Thursday, November 26

Review: Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb

The book being reviewed today is part of one of the longest series being written in the romance field. Seriously, if someone had told me that I'd still be hooked after 35 books, I'd be very doubtful. Let see, I made it to book #6/7 in the Stephanie Plums series, book #15 of the Dark Hunter series before giving up/being more selective. So yes, 35 books in the In Death series and I'm still loving it. I do admit that around book #20 (Divided/Visions in Death), I did consider stopping... but Ms Roberts just came back strong afterwards.

So what is so special about this series? Aside from great characters, well developed relationships, good plots and excellent writing? I don't know LOL. You can't help but love Eve, be drawn to Roarke and be curious and interested in their relationship and what the future holds for them and their friends :D

Today, joining me for this buddy review is Tabitha, from Tabz, Just another Readeraholic :) Tabz has been around blogland for a while, but has only recently started her own blog... and good thing she did, because I didn't know that she was a fan of this series too!! :) When I saw that she was eagerly waiting for Kindred in Death, I asked her if she was interested to buddy review it with me... and she was :D

A big hand of applause for Tabz's first buddy review :D

***Warning: Review contains spoilers!***

Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in November 2009 (HC)

When the newly promoted captain of the NYPSD and his wife return a day early from their vacation, they were looking forward to spending time with their bright and vivacious sixteen-year-old daughter who had stayed behind.

Not even their worst nightmares could have prepared them for the crime scene that awaited them instead. Brutally murdered in her bedroom, Deena's body showed signs of trauma that horrified even the toughest of cops; including our own Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who was specifically requested by the captain to investigate.

When the evidence starts to pile up, Dallas and her team think they are about to arrest their perpetrator; little do they know yet that someone has gone to great lengths to tease and taunt them by using a variety of identities. Overconfidence can lead to careless mistakes. But for Dallas, one mistake might be all she needs to bring justice.
Genre: romantic suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death series, book #35

The Story: Eve and Peabody thought that after the last case in Promises in Death involving the death of a colleague, it could not get worse. They were wrong. In Kindred in Death, Eve finds herself primary on top priority and very delicate case: the murder of the newly promoted captain of the NYPSD's daughter. It's not only who she was: a vibrant teenager with great dreams, but also how she was killed: beaten, tortured and repeatedly raped before being choked to death. Now it's up to Eve to find out who and why.

After some work, Eve and her team find out that the homicide is related to a case the new captain worked on years ago. Then, when the second body is found, Eve quickly realizes that they have to work against the watch to find out the killer... because he has many more victims line up.

Tabitha: Hey Nath! How did you like it?

Nath: Overall? I thought Kindred in Death was pretty good and I enjoyed it :)

The thing that surprised me most when I read the synopsis was that the case was so closely related to cops again, especially after the events of Promises in Death. I was worried that it'd be a bit redundant, but it turned out to be an interesting case.

Tabitha: I enjoyed the novel too but some things were off with this book. Some behaviors and comments appeared too formulaic, for lack of a better word? No, maybe redundant is the better word? Especially the opening scene when Eve and Roarke were relaxing on her day off. Maybe not exact scenes in previous books but similarities.

Nath: You think that opening scene was redundant? I thought it was actually a nice change, to see Eve and Roarke enjoy a day off. Although I think I know what you mean... Although the settings were different, the scene felt familiar because of their action and the writing... But that's inevitable after 35 books! I think it's actually a good thing because it keeps this consistency in Eve and Roarke's characters. Plus, what do you want them to do? LOL I mean, as a married couple with healthy libido... :P

Tabitha: No, the scene itself was not redundant. I like Roarke/Eve moments together. It was the way it was written, something, was familiar. I can't point my finger on it. But then again I can barely recall what I read from last week so...maybe I'm just imagining things? haha

Another thing is that I found Kindred in Death to be similar to both Promises in Death and Judgment in Death. KiD is more focused on the case than on the relationship of Eve and Roarke as similar to Promises; while the connection to how the victims were picked parallels Judgment.

Nath: Yes, there were some similarities between KiD and PiD, but it wasn't a bad thing - it could have been far more redundant.

In Death books usually fall into two categories: 1) more case-focused and 2) more relationship-focus. Everyone loves the relationship-focused books, but seriously, how many argument/fight/discovery can Eve and Roarke go through?

