Echoes in Death
There has been an uptick of interest in the In Death series for reasons not particularly germane to our purposes here. Those who have been following these excellent, genre-blurring novels by J. D. Robb for any length of time can be assured that nothing of import to readers has changed with the publication of ECHOES IN DEATH. Robb continues the practice of her plot alchemy, combining elements of romance, mystery, thriller and speculative fiction to carry on the tradition that has resulted in one of the most unique and readable series available.
ECHOES IN DEATH opens on a bone-chilling New York night in February 2061 when the lives of very different people are seconds away from intersecting. New York Lieutenant Eve Dallas is returning with her billionaire husband --- Roarke, the rogue turned business and real estate impresario --- from a charity gala when a bleeding and naked woman stumbles, grievously wounded, in front of their vehicle. Eve and Roarke come to her aid and transport her to a hospital. The victim is quickly identified as Daphne Strazza, the wife of Dr. Anthony Strazza. The couple heads over to the Strazza residence, where they find the doctor, who has been brutally beaten, tortured and murdered.
"ECHOES IN DEATH...gives Eve Dallas fans what they have come to expect, which is familiar characters in an exotic setting...wrapped around a puzzling and exciting mystery."
The Strazzas had just finished hosting a dinner party, and it appears that an intruder bent upon a burglary/robbery had been lying in wait for them. It quickly becomes obvious, though, that the damage inflicted on both of the Strazzas goes far beyond a simple heist; there is something personal about the attacks. Eve learns in due course that Anthony was regarded as a highly skilled physician but that his social skills did not quite match his medical ones. An examination of the premises yields the conclusion that Anthony was cold and controlling, qualities that extended into his relationship with his wife, who was some two decades his junior. Given the extent of Daphne’s injuries, it is quite clear that she was not his killer.
Eve begins her investigation into the murder and assault on a series of fronts, aided by mid-21st-century technology --- familiar to our time, but just a touch or two fancier --- and, of course, Roarke, whose wealth and connections give him the ability to ferret out information otherwise unavailable, even to the police. Peabody, Eve’s investigative partner, is also along for the investigation and remains over the top in her enthusiasm for all things that are...well, for all things period, though she ultimately proves to be invaluable in one way or another. The resulting story is a whodunit in its most basic sense. The doctor was not well-liked by any means, but dislike does not necessarily give rise to murder. No, there is another factor here, and Eve’s canny instinct wins the day in a story that gives new meaning to the classic term “crime of passion."
Robb continues to do what she does in fine fashion and without misstep. ECHOES IN DEATH, as with the previous installments in this long-running series, gives Eve Dallas fans what they have come to expect, which is familiar characters in an exotic setting --- what could be more exotic than New York, four decades in the future? --- wrapped around a puzzling and exciting mystery. One cannot ask for any better than that.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on February 10, 2017