Book review: Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
Book Review: Leverage in Death
Author: J.D. Robb (also known as Nora Roberts.)
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Leverage in death by J. D. Robb
I have to admit that as soon as the latest J.D. Robb book comes out, I put all other books to one side and exclusively read that one. It doesn’t normally take long as I’ll skip chores, I’ll ignore work and even forget to eat until I’ve done.
That’s not to say that every single ‘In Death’ book is gripping, some can even be a chore, but even the ones where the story seems old and rehashed is a joy. Why?
Because of the characters. Each new book is like a peek into the lives of your extended family and you just love watching how they’ve grown and how they interact while you’ve been apart.
For those of you who don’t know the In Death series is a crime series set in the future. But a not too different future. You still have police and crimes and murder but things like prostitution has been legalised, holograms and house droids are a thing and cars can sort of fly.
The main character is Eve Dallas, a tough lieutenant in the NYPSD (New York City Police and Security Department). She spends her time fighting crime alongside other characters such as Roarke (an ex-con billionaire), Detective Peabody, e-policemen Feeney and McNab and assorted ancillary characters.
This is the 47th full length In Death novel. There are many mini stories in anthologies but I’m not counting them here. For a full list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Death
I have to admit that the last few In Death books haven’t blown me away. They are still interesting but there has been something missing. The last one which had me truly gripped was “Brotherhood In Death” which was a return to form and then some. It was punchy and powerful and had twists and turns that I really didn’t see coming. I eagerly awaited Apprentice and Echoes in Death but both were so sub-par as to be almost dull. Secrets and Dark in Death were only marginally better so I was hesitant about this one.
Leverage in Death is… okay. It’s better than some not as great as others. There were parts that made me smile and parts that confused me.
The synopsis is that Paul Rogan sets off a bomb at his office, killing eleven people and no one can understand why. He was a loving husband and father, with everything to live for. Then his wife and daughter are found chained up in the family home, badly beaten and traumatised and everything becomes clear. Rogan had been given a horrifying choice – set off the bomb, or see his loved ones suffer and die.
The men behind the attack are determined, organised and utterly ruthless. It isn’t long until it happens again and Eve and Roarke have to discover the motive before more people are killed.
The writing, as usual was great but I have totally forgotten the reasoning behind the killings- I think it had to do with someone’s brother killed at war and his wife moving on. Possibly. The villains in this one were forgettable and so was their motive. What stuck in mind was the killings and the way they approached the attacks.
That part was expertly done and you could feel the families’ terror and it left you wondering what you would do in that situation.
That is one of Robb’s great talents. With most of the crimes you can connect with the victims and truly embrace how they are feeling and that is why you come back time and time again to the story. You actually care what happens to them and hope that Dallas manages to solve it in time.
There are many references to past events, which would make it a little confusing for a new person to just jump in at any point in the series. But those references are given just enough weight that you could possibly still enjoy the story if you didn’t know that background.
For example, you wouldn’t have had to read Origin in Death(#21) to know that there was a movie based on the case in it in Celebrity in Death (#34) to care that one of the characters is up for an Oscar for it in this instalment. But you would appreciate how important it is for one of the characters to be there.
One thing that didn’t make a lot of sense to me was that Dallas was profiling the killer’s victims as loving family men with high powered careers who would do anything for their families and her mind didn’t immediately leap to Leonardo and Mavis?
In any case I loved the banter between Dallas and Peabody and as always love the few side cases that Trueheart and Baxter do. It makes the whole thing seem more rounded.
Also when Dallas finally gets her people in interrogation, I love the way she sets them up to knock them down. The dialogue is so punchy and realistic, I love it.
Downside is the motivation of the villains was flaky and the guys themselves were pretty much forgettable.
In Death number 47 is mid-way and I hope that the next one picks up again. I shall be reading it as soon as It’s released in any case.