Tabitha: I like both type of categories. I've always preferred to watch crime TV shows so the more case-focus books gives me just as much pleasure as the relationship-focus. The cop killer theme is similar to JiD but I just realized something...I got the wrong author mixed up! It was in Karen Rose's Count to Ten and how the victims were connected that gave me pause in similarity. The villain targeted people he believes wronged him and his family.

Nath: I enjoy both too :) I just think though it's more realistic to have more books case-focused than relationship-focus :D It'd be tedious if something happened to the relationships (either Eve/Roarke, Louise/Charles, Peabody/McNab, etc.) in every book, especially given the timeline of the series. In the books, from Naked in Death up to now, a bit more than 2 years have gone by, right? For readers, it's been long, but for the characters, not really. To see so much growth already in the characters (Peabody/McNab relationship, etc.), it's pretty impressive.

I have to admit, Judgment in Death is one that I've only skimmed, so I wouldn't be able to tell you how similar they are to one another, although if I remember correctly, JiD was internal no?

And LOL, we read too many books, Tabz! It's no wonder we get authors and books mix up. However, you're right, in Count to Ten and Kindred in Death, both killers were seeking revenge against people they believed have "wronged" them. Although there are still some differences. In Count to Ten, the killer was definitively bad and psychotic. He was already hurting people before he decided to take revenge (all those women he raped), etc. Also, in Count to Ten, there was a trigger to the killer's action... which I thought was missing in this book.

Anyway, you know what they say right? Great minds think alike... I guess twisted minds do too ^_^;

Tabitha: Yes, JiD was internal. It was the fact that the murdered victim involved a cop / his family and the emphasis on the search for a cop killer, so to speak, was the similarity that ding for me.

Yep, definitely, the killer was twisted. The order of how the victims were selected is was really unique and I find it amazing how Eve was able to pick up on that. In fact, it astounds me altogether how she fit all the clues and narrow on one suspect considering how far back she had to search to find the case. By the way, do cops and social workers really have such good memories? Okay, cops should have a good memory but social workers? I can barely remember what I did last week versus something that happened last year or five years ago. Geez.

Nath: It's really great to see Eve's mind at work, that's why the In Death books are so successful in my opinion. I mean, besides the relationship. What I like most about the In Death series is that the clues are not too convenient. Like the characters don't always get lucky or get strikes of genius or stuff like that. I mean, sometimes, yes, they do get lucky... like in this one, they got two witnesses that saw the subject. However, a lot of time, it's based on investigative work.

And yes, I do believe that some people such as cops and social workers have such good memory. Especially cops. I mean, in their line of work, it's important for them to pay attention to details and stuff. Also, they deal with people and people can make a very strong impression. It just depends on line of work... Do I remember how my gel looked 2 months ago or how much yield I got? No. But then, my gels never spoke to me. I never had to "break" my yield.

Tabitha: Lol, you’re right. If cops don’t have a good memory and pay attention to details, they wouldn’t be able to do their job right.

So, I find the way Eve's mind work is hilarious. Her comment when she saw someone dressed up as a peace sign on Peace Day? Funny. Then her reaction to the "noise" when she and Roarke were in Alabama had me cracking up even more. It was so typical of Eve to make more out of a frog ribbiting. haha

Another thing I found Kindred in Death unique is that NR was able to combine the pasts of all three people into one case. It is not as heartbreaking anymore for me when Eve reenact a crime scene that involves rape because it’s been used frequently in recent books. Another frequency is the dreams -- though not as frequent in Kindred in Death.

Nath: Actually, this was one of my issues with this book. I do agree that Ms. Roberts combined the past of Eve, Roarke and Summerset well in this book with the case, but at the same time, I felt she was trying a bit too hard to reach out to all the characters. First, the nature of the case made Eve's past resurfaced, but also, it stirred up some old memories in Roarke and Summerset's past about Magdalena. I don't know, I just felt it was too much for one book. Also, she gave the readers updates on all the "recurring" past characters, which is weird since we haven't heard from many in a few books. It just seemed to me she was trying too hard with only one book and missed the opportunity to make it more powerful.

