J.D. Robb and the In Death series completely by accident via the remainder bin at a bookstore. That was a few years ago, and I proceeded to read the series almost entirely out of order simply because I didn't have the patience to seek out the books and read them in order. I wanted as much Eve Dallas as I could get, as fast as I could get it. Strangely enough, Vengeance in Death, Book 6 in the series, didn't really stand out in my mind because by the time I read it, I knew enough of Roarke's history with his majordomo/father figure, Summerset, that nothing in the book surprised me. Thus, the book ended up at the bottom of my list of favorite Eve Dallas books.
Recently, I suffered through an audiobook rut and wasn't able to break out of it, no matter what I tried. Frustrated, I picked up Vengeance in Death from the library and decided that —for the first time ever — I'd try a full-length In Death audiobook. Hallelujah! Not only did the book break me out of my funk, but I found myself enjoying the book far more than I did the first time around.
Synopsis: In a time when technology links the law and the lawless, predators and prey can be one and the same....He is an expert with the latest technology....a madman with the mind of a genius and the heart of a killer. He quietly stalks his prey. Then he haunts the police with cryptic riddles about the crimes he is about to commit — always solved moments too late to save his victims' lives.
Police lieutenant Eve Dallas found the first victim butchered in his own home. The second lost his life in a vacant luxury apartment. The two men had little in common. Both suffered unspeakable torture before their deaths. And both had ties to an ugly secret of ten years past — a secret shared by none other than Eve's new husband, Roarke.
My thoughts: Vengeance in Death is one of the most integral books in the In Death series. It is fine as a standalone mystery, but so much of the book focuses on the intense relationship between Roarke and Summerset (and by extension, Eve) that it really should be read in order, as part of the series. This becomes increasingly clear upon a second read, or in this case, listen. My favorite part of the story is that it explores in depth Eve and Summerset's animosity while also showing how they've developed a grudging mutual respect. Having the background to the Eve/Summerset dynamic makes the book more meaningful to the reader and therefore more enjoyable as a mystery.
In Vengeance in Death, Eve is confronted with some particularly gruesome, hands-on murders. As bodies pile up, all signs point to a connection with Roarke's shady criminal past. Even worse, the murderer is doing his best to frame Summerset as the killer. With Roarke protesting Summerset's innocence, Eve skirts the line between protecting her new husband and doing her duty as a cop. In one of the more heartbreaking moments of the entire In Death series, Eve is forced to question Summerset in excruciating detail about how and why his only child, Marlena, was raped and murdered years before. Summerset plays such a large role in the series, but this is the only book where he is a central character and the only one that explores his past in detail. The reader even gets to find out his first name, whether or not it's real.
As a mystery, the book is complex, and features a good mix of puzzle-solving, tech work and good old-fashioned sleuthing. Naturally, Eve is always a step ahead of the reader, but that's half the fun of the In Death series. Oh, and I had completely forgotten that this book introduces Officer Delia Peabody to Detective Ian McNab, and the sexual tension starts right off the bat. I do love She-Body and her e-geek detective...swoon!
Vengeance in Death translates very well from print to audio, largely because Susan Ericksen does a stellar job narrating the book. She gives each character a distinct voice, a remarkable feat considering how many characters there and how many of them have Irish accents. I'm not a fan of her portrayal of Peabody as doofy, since this shortchanges the character and doesn't convey to the listener how sharp Peabody really is. Aside from that, though, Vengeance in Death was a refreshing and rejuvenating listen, and I'd highly recommend it in either print or audio.
Publisher: Brilliant Audio
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
Length: 10 hours, 48 minutes
Other books by J.D. Robb: Treachery in Death; Celebrity in Death