Thankless in Death, the most recent installment of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series (or at least the newest one I’ve read) sees one of my favorite characters, Eve Dallas, chasing a killer (as a homicide detective, this is something she does quite often). Thankless in Death is the 37th book in this series, and Dallas has come a long way since that first book, Naked In Death. As always, I enjoyed the well written characters, witty banter, creepy villain, and got caught up in the story right away.
Eve Dallas’s character has evolved from the woman who doesn’t have anything in her life except her job to a woman whose job is still who she is, but, to her bafflement, it is no longer the only thing she is. The novels have become less about the cases, the villains and justice for the dead and more about the rest of Dallas’s live. Her husband, her friends, and her determination to find a balance between the personal and professional (who doesn’t struggle with that?).
Thankless is a good book, an easy read, and fun. However, I miss the focus on cases. I want that thrill that I used to feel when I read this series, the discovery of the killer and his/her motivations, the struggle to find them or find proof of their wrongdoing, the danger Dallas so often flings herself headlong into. Usually, I have a hard time putting books in this series down. Typically, I get them read in a day, maybe two. I took a week and a half to finish this book. It was easy to walk away from. I didn’t struggle to keep my eyes open just so I could read one more chapter this time.
J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, and with good reason. The “In Death” series didn’t resemble a typical Nora Roberts book. Sure, Dallas’s love interest is a handsome-as-sin Irishman with long dark hair, striking blue eyes, and a body that makes Eve’s mouth water. Yes, there is a compelling love story, and the main character is a strong, intelligent, wittily sarcastic woman. All of these are pretty typical in Roberts’s novels. However, this was different, a police drama with a futuristic setting in which the romance took a back seat.
My disappointment in Thankless in Death comes not from the plot, the characters, the settings or descriptions, but in that the lines between J. D. Robb and Nora Roberts have become blurred. This read more like a Roberts novel than what I’ve come to expect from books in the “In Death” series. My sincerest hope is that the author returns to the case centric plots that had me on the edge of my seat, unwilling to put the book down for even a moment, and villains who often left me with a chill.
Thankless in Death was a good choice for vacation reading. Good escapism is never a bad decision when you’re already escaping from real life on vacation. A good book that you don’t mind putting down to go do vacation-y things, but won’t hesitate to pick back up again when you have a little down time, is pretty much perfect. I was just hoping for the lip gnawing and desire to skip ahead to find out what happens next that I’d come to expect.
He was sick of her nagging.
Bitch and complain, bitch and complain, and nag, nag, nag, every time she opened her damn mouth.
‘Til next time,