Friday, October 31

Review: Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

For today's review, I have the pleasure to have Kristie from Rambling on Romance, Etcetera, Etcetera as my buddy reviewer :) I'm really glad that she accepted to my partner, because I love Kristie a huge deal and she's one of the first blogger I've ever met - online and in real life :P Knowing that she's a fan of the series and already received her copy, I e-mailed her :)

So, what did we think of this book?

***Spoilers warning: I think this review is spoilers-free; however, do read at your own risks :P ***

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts
published by Putnam in November 2008

In the year 2060, sophisticated investigative tools can help catch a killer. But there are some questions even the most advanced technologies cannot answer.

Salvation in Death opens with a priest at a Catholic funeral mass brings the chalice to his lips—and falls over dead.

When Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas confirms that the consecrated wine contained potassium cyanide, she’s determined to solve the murder of Father Miguel Flores, despite her discomfort with her surroundings. It’s not the bodegas and pawnshops of East Harlem that bother her, though the neighborhood is a long way from the stone mansion she shares with her billionaire husband, Roarke. It’s all that holiness flying around at St. Christobal’s that makes her uneasy.

A search of the victim’s sparsely furnished room reveals little— except for a carefully hidden religious medal with a mysterious inscription, and a couple of underlined Bible passages. The autopsy reveals more: faint scars of knife wounds, a removed tattoo—and evidence of plastic surgery, suggesting that “Father Flores” may not have been the man his parishioners had thought. Now, as Eve pieces together clues that hint at gang connections and a deeply personal act of revenge, she believes she’s making progress on the case. Until a second murder—in front of an even larger crowd of worshippers—knocks the whole investigation sideways. And Eve is left to figure out who committed these unholy acts—and why.

Genre: Romantic Suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death, book #31 (I think)

Nath: So, Kristie, what did you think of the latest installment in the series? I thought it was a good and interesting case. It was quite clever and very well thought out. I'm glad that this book focused a bit more on Roarke and Eve. I mean, yes, the author brings back the other characters, but not as much and not in so much details. So I thought that was a plus :) I'm also glad that Charles and Louise's wedding did not occur in this book.

Kristie: Actually, unlike you *g* I didn't feel it did focus much on the relationship between Eve and Roarke, although I see what you mean. We didn't see that much of the other characters did we, except for Peabody? I was a bit disappointed in that. However, I did like that Eve was pretty excepting of Roarke's past - and even used his insight as a con man himself without judging him for it.

I think the In Death books fall into two categories - the first where the mystery is the number one focus and the second where relationships takes a larger role and move the characters forward. I didn't see that happening in this one; it was more mystery focused. We didn't learn any more secrets from either Roarke or Eve's past.

Nath: Yes, you're right. The book did not focus on their relationship... although there were those dreams Eve had… I guess I meant it focused on Eve and Roarke. We just got to see them more, hear them more than usual... as opposed for them being surrounded and invaded by secondary characters' relationships, problems or cops.

I'm actually happy that we didn't get to see too many secondary characters. I know that readers like to see past them, catch up and see what they are up to. For that, Ms Robert does it like no others. She knows how much of them to include and every time, Eve and Roarke are still the main characters... However, no matter how well she does, it's fun from time to time not to have them too much. We got an update from everyone and it was enough.

Kristie:I like seeing past characters too, but I agree - it is refreshing when 'relationship' time is just spent with Eve and Roarke. We did get enough of the 'gang' to see how they all were doing though. And I'm an odd one. I was always slightly uncomfortable with Charles and Louise's relationship - not unlike Eve *g*. So it didn't bother me that although their upcoming nuptials were mentioned, they weren't this book.

I do feel like some of it is getting a bit old though - like Nadine bringing in donuts etc. What about you?

Nath: Yes, things are getting a bit old... but it's to Ms Robert's credit that we only feel it's old now after more than 30 books in the series. In which case, how can it be avoided? At least, Eve doesn't have her car destroyed in every book :P I don't know how Ms Robert could go around that though...

LOL, also, unlike you, I’m fine with Charles and Louise’s relationship. He’s given up his profession for marriage, so I think the biggest hurdle is out for them.

What did you think of the case? Like you said, this one was definitively mystery-focused. It seems to me it's been a while since Eve has been handling more than one case at the same time. I think it’s good to see her in action again.

