05 October, 2012

Review: Delusion In Death by J.D. Robb

*The world does not need another In Death review. I understand that.

I've been comfort reading after the trauma of breaking up with a few favorite authors. Delusion In Death is number 503 of Nora Robert's popular futuristic crime series and... ok, it's really only number thirty-something. Robb is good about including background detail for new readers without so much detail that long time readers feel bogged down - with one exception. Eve. Put her childhood to rest. Please.

I understand a background as dysfunctional as hers never leaves but at a certain point you've got to just get on with getting on. Each entry to the In Death series occurs in a very short interval of time. Because of the major changes in New York to Dallas Robb is still tying off loose ends with Delusion In Death. Stop already. Where Eve's issues were once compelling and fresh, they've become tiresome. I don't know how new readers would take to Eve without a full background (my guess is just fine) but long time readers have had it. Take away Eve's dysfunction and you still have strong procedurals with interesting side characters. Several successful tv shows have been launched off the same dynamics. People like this stuff. Go with it. Less dead parents, more Morris. Or someone. (But not Dr. Mira.) Oh, and if you tell us who the candy thief is you'd better end the series. (I personally believe Eve eats her own candy in a trance while contemplating how NY became so full of epic crazies that even Batman couldn't keep up. Otherwise she'd keel over in a hypoglycemic event before chapter two.)

Right, so THIS time the epic crazies are New Yorkers. (I live in God's Waiting Room so the idea that a pack of lunching New Yorkers would suddenly turn and eat each other's faces without any visible motivation was completely plausible. Possibly even mundane. If I was Eve I'd tell the owner they should've honored the Early Bird coupons at lunch (because lunch is earlier than dinner) and wrapped the case. Eve never even looked at that angle, which is pretty lucky since diner discounts were not the motive. It doesn't matter much what the motive was. People read In Death to visit with the crime solvers more than criminals. Stuff happened, here's why. What makes In Death a comfort read is the respect. Respect for the reader, respect for the characters, respect from Eve for the dead. Death isn't fawned over. It's a horrible thing, done by horrible people. Even if the victim is a horrible person, it's not right.

Too much romantic suspense is rooted in misogyny. Women chained to things, women skinned alive, women trapped in cages, women running for freedom only to be cut down. Women stacked like cordwood in a fictional charnel house. Here are the women, let's kill a bunch of them and be sad. It's sick. It's not what I read for. Some of my formerly beloved authors are becoming tough reads. In the world of Eve Dallas women are murdered, but men are too. Victims are often saved and when they are not, they are mourned. It's not the begging cries of terror she lingers over but the satisfaction of justice done. The books close with the satisfaction of knowing she's built a solid case that should see a conviction. I never saw The Silence Of The Lambs. I stopped reading horror more than a decade ago. To everyone their fiction, and in mine I want less time in the minds of sadists and sociopaths. I want more time in the minds of people trying to live ethically, even when faced with impossible situations. Delusion In Death was a great chapter in the series but more importantly it didn't make me feel sad when I ended it. I felt entertained, relaxed and ready to read again. There's not enough of that going around lately.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the misogyny in so many thrillers/rom suspense these days is almost sickening. What's disturbing is that so many of the authors who write those books are women (I'm looking at you, Tami Hoag, Heather Graham, Linda Howard, etc).

    That being said, this was one of my favorite In Death books, though I'd prefer more Baxter, less Mavis.