Fiction: “Loyalty in Death” by J.D. Robb

Written August 30, 2012; finished much earlier than that
An Actual Text Sent From Me To The [former] Roommate: I’m in ur apartment, stealing ur internets and watching ur Netflix

You guys, this has been kind of painful! I guess I didn’t realize how connected I was before the WiFi and Jeremy III IV* were unavailable. To show what happens when you get your news from Twitter (and not from CNN on Twitter, either), I thought Pussy Riot was a new rapper from SoCal, and it took me an entire afternoon to realize that Todd Akin really is a shithead who —

Actually, I can’t say what I would like to do to Todd Akin, because by writing them down, I could be found by the government and then thrown in jail for threatening a government official. But anyway, I did not realize that Todd Akin was a Real Thing That Just Happened.

Anyway. While I’ve been waiting to figure out why my cable doesn’t work (and also, why I can’t get WiFi even when the Landlady says I should have it), I’ve finished re-watching Arrested Development (again), half of Daria, and then I have one more episode and I’ll be on to season two of Community. I’ve also finished reading three two three books.**

[[*The Roommate switched out Jeremy II and named her new one Jeremy III. Since mine’s not set up yet, mine must be named Jeremy the IV. And if that box needs replacement, its name shall be Jeremy the IV, Part II. Or, possibly, Jeremy, Episode IV: A New Hope. I haven’t decided which works better, or which version of geek I am more.]]

[[**When I was originally writing that paragraph, I got to there and then realized that I had finished the review of Up in the Air but never posted it, so I distracted myself into doing that. When I came back a couple of days later to finish this (September 3, 2012), I was going to change it to two, but then I realized that I’m only writing this now because I finished another book, so I’m back to a backlog of three reviews.]]

Loyalty in Death was one of the last books I bought, back when I proclaimed that I had to stop buying so many damned books. I had previously purchased, over the past decade or so, the first nine Eve Dallas novels, and managed to read them in order until I got to this title. And since going to the library for it is apparently not an option for me, when I found it at Bull Moose (for three bucks!), I said “eh” and bought it anyway.

Eve and her aide, Delia Peabody — which I can’t decide if I pronounce like the Boston suburb [PEE-buh-dee] or like the bespectacled canine historian [pee-BAW-dee] — are called to what appears to be a manslaughter case: a dude has literally been drilled into a wall by his mistress, after she found photos of him cheating on her. She admits to the murder, takes a plea for unintentional manslaughter, and that should be that. But Eve smells murder, and so she continues to look for clues.

Meanwhile, there is a group of renegade bombers who call themselves Cassandra, intent on blowing up key locations in New York, in rebellion against the government and society and who knows what else. (A downside to this whole no-internet thing? Sometimes I sit on reviews for at least a week before I get up the gumption to sit down and write, which means that sometimes I forget key plot points and I’m entirely too lazy to get off the couch to go look shit up. As I’ve said before: no one’s got a gun to your head forcing you to read this; you can hit the back button at any time.) (Although if someone does have a gun to your head, forcing you to read this, the key phrase is “I bought some cookies at the Safeway.” Also, who would force you to read MY blog? If it’s a dude, I’m single…)

Okay so anyway. Eve gets singled out by Cassandra as the cop they’re going to test or whatever, and of course there is a connection to Roarke, because he’s a big hotshot capitalist and she’s married to him, and there’s a chance that Radio City Music Hall was almost bombed and it keeps getting worse, and then OH WAIT it turns out — as all pulp fiction novels with two plots, especially those starring Johnny Gossamer, turn out — THAT BOTH CASES ARE THE SAME FUCKING CASE.

Also, Peabody finally gets into bed with McNab, the IT detective with whom they’ve had Dave-and-Maddie-esque bickering for over two books’ worth. Y’know, if you guys are totally into the whole Peabody love life thing.

