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

Betrayal in DeathAll right, this one is going to be quick for a number of reasons. 1) No one is going to pay attention to anything anyone says about stuff other than David Bowie today; it’s just a fact. 2) I’m starting to write this at 9:30 at night, and I shouldn’t need to spend more than half an hour on it, because I have to go to bed soon. 3) It’s a J.D. Robb Eve Dallas/Roarke novel – even though they’ve all been different, they’re still all the same, y’know? 4) I rated it 3 stars, it’s not going to change anyone’s world.

HOWEVER. There was something that I did want to talk about with this, so let me get the plot out of the way, then I’m going to give you some clues, and by the end of this review, you’ll understand why this is probably my favorite of the In Death books so far.

There’s this fancy auction at one of Roarke’s hotels and a housemaid gets murdered. As it occurred in one of Roarke’s hotels, Roarke is going to take this one personally. Apparently there were a couple of other murders in buildings and other entities related to Roarke, so this is just the icing on a murder cake of awfulness. Eve investigates — because “conflict of interest” never really comes up when you’re the best cop on the force, regardless of the fact that you’re married to the guy who owns half of New York — and determines that Roarke is at the center of a conspiracy wherein someone is killing people close to him in order to have Roarke’s guard go down and the bad guy hopes to kill him.

Turns out it’s all a front so some other guys can rob the fancy auction that’s being held in Roarke’s hotel, but the idea of a hit on Roarke holds up for 80% of the book, which is way better than some other conspiracy books I’ve read in the past (I am soooooo looking at you, Patricia Cornwell and Laurell K. Hamilton!).

There’s also some hints from Roarke’s past back in Ireland and Summerset, Roarke’s valet who is way sturdier than Woodhouse and who also hates Eve which is really funny, anyway, Summerset gets some action in the book too. Oh, and Peabody and McNab kind of break up but get back together, if anyone cares about them.

OKAY. SO. The thing I loved about the book? The assassin. Why? Well –

Sly [the assassin] enjoyed traveling, and had several scrapbooks filled with postcards he picked up as he did so. Occasionally he would page through them, sipping a drink, smiling over the reminders of places he’d been, and the trinkets he’d collected there.

The meal he had in Paris that summer after he’d dispatched the electronic’s manufacturer, the view from his hotel window on a rainy evening in Prague before he’d strangled the American envoy.

Good memories. [p. 36]

duomo jpg

Eve and Peabody’s attempt to track Sly also sounds very … familiar.

“Well, the profile indicates he sees himself as a highly successful businessman, one of impeccable taste. He likes fine things, and he can afford the best.”

“[…] He’s booked or bought himself an estate somewhere, with a good wine cellar and all the trimmings…”

“[A lead] for us is music. He knew the Mozart thing playing. Called it by name, hummed along with it. Peabody, I want you to start checking out the high-dollar season tickets to the symphony, the ballet, the opera, all the highbrow stuff.” [p. 135]


And then, there’s all of — well, this.

He’d prepared himself a delightful veal picatta for dinner. Often after a job he liked to putter around his kitchen, enjoying the scents and textures of cooking, sipping an appropriate wine as his sauces thickened. [p.160]


And finally, the pièce de résistance:

The kitchen was directly off to the right, and polished to a gleam. She pursed her lips as she poked into the tank-sized refrigerator and found it fully stocked, as was the AutoChef. Both ran to expensive food, heavy on the red meat.

Interesting, [Eve] thought, and imagined [Sly] Yost standing over the huge stove, delicately sauteing something. Listening to music, classical or opera, as he worked. Wearing the snow-white butcher’s apron she found hanging, pressed and pristine, in a narrow closet.

He’d cook for himself, an efficient and self-sufficient man. […] He’d set his table with the fancy china in the cupboard, light his candles, and savor his solitary meal.

A man of refined tastes, who liked to kill. [p. 195]


Seriously, J.D. Robb is fucking with me with this one, isn’t she? Isn’t she??!

Grade for Betrayal in Death: 3 stars (the extra star is because Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts.)


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