My other complaint is about Darrin's motive for seeking revenge - I just don't get it. Or perhaps, I should say, Vance's motive for all this. I mean, I understand that Darrin's been brainwashed by his father and would seek revenge in his twisted mind... But why did Vance agree to let Darrin takes revenge? It doesn't seem to me that he loved his wife. Also, wouldn't he lose something if Darrin was arrested?

Tabitha: I don't get either why Vance allowed Darrin to take revenge but I think I can picture how it came about. Darrin probably wondered what happened to his mother and Vance had to reinvent his version of the story in order to avert any blame off of him. And I think the more a curious little boy push for answers; the easier it was for Vance to vindicate someone else. You know, the more complex the situation the easier it is to shift blames away from him as it would be too far out of his hands to do anything. I can't say that Vance thought about being caught. He probably figured he's a pro doing it for so many years now. Besides, he had money hidden away so even if Darrin was arrested he would still be comfortable financially. And maybe he would be able to find someone else to mold as another Darrin?

Nath: Oh, I understand what happened to Darrin. I'm not questioning his motives really. It's more the father. Why trained/turned your son into a killer. What benefit does that bring to you?

Tabitha: The power and satisfaction of being able to "create" a certain person and to mold that person to doing what he wants? Some people get off on that stuff. Also, Vance may not have cared for his wife but she did bring him money and because the cops put her away they "ruined" her, so to speak, because she did come out of a jail a harsher person.

Nath: I don't think Vance cared if she was changed after her time in prison. As long as she was able to work for him, he was fine. She didn't die because she was ruined in prison, she died because he betrayed her.

While the case was interesting, I have to say that the strength of this book was once again the interactions between the characters. For example, it was fun to see the difference in personalities between Eve and Peabody. LOL :) Peabody being sooo girly, always going on a diet and stuff. It's funny.

Tabitha: I really love Eve and Peabody's interactions. I like to think that their personalities complement each other, almost like opposites attract in a relationship. Despite seeing all the crazy stuff since being Eve's partner, Peabody hasn't lost her personality and I think that helps lighten Eve a bit.

Oh! And another thing I found funny is when Roarke and McNabb both yelled at Eve when she interrupted them while they were working their computer magic.

Nath: LOL, funny scene indeed. Always fun to see Roarke's geeky side! Peabody sure hasn't lost her personality. Actually, it seemed to have expanded LOL :)

Last month, I re-read a couple of In Death books and it was great to re-visit them in the early days :) You can see how much most the characters have grown. LOL, you know one person I want to see? Feeney's wife! LOL :)

While re-reading the books, I was actually wondering about some recurring characters that we haven't seen in a while... like Jaime. So it was weird to see him suddenly appearing in this novel. Weird, but in a good way. I love Jaime, he's so funny and adds a nice touch to this cast. One of my favorite pairing in the series, Charles and Louise, has finally tied the knot. I was also glad to get news from other characters such as the reconstituted DeBlass family (Richard, Elise, Kevin and Nikki). However, to see Ms. Roberts allude to so many characters... Did you have the feeling that she was wrapping up some loose ends? I wonder if it's a sign that perhaps Ms Roberts is going to wrap up the series in the near future?

Tabitha: Noooo, take that back please. The series is NOT ending in the near future. Like you, this is the only series that have me so hooked after so many books so I don’t want to see it end yet. It hasn’t even been 2 years since I discovered the series! Lol.

I like the recurring characters but to be honest, I can't recall who Elise and Nikki are. I like that we got to see Jamie again because he made such an impression on me in the previous novels. But as for Charles and Louise, I wasn't really excited to read about their wedding. I guess because they're too tame -- too normal as compared to how Eve is? Lol, if that makes sense. But there were so little scenes with McNabb and Peabody. I guess with the case being a high priority one, everything and everyone had to be serious and busy working the case.

Nath: I don't think it's a matter of the case being a high priority one, but more being realistic and balancing all the characters' "screentime" well. McNabb and Peabody had had a lot of time in the past books. I think a mistake Ms Roberts did was dragged Charles and Louise's engagement and wedding a bit too long. As a result, it lost a bit of the excitement.

I was so glad to see Jaime! It amuses me to see Roarke trying to lure him into working for him LOL :P As for Elise, she first appeared in Naked in Death as the mother of the first LC that was murdered. She and her husband later adopted Kevin, a boy that reminded Roarke of his past (in Vengeance in Death), and Nikki, the little survivor girl in Survivor in Death.

