Seduction in Death

J.D. Robb
2001, Futuristic Romantic Suspense
Berkley, $7.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425181464
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Few writers deliver what readers want as consistently as Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb. With Seduction in Death, she scores again with a tale that revolves around a crime that could occur today, and a morality lesson about what happens when you mess with mother nature.

The story opens with homicide detective Eve Dallas being called in to investigate what appears to be a suicide, except the victim was dead before she fell from her balcony. It's quickly determined the victim died as the result of an overdose of two kinds of date rape drugs. Eve, herself a victim of sexual abuse, becomes even more determined to find the killer, who meets his victims over the Internet and then seduces them with fancy dinners, flowers, and drugged champagne.

There is little mystery as to who the villain is, as he's revealed right away. Instead the reader watches as he plays a game of cat and mouse with Eve. Is he the nervous lover who unintentionally murdered his date and then tried to destroy the evidence? Or is he an ice-cold killer taking his greatest pleasure watching his victim die beneath him?

Even though the story is set in the not-too-distant future, these are crimes that could and have been committed our modern age of technology. We all have seen the news stories about criminals finding victims via the Internet and the proliferation of drugs such as Rohypnol. It makes the crimes of Seduction In Death all that much more chilling.

Fans of the series will be delighted, as always, to watch the very subtle shifts in Eve and her gazillionaire husband Roarke's relationship. As well as watching the further development in the love lives of Eve's protégé, Delia Peabody, and e-detective Ian McNab. It's a kick to watch Eve try to ignore what' s going on right under her nose; you can practically picture her sticking her fingers in her ears and chanting "I can't hear you" each time Peabody brings up the topic. Also, long-time fans of the series will recognize two secondary characters from past books who meet and discover the joys of love at first sight. Their story in itself isn't a big deal, but the fallout of it leads to the resolution of another plot line that has kept fans on their toes.

For all my enthusiasm, I need to say that the story did drag a bit. Eve spent more time talking about the crime scenario and what happened than actually investigating it. A little less talk and a little more action would've helped. Also - and this a personal quibble so it doesn't really figure into the grade - just once I would like Eve to solve a case without help from her expert consultant, civilian, a.k.a. Roarke. Then again if that meant less Roarke, I can suspend my disbelief and he can dabble in every one of her cases from here to infinity.

Diehard In Death fans will thoroughly enjoy this story, and those new the series won't be overwhelmed by details from earlier books. All that's left to once you close the pages is begin the countdown for Reunion in Death to be released.

-- Jennifer Schendel

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