as saying that I read the In Death series for fun and comfort. I find them relaxing and soothing so I don’t mind that they are a bit… Shall we say ridiculous? So I don’t read these books expecting the sort of heavy topics might find in a Russian tome nor would I expect the reinvention of the wheel to occur at some point in one of them.
As a result, I did not mind that the 2060 Ireland setting read more like 1950s Ireland or the Ireland that exists only in the dreams. I also did not mind that just about every one of Rourke’s relatives had a generic Irish name beginning with S. In fact, I loved it.
I was also very pleased to discover that, by Book 31, only two years have passed. I prefer my fictional characters not to age very much if there has to be a long series about them and I like that Eve is constantly dealing with cases and that I get to read about nearly all of them.
The typical details of a book in the In Death series remained and were, as always, delightful. I am a sucker for domestic scenes and cute friendships so that did not bother me. I rather love Mavis and Eve wondering why they’re friends, Nadine and Eve wondering why they’re friends, Peabody and Eve snarking, Eve getting hurt vaguely and being pissy when people try to help her, Eve trying to be a good friend and wondering why, Rourke making Eve eat, Rourke thinking Eve is hot, Peabody thinking Rourke is hot, Eve wondering why Rourke’s with her, Rourke wondering why Eve keeps wondering that, and McNabb dressing badly.
Likewise I think it is absolutely precious how the future in these books is incredibly not much of one unless you think of soy chips and commlinks as very futuristic. But I will admit that I do think the future in these books is occasionally on the bland, vague side and way too much like the 80s for its own good. Unless the plot calls for a flash of a gritty underbelly, the future of the In Death series lacks edge. Eve has enough of an edge and an attitude to make up for her future’s neutral look most of the time, but even Eve couldn’t make the second half of this book less predictable.
I don’t object to Eve constantly smiting bad people or smugly informing them of what they did and how well she caught them though. Similarly, I have come to expect that no matter what she’ll get the bad guy and he or she will pay for what he or she did. I have accepted that these things are inevitable and par for the course even if they do continue to mildly irk me from time to time. They are going to happen and that is just as well seeing as Eve is the main character of this series and should emerge victorious. Besides, it’s nice to read about a woman who is agressively competent without being all flowery and sweet.
The problem with this book doesn’t even seem typical at all to me of the In Death books I’ve read, to be honest. Or maybe I have simply skipped over the books that lack of any kind of plot twist and the reader was supposed to not think Eve was right with no evidence given to the contrary? I certainly hope not.
Anyway, the problem for me began around page 17something when Eve figured out who the killers were. The significant portion of the rest of the book was spent learning about how messed up these people were. Shortly after that, in case the reader had been sleeping through the first half of the book and wasn’t convinced by the mounting evidence or lack of other viable suspects of the guilt of the people Eve felt to be responsible, there was a chapter about the killers killing more people. There was even a section and passing references made to these jerky killers being “mean” to Rourke because he didn’t come from money.
All in all, I was very frustrated by this and kept thinking to earlier books with better killers and feeling cheated by these obnoxious, odious, and obvious killers. (Plus they were mean to Rourke for no very good reason, the creeps!) I don’t know about other readers, but I usually believe detectives or cops in novels like this, especially if they are prone to going with their gut instinct. I kept hoping Eve was wrong or that there would at least be other suspects or maybe some secret society of horrible rich people that hunted other people down or they’d try to kill Rourke at least, but none of that ever happened.
I will read the next book in this series and I will read the earlier books I skipped, but I don’t like spending most of a book wishing I could flip past the actual plot and read more about Rourke making Eve steak for dinner. Unless the book was called Steak In Death. I could make an exception for that. And now I want steak.
Anyway, any other book would probably have garnered a much lower rating, but this was for fun and, well, I knew what I was getting into to some degree. I just wasn’t expecting to be bored out of my mind shortly after the book’s middle. But thanks to other not-plot aspects of the book, the familiar characters, and the typical In Death shenanigans, I was able to finish the book and most of it was enjoyable and funny.