I thought the case was very interesting. I have to say I was disappointed that Lino turned out to be such a nasty character... I was actually hoping for him to be noble, especially at the beginning. Deceiving people for a good cause you know?

Kristie: I know I'm approaching *spoiler* territory here, but I'm the opposite. I appreciated the fact that the more we got to see of Lino, the worse he got. So often the murdered victims are such nice people that I feel so bad that they met whatever end they did. I'm thinking particularly of the teacher in Innocent in Death. I felt so bad for his widow. In Salvation in Death, I felt sorrier for those who were deceived then I did for the victim.

Nath: It seems that at the beginning, he wasn’t such a bad guy. However, I don't see how Lino think he was making up for his bad action in the past... remember, he discussed with the other father how his bad actions from the past should be balanced by his good actions in the present? Well if your good actions are only done with a purpose, it defies the whole thing... I guess I was hoping Lino was redeeming himself. Those kind of characters are always interesting and attractive :P

Kristie: The more we got to know about Lino, the less I got the feeling he cared two hoots about trying to 'make good.' At first I kind of felt sorry for him but as more and more was uncovered, I didn't. He got nastier as a character.

I did like that this wasn't a 'gruesome' mystery with a high body count. While it's not going to stop me from reading this series; I love it just as much with this book as I did Naked in Death - if not more still *g* it was a nice change that good and decent people didn't meet a grizzly and tortured end.

Nath: True, true. In addition, it was interesting to see the “ethics” of this case. Perhaps ethics is not the right word, but I liked that it involved conscience. Loved the ending where Eve nailed the "real" culprit :) In addition, one thing that I liked is Ms Robert didn't go overboard with religion which was one of my initial worries when I read the blurb. I thought it was refreshing that Eve didn't push Father Lopez to get an answer... which was a bit surprising to tell the truth :P

Kristie: I was also impressed that JD Robb handled the religious aspect with, I thought, a good deal of carefulness. I'm not Catholic but I was wondering when I first started reading it, what those who are would think. But I think the author dealt with it very well and I don't think anyone will be offended. Even though she disagreed with Father Lopez, she still respected his stance. And I can't help but thinking he might be a character that we see more of - I hope so anyway, I really liked his character.

Nath: You know what, it’s very possible! I bet he’s going to marry Charles and Louise! LOL :)

I’m giving this book a B. Salvation in Death was definitively a solid and interesting case, but without the book being a wowzer.

Kristie: I agree. I thought it was good without being a Wowzer too. So while I normally give numbers, I'll convert this one to a grade and give it a B. I enjoyed the mystery angle but since the thing I enjoy most about the In Death books is the relationship building and there wasn't much, I can't give it higher. But if mystery is the hook that other readers enjoy more, they might grade it higher.


Kris said...

I skimmed the review in case of spoilers. I cannot wait to read this one, but I am like #60 on the waiting list. I have almost got hubby convinced that he needs to try this series.

Kristie (J) said...

Whenever someone asks for a book for the men in their lives to try, I always suggest JD Robb and the In Death series. I think there is enough mystery in them for guys to enjoy them so good luck on convincing your husband.
When they switched to hardcover, I decided to get them at the library too, only to discover I was somewhere in the 80's on the waiting list. It was then I decided I simply couldn't wait that long - and since they were a lot less money if you ordered them on line instead of buying them from the store.....well I decided to keep getting them. And I've never regretted it since I do so love this series!!

Anonymous said...

I skimmed as well, because I *may* pick this up at some point, probably when the paperback is released. Esp since you say it may appeal to the mystery reader more.

I'm definitely falling behind on this series - I saw the #31 at the beginning, and thought "wow!".

sandy l said...

I just finished this book and it was much better (imho)than the last two. Yes, I did get early. I live near Nora's husband's bookstore and there was signing yesterday.

nath said...

Kris - I think your husband would enjoy this one :) Why is it women do transition to other genres better than men?

Li - LOL, by the time you catch and the whole series and read this one, you'll probably have forgotten the spoilers that might be in here :D I think this is a great series and Ms Roberts really amazes me with her consistency.

Sandy - Lucky you, living so close!! I think it depends on what you're looking for in this series... but yes, the mystery was good in this one :)