Thursday, March 24

Review: Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb

Another week, another review! Let's hope we can continue this trend LOL. This week, I thank Leslie for joining me to buddy review the newest In Death book :) Ames, when do you think you will catch up? :P

*Warning: The are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!*

Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in February 2011

Detective Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, are following up on a senseless crime-an elderly grocery owner killed by three stoned punks for nothing more than kicks and snacks. This is Peabody's first case as primary detective-good thing she learned from the master.

But Peabody soon stumbles upon a trickier situation. After a hard workout, she's all alone in the locker room when the gym door clatters open; and-while hiding inside a shower stall trying not to make a sound-she overhears two fellow officers, Garnet and Oberman, arguing. It doesn't take long to realize they're both crooked-guilty not just of corruption but of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve's husband, Roarke, are trying to get the hard evidence they need to bring the dirty cops down-knowing all the while that the two are willing to kill to keep their secret.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #32

The Story: During her first case as primary, Peabody has an altercation with the killers and is told by Dallas to brush up on her hand to hand techniques. Thus after closing the case, Peabody finds herself in the station’s old gym.. and in a very dangerous situation. Hiding in a shower stall, Peabody overhears two officers discussing an illegal business and a murder disguised as an overdose. As soon as the way is safe, Peabody makes her way to Eve’s house to report what she’s heard.

It is clear to Eve that the officers in the Illegals department have their own little side business. She is determined to arrest those who have tarnished the badge... However, things are not as easy as they seem. Especially when the leader is the daughter, Renee Oberman, of the previous well-respected police commander...

Nath: What did you think of the latest In Death installment, Leslie?

Leslie: Well, judging from your grade (monthly read post), I liked it more than you. It didn't blow me away so not my favorite but a decent addition to the series. I was expecting Peabody to have more page time and was disappointed with that. She's my favorite secondary character, I really like reading from her POV.

No real surprises either. Bix was the obvious muscle. Garnet was the loose cannon. I would have been surprised if he'd been alive by the end of the book. I thought the investigation interesting but had a hard time believing that's how it would proceed in real life. Webster not filling his boss in sooner. And the fact that Renee had been doing this for 6 years and IAD didn't catch on? And yet it didn't take much digging by Eve's team to find discrepancies in the records.

Nath: It actually never crossed my mind that Peabody would have more page time LOL. I like the way the In Death books are narrated and that’s one aspect I don’t want to change :P For me, there’s something missing to Peabody’s narration... an edge. I find that too often, her passages are too soft or corny ^_^;

LOL, I guess sometimes I don’t think that much ahead. Yes Garnet was the loose canon, but we’ve seen Eve arrest some loose canon before.

As for IAD not catching on, it depends where you look. If you don’t look at the right place or don’t know what to look, you can’t find it. Plus, let give some credits to the villain - Renee was smart, did the job and had the people at all the right positions. Also, we’re talking Illegals, not homicide - so selling drugs, not pinning murders on others.

Also, lots of little things can be overlooked - for example, everyone in Renee’s team being evaluated by the other psychologist. Then, you add in Renee’s name and her father’s reputation and it’s clear people gave her some leeway - Dr Mira, Whitney - and she got away with a lot too. So while it did look obvious to us, readers, that something was wrong and it was so easy for Eve to find the discrepancy, let’s not forget that IAD never had cause to think things were wrong and Eve knew where to look.

For me, the reason why the grade is so low for this book is that I wasn't pulled into the story. Oh, I did enjoy the book... I love Eve and how her mind works; however, I just didn’t feel it in my guts. For example, when Peabody was stuck in that shower stall, I wasn't worried for her being discovered. There wasn't the suspense, the “I’m on the edge of my seat” feeling, the fear that Peabody felt... Unfortunately, I think that scene was really critical as it set the tone for the whole book. Like everyone was upset because Peabody could have died... and there was just no way something would happen to her, you know?

Leslie: Looking back at the scene in the locker room, I wasn’t worried about Peabody because like you said, she’s not going to die. If they found her they would have killed her so, she won’t be found. Compared to how I felt when Peabody was attacked in Visions in Death – huge difference. That whole scene in Visions was very emotional for me with Peabody’s POV during the attack and then McNab’s reaction. This scene with Peabody in the shower stall and two dirty cops airing their laundry didn’t have the same intensity.

