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An interesting contrast
on 17 September 2013
It is Thanksgiving time in New York and Eve Dallas is being coerced into spending time with her extended family and friends to celebrate the season. She is feeling very thankful for a number of things and some good and happy things happen to her in the course of this novel which she deserves but doesn't always appreciate. Jerry Reinhold on the other hand is thankful for nothing. He holds serious grudges and believes that people have been stopping him for getting everything he wants and deserves in life. This Thanksgiving he will hit back at them.
There are two narratives in this novel and the author splits the book more or less equally between them giving equal time to the thankful and the thankless. It is an effective technique as we move from Jerry and his crimes to the police officers trying to stop him. Everyone knows that Jerry is the murderer here but the police seem always to be one step behind him. Despite it being the holiday season Eve and her colleagues are going to put all their time and energy into catching him.
This is an effective story and rather self contained despite it being number 37 in a series. I think that if you hadn't read any of the others or only a few of them you would easily be able to follow the plot. If you are a fan of these stories you will be pleased to meet many familiar characters, including quite a few who reappear from previous books, but the author has not indulged herself in trying to make sure that all of them make an appearance in this story - some previous novels gave the impression of being be stuffed full of minor characters to the detriment of the story-telling.
This is a smooth and easy read. The tension builds up as Jerry traps and takes yet another victim and we are not sure if the police will get there in time or not or who he will target next. The investigation makes sense and the way in which he is tracked is realistically because of police work and not because of some sudden burst of intuition. There is the usual light humour and the ongoing romance between Roarke and Eve but the crime plays the largest part in this book.
I have read all the other JD Robb novels and enjoyed them. I did find some elements of the story here to be familiar but that is probably inevitable. The way that the story is told, in giving a large amount of time to the criminal's viewpoint, is new and effective. The book poses the question - how could someone from a normal upbringing suddenly behave this way ? It doesn't answer it, but it does provoke some thought. The author does have a moral viewpoint about being grateful for what you have and by the end she is driving it home a little too forcefully - the epilogue was very nearly too sentimental but just managed to keep on the right side of that line.
JD Robb has created an excellent detective figure in Eve Dallas and we have seen that character grow over the books in this series. Here, she is in total control of herself and her investigation (no more nightmares although some rather odd dreams). She has accepted herself for what she is and is even beginning to accept and understand those who love her. This is excellent storytelling and a definite return to form for JD as this is one of the strongest novels she has written recently. Very enjoyable and rewarding reading.