Monday, March 16, 2009

Title Twenty Two: Promises in Death by J.D. Robb

For those of you who aren't Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb whores, like me, I'll let you in on a little secret: the authors are one and the same. Roberts began this series about NYPSD supercop Eve Dallas about fifteen years ago, and Promises is #28 in the series, which speaks to both the prolific writing of Roberts (the woman churns out at least two Robb novels, a standalone, and usually a trilogy each year; this isn't counting her contributions to anthologies under both names) and the devotional following that the ID series has attracted and sustained. If you're not a fan and you've never heard of Lieutenant Eve Dallas, Cop Central, an AutoChef, the Urban Wars, a police-issue stunner, or the god of all men (and Dallas' husband) Roarke, I'll try to give you a little background.

The series starts in 2058 with Naked in Death, where Dallas and multibillionaire Roarke meet in her investigation into the death of a young woman from a prominent family; the victim has been murdered with a handgun, something that has been banned for decades. Eve solves the case and gets the guy, although she really doesn't want the latter at first. She's a loner, a product of the foster care system, and the NYPSD's supreme bitch cop (and superstar homicide detective) and Roarke, with his shiny piles of money and ownership of approximately 50-60% of the known universe, is the last things she wants in life. Of course, they fall in love, and over the course of the next couple books, they get married, and become every woman's dream. Throughout the course of the series, Dallas gets a life crowded with friends, more fame and notoriety than she's comfortable with - do NOT call her Mrs. Roarke - and takes out the baddest of the baddies, book by book. If you're rolling your eyes and groaning, that's okay, but the In Deaths are my crack and I'm gonna love 'em until I die. How can I resist an AutoChef, a machine that acts as a sort of insta-cooker and lets your order up whatever you want whenever you want it? In the mood for chicken parm? Press a button and it's yours. You get the idea. There are also pocket 'links in place of cell phones - actually, it looks like Roberts/Robb was ahead of her time because a link really resembles what the iPhone or CrackBerry will be in a few years - cars with vertical lift, off-planet travel to intergalactic resorts like Vegas II, universal healthcare complete with cancer vaccines and organ replacements that put the average lifespan at around 120-150 years, and all kinds of other badass gadgets and gizmos. The latest installment takes place in the spring of 2060, because Dallas has been a busy lady in two years and 28 full books. But enough background, fools.

Promises hits close to home for fans; a fellow cop, Detective Amaryllis Coltraine, has been found murdered in her apartment building by her own weapon. Not only is Coltraine a cop, but she's also the lover of fan favorite Chief Medical Examiner Morris, a cool dead doctor who has become one of Dallas' closest friends. In addition, it looks like the baddie who set the whole thing up is an old enemy of both Dallas and Roarke, currently serving time in a concrete cage off-planet, where the worst of the worst live out their miserable lives, the death penalty having been abolished as well. The overall tone of the novel is one of sadness and grief, because if you've been with these characters as long as I have, you can't help but ache for Morris and his loss, an ache that Dallas feels keenly when faced with something that she can't kick the shit out of. Eventually she solves the puzzle, with the help of her delicious husband, trusty partner Peabody, and the rest of the cast of characters who have wormed their ways into her life and heart, but there isn't really a resolution here because the grief will go on.

Anyway, if this kind of thing isn't your cup of tea or whatever, just skip the review and skip the series. However if you, like me, don't mind a little bit of mind crack and you haven't had the chance to check out Robb's cult-forming series, it might just be worth a shot. And you know you totally want an AutoChef.

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