Nath: That’s exactly it, that’s the word I was looking for: intensity. That scene with Peabody in the shower stall needed to be intense, heart-pounding and edge of your seat sitting to pull the readers into the storyline and I didn't for me. Reading Treachery in Death, I felt a sense of detachment... Yes, I enjoyed the book and the investigation, but at some points, I just felt like everything was going through the motion.

Something else that contributed to this feeling of detachment was Eve’s feelings for the badge. There’s no doubt that Eve is dedicated to her badge, to her job. It saved her and it defines her... But seeing all the other cops being all outraged that one of them would be dirty... I understood what they were thinking, the reasoning, but once again, I did not feel it. Maybe I’ve read too many romantic suspense or maybe I’m just jaded, but dirty cops exist and there are not rare :( Or some people become cops because it has a good salary and good benefits. I mean, not every cop is as dedicated as Eve... and so the emotional factor wasn't there for me. This case was really close at heart for all of the cops - Eve, Peabody, Feeney, Whitney... but for me, it was just like any other investigation :(

Leslie: The outrage and disbelief that one of their own could be dirty has never made sense to me. Isn’t that the point of IAD – because there are dirty cops? I guess it’s that bond they have, not wanting to believe that it could happen at their command.

Nath: Exactly. I have to say though, I was surprised at how many dirty cops were involved, especially in her team. I don't know, how can it be so secretive if so many people are involved? And just the beginning, the fact that Garnet and Renee would argue about it at work... That was really careless.

Leslie: Yes, almost her whole squad was in on it. That’s why I had such a hard time believing it could have gone on for so long. If it had only been a few, then I would have found it more believable. But the more people who know the more likely it will be found out. The feeling that i got was that it would have gone on indefinitely if Peabody hadn’t heard Renee and Garnet arguing. It was careless for them to discuss the business anywhere at Central outside of Renee’s office. I think it was spur of the moment because Garnet was about to lose it and Renee was trying to rein him in.

Nath: Well she was planning to continue till she made captain. Seriously, what astounded me though is that she believed she would be Commissioner some day. Some people really has delusion problems ^_^;

Leslie: Renee was smart but I think her downfall was her belief that she was smarter than everyone else. She really had a hate on for women! And talk about paranoid! I'm surprised she didn't have the restrooms bugged. I did think she was an interesting character – a good contrast to Dallas. Both seeming so similar on the surface, given their positions in the department, yet so completely different in moral character.

Nath: You know, what bothers me is that it seemed we had very little insight from Renee in Treachery in Death. In the past, we've had a lot of villains POV, but not much lately. Yes, we got Renee's psych evaluation, but I didn't get a feel for her. Why does she hate women so much? Why the need for power? Okay, she got daddy's issues, so what? Lots of people got daddy's issues, why would she got to such length? The last scene with her father, her hating him and loving him, that was a little too late for me. I would also have liked to know Renee's motivations for becoming a cop... Was it her father that pushed her? Her own choice?

Leslie: I do think had we gotten deeper into Renee’s head, found out what prompted her hate of women and her father, it could have made for a more intense story. The fact that her father wanted a son and got a daughter, so? Doesn’t mean she has to be a dirty cop. I didn’t get the feeling she liked men either, just liked to control them. Was that due to her father? I’m not sure.

Nath: I know that part of it was to contrast Renee’s situation with Eve’s. Someone who had everything and someone who had nothing. However, I thought Ms Robb didn’t flesh this aspect enough for it to be satisfactory. As you said, I think if Renee’s character had been more developed, it would have brought this book to another level.

Leslie: One good aspect of this book was the pacing. There were few down times and I didn’t find myself wanting to skim. I liked Eve’s scenes with Renee, the taunting and in-you-face attitude Eve would take just to piss Renee off. She got such a thrill out of it! We don't see that very often with two women unless they're fighting over a man.

Another was Peabody’s visit to the mom of the dead cop. It showed her strength when dealing with people – something I think she does better than Dallas. I would have like to see more of Peabody and Dallas together. I like how they work off each other.

Nath: LOL, that’s just Eve :P She takes such pleasure at getting into people’s face, especially people she disliked :P and oh, the hip dance! LOL. As for the pacing, it is always good in the In Death books. That’s one thing I’ve never had to complaint :P.

