Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Death Series Reading Challenge December 2011

Interested in joining the Challenge? Anyone is welcome to join in at any time of the year at wherever in the series you currently are. See the sign up post HERE
and join the fun!

It's that time again to share which In Death books we've read this month. I read two full length novels and one novella in this series in December--a new record for me! How did you do?

Link up any In Death posts you made this month here. If you made a post on your blog, whether it be a review or commentary, please grab the link to your post and enter in the Mr. Linky below along with your name so we can find each other's latest In Death posts easily. You can also just use the link to your goodreads or other virtual bookshelf as well.

Origin In Death
Book #21
It's Thanksgiving season in the year of 2059 and New York City's top homicide detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas is investigating the murder of Wilfred B. Icove, a world renowned and esteemed cosmetic surgeon while also trying to deal with her first ever familial holiday celebration. The murder investigation reveals connections between this respected physician and extremely controversial and unethical genetic manipulation and experimentation. The genetic science and the moral and ethical implications of such behind this investigation was all very interesting, but unfortunately, it left for a rather dry plot, lacking the usual fast paced homicide investigation I've come to expect in this series. In addition, the secondary thread of Dallas' personal life was barely addressed. Had the personal aspects of the story been more deeply developed, it could have made up for the slow pace of the murder investigation, especially given the holiday nature of the story and the arrival of Roarke's relatives from Ireland.

There are a couple of very brief scenes in the book that do bring some meaning to Eve's personal life, however. My favorite is one involving Eve and her friend and partner, Peabody. After some extremely unorthodox connections between the victims of Icove's experiments is uncovered, Peabody expresses her strong desire to connect and talk to her parents. Of course having no parents or family, Eve responds with an "I wouldn't know." and states that if that's what makes Icove's victims artificial, then so is she. After a moment of silence, Peabody responds:
"I know I'm lucky to have them [parents], and my brothers, my sisters, all the rest. I know they'll listen, that's the thing. But not having that, having to make yourself out of what gets dumped on you, creating your life out of that ... it's not artificial. It's as real as it gets."
Memory in Death by J.D.Robb
Book #22
A very solid installment in the series. It's days before Christmas--Eve and Roarke's second one together--and Eve is visited by a 'ghost' from her past. Okay, not exactly a ghost, but someone she hasn't thought of in decades. Trudy Lombard was Eve's first foster mother after being found dazed, bloodied and unidentified in an alley in Dallas, Texas at the age of eight. Far from motherly, Trudy was strict and cruel to Eve, causing even more damage to Eve's sense of worth and overall emotional well being. After shocking Eve with her presence in her office, Trudy tries to blackmail Roarke with exposing Eve's past to the media. When Eve decides to visit Trudy's hotel to put her in her place, she finds Trudy on the floor of her own hotel room, beaten to death. For the first time ever, Eve feels indifferent one of her homicide victims and struggles with this for the entire case. Eventually she comes to terms with it all and of course, solves the murder. The nature of this murder and the crime investigation was appropriately presented and connected to Eve's present stage in life--finding love and a home. Merry Christmas, Eve.

Haunted in Death by J.D. Robb
Book #22.5
In this novella, Eve is investigating the death of a business man who is the grandson of a club owner who was romantically linked to a female rock star legend who mysteriously disappeared eighty-five years ago. The club is apparently haunted by the ghost of this rock star, which has everyone but Eve believing in the supernatural.

This novella was just ok--it wasn't awful, but I found it rather dry and uneventful. It didn't even feel as if any serious investigating was taking place and then all of a sudden the killer practically announced his or her guilt to Eve.

By a stroke of luck, I was at the point in this series that had me reading Origin in Death and Memory in Death in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas--which was the same time frame in the stories! I couldn't have planned that if I tried!

