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

judgmentI don’t know if I’m ever going to get used to this hour-long lunch break business.  For the past forever, “lunch” has been something hurriedly scarfed down between customer interactions or manager shifts, usually in a darkened corner of the work luncheonette, eyes constantly shifting around looking for the next interruption, the same way a squirrel searches its surroundings for predators while it’s gnawing on his acorn. So the fact that I get a legally-mandated break for lunch that must be sixty minutes in duration and – here’s the best part – people feel bad when they interrupt me while I’m on it – this is an awesome thing. Even awesomer? The fact that I bring a notebook and write during my lunch break (because I’m not allowed to use my government-issued computer for anything but work, but that’s okay – I’ve forgotten the feel of writing long-hand). I can’t wait until my reviews are caught up and I can work on my novel.

I managed to finish Judgment in Death just under the wire on June 30, so I have now finished three books in the month of June. And before I get into the meat of this, let’s acknowledge that we are at the halfway part of 2014, and I had set myself some goals for this year, so: how am I doing?

If y’all recall, 2013 was a shitty year in terms of quantity: I only finished 27 books last year. My primary goal for 2014 was to read 30 books by December 31, 2014, or at worst, at least 28 – I do not want to keep declining in the number of books I read. That is a sad, horrible, awful trend and it should not be allowed to continue.

By my count, Judgment in Death is the sixteenth book I have finished reading year-to-date. By this time last year, I had only read fourteen books, so so far I’m two books up on myself from last year. In addition, my sixteenth book I read last year was Dear Old Dead, which I finished at the end of July, so I’m also a month ahead of where I was last year. I estimate that I am now on track to hit thirty books by the end of the year! Huzzah!

Also, according to WordPress, this is the 200th post I’ve made since That’s What She Read’s inception. Please note, that does not mean that Judgment in Death is the 200th book I’ve read since this website’s inception – because yes, I went back and counted. Not counting any “I Wants This!” posts, end-of-year recaps, or any pre-reviews I’ve done as part of The Collaborators! series with Erica, or even Jen’s book review or the Game of Thrones Project posts, this is my … well, I’m now typing this entry from my longhand scrawl from yesterday’s lunch break, but I”m currently at my parents’ house for the Fourth of July so I don’t have my numbers with me. As much as I love to be accurate, I’m going to have to guess that this book is around #186 or so.

Fear not – I have a very special book planned for #200.

(And no, Sarah, because I’m sure you’re gonna say something, it is not the novelization of Hobo With a Shotgun. Shut up.)

OKAY, so, let me talk about the book.

Judgment in Death is the eleventh book in the In Death series, and I believe this book gives us our first real fight between Eve and Roarke. We’ve seen minor skirmishes before, but in this book, they go entire chapters without talking.

As per usual, the case that Eve lands ends up involving Roarke. Unlike previous cases, however, Roarke becomes more involved than merely owning the building where the murder occurred (although that’s how it starts). A cop was working undercover at Roarke’s club, and in the investigation, Eve discovers there may be a tie to one of Roarke’s old business partners – one he had broken ties with over ten years ago when Roarke decided to become legitimate. Eve tells Roarke how she wants to go after the guy (and it’s been a week since I finished reading the book and can no longer recall the name of the character, and I’m just lazy enough that even though I can see the book in the chair across from me, I’m not going to get up to double-check). Roarke “allows” her to go after him, but not without telling him exactly how she intends to go after him, and warns her to involve him every step of the way, because he knows how dangerous this guy is.

Eve, being Eve, does nothing of the sort – not to piss Roarke off, but to keep him un-involved out of concern for his safety. When Roarke finds out that not only did she interrogate the guy without his knowledge, but then was also threatened by the guy, well – he gets right pissed.

Because the murder victim was a cop, Internal Affairs gets involved. We meet Webster, who apparently had a one-night stand with Eve pre-Roarke, and Webster keeps trying to help Eve in her case without trying to look like an IA cop giving information. There’s a fight between Roarke and Webster over Eve which seems kind of superfluous, but it make sense in the cadence of the plot.

In the end, the case o’ the week (as it were) doesn’t really matter – the main issue Eve is dealing with is still trying to figure out how to be a married woman. Marriage is a difficult partnership for Eve, only because she’s lived practically her entire life alone. But she loves Roarke and strives to be a good partner for him, and the fight they have only reinforces their union.

Oh, and they catch the bad guy, too.

Grade for Judgment in Death: 2 stars

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