As for the Peabody’s visit... Didn't you think it was a little bit corny? I know Peabody is good at relating with people, but the whole way she reached out? A little bit to maudlin for me ^_^; I guess though that's what makes Eve and Peabody such a good team, they do complement each other. I wonder how Feeney and Eve were as a pair LOL.

Leslie: Okay, I can see how Peabody’s visit to the dead cop’s mom could be viewed as corny but…it’s Peabody and she is at times, well, corny.:) She has that free-ager background that comes out. Plus she tends to see the good in people – the job hasn’t jaded her yet.

LOL Feeney and Eve. They are so similar but I think Eve would have still been the bad cop. :D

Nath: I was going to say nah... but Feeney with his orange hair and basset hound eyes... LOL, yeah, perhaps Eve was the bad cop :P

Anything that didn’t work for you?

Leslie: I found that I still have issues with Roarke's near excessive involvement in the cases. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that he own/runs so much and yet keeps popping up in Central. And the cops are so used to his involvement that they think nothing of asking for his help (mostly Feeney).

Nath: I also agree with you on Roarke's involvement. I feel that he is part of the investigations more to please the readers than for the storyline itself... and it has become a little bit too obvious. I do think Roarke should take a step back... and instead of having him involved in the suspense, maybe something emotional could be developed and I'm not talking about those out of characters' spats that Eve and Roarke seem to be having. Seriously, the "fight" between Roarke and Eve - probably the weakest part of the book. Once again, it seemed so out of characters and I found it superfluous. It didn't bring anything but momentary conflict, nothing worth mentioning ^_^;

Leslie: Roarke *sigh* I love him but I’ll find myself thinking “Don’t you have a job?” LOL Agree with you about the need for him to step back. Maybe it’s time for someone from his past to show up and stir things up a bit. That way Roarke would stay in the mix but it would feel more realistic instead of having him hanging around Central. Before you know it, they'll give him an office. :)

Nath: LOL, Roarke can multi-task and work while his wife is sleeping. That's the secret. Sigh. It's a bit unbelievable that such a businessman like him would have so much time on his hands. I wonder if he lost a lot of deals since he married Eve?

Leslie: I forgot that Roarke doesn’t sleep. *grins* You know, Eve did mention that Roarke was traveling less. It could be he’s not pursuing as many deals as he used to. Could be that being married to Eve is costing him money. LOL

Nath: Not that he really needs it LOL.

What was your favorite scene in this book? For me, hands down the scene with Eve and Bella! That was so cute! Ork, Ork LOL.

Leslie: Bella is adorable! Eve shows that rarely seen soft side of herself when Bella’s around. That doesn’t mean I think Eve is anywhere near ready for a kid. I'm not sure she and Roarke even need to have a kid.

I would say that the scene with Bella is one of my favorites as well as the scene at the end where Eve takes Renee down and the cat fight happens. I have no idea what that says about me that I enjoyed the fight but it was good to see Eve get some of that aggression out. :)

Nath: Oh! Eve and Roarke are so not ready to have kids, but that's an entirely other discussion LOL.

Well for someone who enjoyed it more than me, you do have your share of issues and disappointments ^_^; What’s your final grade?

Leslie: Ha – I did have a few more issues than I thought. My grade would be a solid B. At first I would have said B+ but after talking about the issues I had and the things you mentioned, it's not quite up to that level.

Nath: I'm going to earn my reputation of tough grader and going with a solid C. Solid book, but unfortunately, it failed to pull me in and that's what broke this book for me ^_^;


Holly said...

First - Nath, that shade of green is REALLY hard to read on this blue background. I had to highlight. :(

Second - I'm still reading the review, but I wanted to address this:

Maybe I’ve read too many romantic suspense or maybe I’m just jaded, but dirty cops exist and there are not rare :( Or some people become cops because it has a good salary and good benefits. I mean, not every cop is as dedicated as Eve

Believe me, I understand where you're coming from. And I know my take on it is a little different than most because I'm totally biased. But...

Trust me, whether a cop is only in it for the money or if they're 100% dedicated like Eve, a dirty cop offends them all.

When a cop puts on his uniform and goes out on the streets, putting his life on the line for the safety for all of us, he needs to know that he can trust his backup. They work hard to put the bad guys away, no matter the reason, and a dirty cop takes away from that.

