TITLE: DELUSION IN DEATH
AUTHOR: J.D. ROBB
Details: no. 35 Eve Dallas
Picture the scene: Early evening. A busy day in work is over and you’re enjoying happy hour with friends. The blind date between your best friend and your boyfriend’s best friend is working out just fine; it is a good evening. And then you start snapping at your friend, at strangers and finally at your boyfriend. You pick up a fork and stick it in your boyfriend’s eye… and then all hell breaks lose.
When Eve Dallas arrives on the scene there are 80 dead bodies and about 10 survivors have been taken to hospital. This is a sight that shocks even our stoic lieutenant, who thought that by now she had seen it all. What could have caused a bar full of people to start attacking each other until most of them were dead? When the cause of the killing proves to be an airborne cocktail of drugs, leading to horrific hallucinations and violence, the question becomes whether the investigators are dealing with terrorism or a personal vendetta. But, for the moment at least, Eve is treating it as “just” another murder case. Assisted by her usual team and her husband Roarke, who happens to own the bar, Eve investigates the big businesses in the area and those who work there. It isn’t long before a link to the Urban Wars and biological warfare is discovered and Eve finds herself accepting help from unexpected sources in order to uncover a ruthless killer who doesn’t think twice about using excessive means to achieve personal revenge.
When I finished this book I found myself wondering about the contrast between Nora Roberts’ romances and these mysteries she writes as J.D. Robb. How did the woman who writes romances that, without fail, cheer me up end up imagining crimes as deprived as the one described in this book? How does anyone come up with a scenario like this one? I have absolutely no idea, but I will say that it made for a chilling and totally engrossing thriller. Chilling, mainly because it was made quite plausible that somebody could be deprived enough to go to these lengths to achieve a personal goal. Chilling also because chemical mixtures such as these could already exist in reality. The idea behind this mystery turned this story into one that was almost impossible to put down. Not that any of J.D. Robb’s previous books have been slow reads for me, but this story seemed to take the level of tension up a few notches.
Of course, all the regular elements that make me love this series so much were very much present in this book too. The interaction between Eve and the world around her; the relationship between Roarke and his at times stubborn wife; the fascinating picture of life in the near future and the way in which Eve continues to grow and get better at dealing with her friends and even her enemies.
Even after more than thirty books in this series, I still find myself eagerly awaiting each new instalment. Very often when I read a long series of books featuring the same characters I find myself getting bored. Not in this case though. These books continue to grip and excite me. Part of the reason for this addiction is the way in which the author writes. She always manages to portray her characters and the world they inhabit in such a way that they become real for me. I care about Eve and Roarke and all the other characters and view every new book as an opportunity to catch up with old friends who never let me down. It is very comforting to know that 2013 will be bringing me two more encounters with these characters and the fascinating world they live in.