*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.Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Futuristic
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.
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 ^_^;