Cops get a bad rap anyway. They're looked at with suspicion and contempt. A dirty cop just makes it that much harder for them.

I do understand you were saying you didn't feel the emotion, but I have to tell you, the outrage was 100% spot on. Cops don't have sympathy for other cops who cross the line. Ever.

Also, even if they weren't outraged by the particular cop, this means bad guys are going to be back on the streets. It doesn't just touch the dirty cop or his associates or their actually puts bad men back out into the world. That's a pretty big deal, you know?

And ok..obv I need to get off my soapbox now. I'm going to finish reading the review. :P

nath said...

Holly - Hey Holly :) So, is it better? I'm really sorry about the color of the font ^_^; We've just resumed doing buddy reviews with the new background and I haven't realized that green was so bad ^_^; However, it's changed. At least, in the last couple of reviews. Hmmm, crap. Should I go back to all of them?!? LOL, I think I need to figure out how to make the post area white ^_^;

Thanks for understanding where I was coming from. I also know where you're coming from, as I know MM is a cop :) I'm glad the emotions were realistic... However, perhaps because I don't have that closeness with cops and community and there's no such solidarity in my line of work, it kind of went over my head. It didn't reach me and it played a factor of my enjoyment in the book. For that though, I don't think we can really blame anyone :( It all depends on one's experience :(

However, if I'm not wrong, you really enjoyed this book and I'm glad for that :)

So, what do you think of the review? :P I'm thinking it would have been interesting to get someone's POV who is part or is close to law enforcement :)

Holly said...

I really did enjoy it. I've already read it twice, as a matter of fact (the book, not the review..I only read that once. lol).

But for me, the enjoyment came less from the case and more from the characters. In the last few books I feel we've been missing the connection between the characters. It's like they're all just going through the motions. I felt that this book was more emotionally compelling from a personal level than the last few.

Eve and Roarke - eh. I'm really disappointed in the direct Robb is taking Roarke's character. Like you both said, how does he have time to run the world AND spend all his time at cop central or doing cop work for Eve. Plus, it just flat pisses me off how selfish Eve is about her work. If I have to hear one more time how "he married a cop" I'm going to FREAK THE EFF OUT.

I married a cop. I know what the stresses and hassles are that come with the job. I also know Eve's attitude about it is over-the-top, and not in a good way. She's selfish about her time and that pisses me off. Especially in these later books, where she doesn't even pretend to care anymore.

Like her attitude about Sommerset's friends. Sure, she had this idea in her head about what kind of an evening they wanted, but Roarke often does too. Does he throw a temper tantrum when one of Eve's friends shows up or she gets called out to work? No. The balance of power here needs to shift back a little more in Roarke's favor.

Of course, I still love Eve. I love the way her strength is balanced with compassion. I think that was more evident in this novel in some others. Especially in the way she cared for Peabody.

As for the shower scene with Peabody - it isn't that I really thought something bad would happen to her, but from her point of view, it was freaky as shit. I can sit here in my living room and thing "eh.." but I wasn't naked in the shower. I think that was kind of the point. To be that vulnerable..I didn't realize it when it was happening, but it made sense once someone mentioned it.

I didn't love everything about this novel, but I did feel a deeper emotional involvement with the characters than I have in some time. Plus, that scene with Bella and Eve was just awesome. ;)

Holly said...

Oops, I meant to add:

With the case, though, I was pissed off at those officers. As someone close to the community, it really made me angry to see a copy take advantage like that.

Having said that: None of the major players in that ring did much for me. I didn't feel like they were truly threats. The idea that there are dirty cops out there pisses me off. These particular cops felt very transparent.

Tabitha said...

I don't have any family in law enforcement but I thought the emotions from the cop were realistic. Knowing that dirty cops exist doesn't make it any better when confronted by said bad cops. It's like knowing that bad news are coming but when it finally hits, it's 10 times or 100 times worse. And like Holly said, bad cops put a really bad name to the hardworking good cops who risk their lives to put away the bad ones. For each dirty cop outed more work and pressure is on the good cops because all the cases closed by the bad cop would have to be re-opened. Also, if those good cops brushed it off or go "hey we figure those cops were bad" then it would make them bad cops as well, imo, because they were aware of their behaviors yet did nothing to stop them. So for me the dismay and outrage of emotions show the passion and dedication of those cops, what they work for, and their reason for risking their lives every day.