Tabitha: Thanks for refreshing my memory. I still can't recall Elise but I remember Nikki now. Her name doesn't ring a bell but the little girl in that story stuck with me.

Nath: LOL, it's okay. They're not really important characters anyway.

Kindred in Death is a A- for me. It wasn't perfect, but close enough for me :) What about you? I hope you did enjoy it as much as me :D

Tabitha: I can't decide between B+/A-. I love the uniqueness of how the victims were picked. Btw, only three more months until the next full length In Death novel, Fantasy in Death, is released!


Kristie (J) said...

Although this one wasn't my favourite In Death book, I did enjoy it. One of the minuses actually was Louise and Charles. I just have never cared that much about their relationship like that of Peabody and McNab. I find them both rather bland too - Charles and Louise that is.
And I think it's safe to say this here - a couple of my coworkers are reading these books now too - one is on about book 8 and the other about 5. The three of us talk about them quite a bit and while I like both my coworkers - they are driving me nuts in a way. They are BOTH know it alls (two of them in one department - yes I do a lot of eye rolling when they aren't looking) but now they are both self-professed experts on all things In Death!!

Hello!!! I've been reading these books for YEARS now and I'm totally caught up and EVERYTHING!! I OWN all the books and if ANY of us are the expert - it's ME not either of them!! I'VE EVEN MET THE AUTHOR FOR PETE'S SAKE!! And I don't claim to be on them
Phew!! Glad I got that off my chest and thanks for letting me vent for a bit - it's been bugging me all day 'cause we were talking about them again this morning and listening to the two of them try and top each other on knowing all about the In Death books and what makes Eve and Roarke tick was making me want to pull my hair out. Neither of them have even come close to Portrait in Death yet!! That's where we really get a glimpse into Roarke's psyche.

And while I'm venting - one of them is now watching So You Think You Can Dance and all of a sudden she's a dance expert. I've been watching SYTYCD for 3 or 4 seasons now - both the US and Canadian version and I think it's fair to say I know more - but listening to her - you would think she helped in creating the show!!!

But I do like her - really - just not the know-it-all-ish. But that doesn't really have anything to do with Kindred in Death does it - so carry on!

Hilcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilcia said...

love the way you ladies know all these characters and this series so well after all the books! Great review.

I'm about to begin reading the series, finally. So, a long way to go for me. ;D

Chantal said...

Ohhh, I just got back to reading Witness in Death (I stopped so that I could read the new Stephen King)
It's been tad hard for me to get back into Wintess, I keet thinking about and wishing I was still reading SK's book, but your review has me excited to get it done so that I can finish reading the many in this series that I need to read before I get to Kindred.

Did any of that make sense?

nath said...

Kristie - I happen to like Louise and Charles. However, I understand why people would find them bland. I mean, they just drop in when Eve needs them LOL.

As for your co-workers, oh very annoying!! I hate people like that (but I have to admit, I am sometime like that ^_^; )... but yes, they aren't far enough in the series to proclaim themselves expert. LOL. You should spoil it to them... Ask them a question they won't be able to answer! :)

Hilcia - Go Hilcia!! It might not be such a long way :) Tabz read 27 books in a year LOL :P So maybe it'll be the same for you :)

Chantal - Kind of :) Was Witness in Death a re-read or the book you were up to?

I hope you're going to enjoy Kindred in Death as much as we did :D

Chantal said...

Oh no, not a re read. I'm just slowly working my way through the series. Witness is as far as I am at. I hope to finish it tonight.
I'm also reading The Lost Symbol and One Lucky Cowboy.

Tabitha said...

Kristie -- I agree with Nath's suggestion to ask your coworker a question that they won't know how to answer!

Hilcia -- yay, you're starting the series! One thing about the In Death books is that I prefer the cases not involving paranormal stuff...can't recall the title right now but one case involved witches, etc. and I didn't like it so much.

Chantal -- wow, you're reading 3 books at once? I find that once I put down a book mid-way through, it takes me twice or three times as long to finish it. Quite a few times, I end up forgetting about the book altogether because I bought other new ones to read. Lol.

Chantal said...

Hi Tabitha, it was 3 books, but now I am only reading 2. I finished Witness in Death last night.

I have kids, so I'm really good at multi-tasking :)