There’s not a whole lot to talk about the plot — although it is important to note that this was written back in 1999, and the whole bombing of New York landmarks felt a little hairy to me as I read, and even hairier when Eve’s trying to find the last bomb and sends teams to the Statue of Liberty, the Twin Towers, and the Empire State Building.

There are a lot of series that, as I read them, I may ask myself why I keep reading them. The Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and Kay Scarpetta series spring to mind. But as ‘low-rent’ as some people may consider the Eve Dallas novels, for one reason or another (I know so many people who have read dozens of Nora Roberts titles, but can’t get into these – whereas for me, it’s the futurism and violence that catches my interest over standard romances), I will continue to read them as long as they remain true to the characters. And I truly enjoy the relationship between Dallas and Roarke — it’s one of the realer? Realest? Those are real words? Really? Anyway, one of the more real relationships I think I’ve found in series ‘literature.’

The first target of Cassandra is an abandoned warehouse that, conveniently, is owned by Roarke. Eve arrives on scene just before the building’s blown; Roarke arrives barely after the smoke has cleared, and he’s pissed. Eve, still not used to being in a relationship (or even in love — this takes place almost a year after she meets Roarke for the first time), assumes he’s pissed about his building. It takes her almost five minutes for her to realize that he’s pissed she was called to the site and just barely missed being blown up.

Why does that make me melt? Because apparently, one of my bulletproof kinks (as some people on them internets call them) is for women oblivious to when men are in love with them.

Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak — the movie version only, of course. Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The first half of Bleak House, where Esther has no realization that Jarndyce loves her (which is where I stopped watching — and after learning there’s spontaneous human combustion in it, I may have to pick that up again in the near future). I’m sure there are more examples; it’s a trope I adore (and one I imagine I belong to as well). So when Eve doesn’t realize that Roarke’s pissed that he’s not always able to protect her from harm, and in some ways, he’s responsible for her being put in harm’s way … I believe the phrase they use in forums is GUH.

I can’t believe I’ve written twelve hundred words about this … Anyway. Eve and Roarke are adorable together, and Peabody is so enamored of both Roarke and the relationship between Eve and Roarke that she becomes adorkable too. Throw in what could be an oblique reference to one of the best movies of all time, and we have ourselves a favorite passage:

Even as she hissed at him, he lowered his head and touched his lips to the cut. “All better,” he said with a grin as the door opened.

Peabody gaped, flushed, then stammered out, “Excuse me.”

“Just leaving,” Roarke said, patting the bandage back in place while Eve ground her teeth. “How did you come through this morning’s excitement, Peabody?”

“Okay, it was … well, actually.” She cleared her throat and shot him a hopeful glance. “I got this little nick right here.” She rubbed her finger at her jawline, heart fluttering pleasantly when he smiled at her. [94]

Also, I think I’ve never pointed out before how Eve has a way with words. And anyway, if I had? Here are some more examples of her wit.

“Do you know anyone named Cassandra?”

Now [Roarke] smiled. “I’m sure I do. But I sincerely doubt this is a former lover’s jealous snit.”

“They had to get the name from somewhere.”

He moved his shoulders. “Maybe from the Greeks.”

“Greek Town isn’t anywhere near that sector.”

For a moment he just stared at her; then he laughed. “The ancient Greeks, Lieutenant.” [93]

I swear, that’s something that I would do. Or have done. One of the two.

In yet more references to movies I have definitely seen, this one made me very proud of Roarke:

She crossed to him, let their fingers link. “Hi. What are you watching?”

Dark Victory. Bette Davis. She goes blind and dies in the end.”

“Well, that sucks.” [17]

Oh, sorry — should I have said *SPOILER ALERT*?

So, at the end of this very long, slightly rambly entry, I do have some good news. Good News #1: I am now only two entries behind. Good News #2: the next post will be shorter, because it’s for a book that I will never, ever, NEVER read again. Good News #3: The next few J.D. Robb titles I have to read, I own, so no spending money for me!

Bad News? Um … now I have to find another Lunch Break Book.

Grade for Loyalty in Death: 3 stars

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