As for Peabody, I wasn't feeling the emotion of the locker room scene either. Although I think it was because I was reading too fast and missed the part about Renee checking the stalls and coming close to encountering Peabody (I don't know how I missed it but I did, lol). But even if I hadn't missed it I also know that Peabody wouldn't be eliminated. She's a central character in this series and killing her off would bring forth too many outrage fans. In any case, I thought Peabody would have more voice in this story being that she's primary. I'm not saying that I missed her POVs but I just thought she would have more face time with leading (and directioning) the case but Eve still led everything like normal.

Like you and Leslie, I am finding Roarke's presence in the investigations annoying. It's just not realistic how he gets such free reign on the details of this case (and others) and no one has any problem seeing him hang around. Even as expert civilian consultant, he is far too close to the investigations for a person without a badge.

I also found Eve's outburst after her dinner plans for Roarke was ruined petty and annoying. She doesn't seem to respect his time as much as he does for her.

But all that said, I enjoyed Treachery a lot more than I expected to. Nath, you're definitely a tough grader because my grading for Treachery is more like a B. Lol

nath said...

Holly - Really? Review is not interesting enough to score a second read? LOL.

True, the last few installments have focused a lot on the case and I guess not much have been happening with the characters. At least in this one, you see the solidarity between characters :) I especially like how Eve and her officers interact. The part between Eve and Reineke - hilarious!

I've never seen it that way, but you're right. Roarke is way too lenient on Eve and she takes advantage of it. You know, if Roarke indulged and helped Eve less, there would be more conflicts in their relationship and more compromises and I think it'd make for a more interesting relationship at this point.

I know that from Peabody's POV, it was scary... However, I felt the writing failed to convey the intensity of the scene. I mean, if the danger and Peabody's vulnerability come as an afterthought or when someone mentions it, then in my opinion, it wasn't well-written or didn't do its job. I don't need her to die or be injured, but I need my emotions to be engaged WHEN I'm reading it, not afterwards... and I really think that was a key scene in the book...

Ork ork!! LOL.

Yeah, the idea of dirty cops is offending and I know where you're coming from. I just think they weren't very well written/developed either. Again, if we've seen more Renee, perhaps it would have been better.

nath said...

Tabitha - Okay, wow, I'm surprised that blogger let you post the whole thing without problem LOL.

True, true, you two are right. I guess I just didn't feel it :(

Well I don't know, I think we saw a bit more of initiatives on Peabody's part... and it was a BIG case, so it was understandable that Eve would lead. All in all, I think the way it was handled was quite realistic.

I'm just glad you enjoyed it, Tabitha :) LOL, perhaps it's because I lowered your expectations!!

by the way, something I forgot to mention, but I'm thinking now... what do you think of Webster hooking up? Is it too much? Personally, I would prefer to see more of Trueheart and Baxter instead :P

Tabitha said...

I'm surprised that I wrote so much. Lol.

I don't think Eve would ever truly let Peabody or anyone run the case. It's not the way she is, and plus everyone looks up to her judgement as they respect her opinions and all.

Haha. Indeed you probably lowered my expectations. But really, I closed this book with a better feeling than the last several books. And I mimicked Jacobson cursing's several times out loud to my husband and cracked up each time. Lol

Um, I prefer that Webster stay single because while we all know Eve loves Roarke (and there's no doubt of her feelings) I still liked seeing Roarke eye Webster whenever he sees him. haha.

Baxter in love? That'll be a sight to see...err, I mean, quite a romance to read! lol

nath said...

Tabitha - Well you see Eve has tried in the beginning when Peabody was primary, but yeah, it's just not in Eve's nature.

I'm glad you enjoyed it... and gosh, that scene was just hilarious LOL.

LOL, Roarke might still eye Webster :P I just don't know, it's wrapping up everything a bit too nicely ^_^;

LOL, it'd be fun :)

Christine said...

I couldn't bring myself to read the review as I only just finished book #17 or #19 whatever ... and I'm scared of even the smallest story arc spoiler. LOL. Glad to see the B and C, though... that's still pretty awesome considering this is book ... um 30something?