One theme that recurred in the two holiday themed novels--Origin and Memory In Death is Eve's natural struggle with concepts of home and belonging. With that comes Eve's attempts to figure out how to "do" holidays--the gifts, the gatherings, the proper things to do or say. It's both comical and endearing to watch her come into this new phase in her life in which there are other people for her to consider aside from herself. The best part is how she accepts Roarke as her family and her home at his side--wherever he is.

I think this is a valuable message to all of us during the holiday season--that no matter your past, present or future, home is where you hang your heart.

Happy Holidays!

What message(s) of family, if any, are you getting from this series? 


  1. Now I want to revisit both books again.

    The people that you give your heart to, whether related by blood or not, becomes your family.

  2. I agree. It was heart-wrenching to read these!

  3. It does sound like a different side of Eve, for all that I've heard about her.

    Sometimes I think I would like to read this series but the sheer size of it makes me second guess myself.

    I'm glad you're enjoying it though!

  4. I believe I mentioned this before here, but Origin is one of the very few In Death books I haven't re-read--and have no interest in re-reading.

    I am not sure I would say that it's dry but I didn't find the plot nor its devices intriguing. Heck, I had even forgot that it was the Thanksgiving story and that Roarke's relatives do show up in it--that's how unmemorable I found it!

    Memory, on the other hand, I liked quite a bit. I love how Eve has to come to terms with solving a case while not only not liking the victim but actually having such negative and deep feelings about her.

    As for the novellas, I enjoyed (and have re-read) the first few several times but the last...three? (particularly the very last one, in the Unquiet anthology) gah! In fact, I'm not buying any more of those anthologies, period. If and when I get to read the In Death novellas at some point, fine. If not? Also fine.

    [It particularly bothers me that often the events of the later novellas are just never again brought up in the novels]

  5. I need to go back and read Memory in Death, it's been a while. I like that Ms Robb covers the holidays... but seriously, only 2nd Christmas with Roarke? The first one was funny when she was buying gifts LOL.

  6. I always enjoyed how Eve collects her odd assortment of family around her. They may not be related by blood, but they gravitate toward each other and love each other. To me, family is in your heart, and doesn't always share your blood.

    Hope you're having a good day!

  7. How did I do? Failed! The whole year... at some point I just decided to give up the year and continue in 2012. 2011 was not my year for keeping up with Challenges. Thank goodness I only joined two! :D

  8. I don't think I read any In Death books this year...or if I did it was just one. Here's hoping I'll do better in 2012! And you're over halfway!

  9. Dru... I could see myself revisiting some of these after I'm all caught up--especially the stories that are closely connected to Eve or Roarke's pasts. They're so much more personal. I already re-read Naked in Death now and then. I love how their relationship gets started.

    I totally agree with your sentiment about family!

    Regina... does this mean you are reading Born in Death in January, too? I confess I read the first 10 pages yesterday and it got me hooked already! Putting it down though, until January.

    Alex... this is a huge series. Kind of insane really, but it's fun to work through it slowly. There are other readers who are much closer to the beginning (like Hilcia) so you wouldn't be alone. Maybe someday. :)

    azteclady... yes, you did say that last month about Origin. It's probably my least favorite so far, too. Which seems strange since I think the genetics angle is so fascinating. Oh well. Good thing there's dozens of other books in the series. lol

    I also enjoyed how Eve had to work through not caring about this victim.

    Hmm.. I'll keep that in mind about future novellas in this series. I'll try to borrow those anthologies from the library when I get to them.

    nath... Eve is still funny over the gift giving thing in this one! But she's getting better.

    Brandy... Very true about Eve collecting her odd assortment of family around her. It's sweet.

    Hilcia... lol! Don't worry about it! This reading challenge is supposed to be fun and at your own pace. I know how a strict schedule can suck the fun out of something, so I get it.

    orannia... Well since you're almost all caught up anyway, I forgive you for having an In-Death-free year. ; )

  10. When I feel bothered and need cheering up, Naked in Death is the first book I'll pick up and read again.

  11. Dru Ann, I know exactly what you mean. Naked is a tried and true comfort read.


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