27 March, 2013

Review: Calculated In Death by J.D. Robb

Preparing to review absolutely anything except the latest J.D. Robb book forced me to face how much I meh'd all the books this month. I didn't even hate them. We can't be friends. I'm left wondering why they came to my house at all. Go home books, you bored me.

So Calculated In Death. At this point the In Death series is like yet another rerun of yet another CBS procedural. We all know what we're getting going in. There's a murder, it gets solved. Eve has her marks to hit taped off on the floor and she gets her angles in pretty quickly. There is a scene in CiD that made me reconsider the comfort zone this series has moved to. Mr. Dallas is an infinitely wealthy guy, right? He fitted Eve out with an experimental coat meant to take a taser hit and keep her moving. He did not outfit Peabody with the same. Because she is not his wife. She is his wife's partner, she is sometimes the difference between his wife living and dying, but she is not his wife. So when the killer targets Eve she wastes valuable time protecting Peabody from a second strike instead of using all of the advantage her coat would have otherwise bought her. We could argue that Mr. Dallas (because really, who else is he at this point?) was unaware the coat would function, or that Peabody isn't his problem or any number of things. Still. Safety equipment. Half the duo only. Infinite resources.

Later in the book Eve offers a costly pair of sunglasses (one of many she fails to value but recalls stuffed into her glovebox) to a street junkie in exchange for information. She has it, it's a tool, she uses it. Eve alternates between her complete contempt for the wealth in her life (and it's effects on others) and utilizing that wealth to the fullest. Eve has not overhauled anything in her department or otherwise flashed her cash. She wants to be one of the kids when the kids are around and Super Cop enjoying the bounty of her marriage when they are not. It's as though the class tight rope she (and her relationship) were walking has become a bounce house to play in. I don't believe Eve has a wealth struggle anymore. I believe Eve has passed into the world of Has. As such, her resentment of obligations related to the cash now reads as petulant and childish instead of pragmatic or uncomfortable. Eve is loaded. Her former best friend is loaded. In a sense, Eve is now slumming at her job.

It no longer makes sense for Eve to operate as the cop in the corner office. She likes her job, her job defines her, but she has become a high profile target independent of her job. It's the Batman problem. Without Batman would so many freaks settle in Gotham? Is Batman's one man show ego driven or the best use of Wayne Industries cash? As the In Death books go Calculated In Death was very enjoyable. It didn't feel like a rerun or a Very Special Chapter, just a new episode of a comfortable old series. In Death will run as long as Robb wants it to go. There will be no baby-louge, no balancing of work and parenting (unless Eve adopts). She and Mr. Dallas will run their Nick and Nora well into the dinner theater years and beyond. I'm not knocking that. I'm not sure what I want from Eve right now. She can't win for losing, I suppose.

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