Formats available: ebook, hardcover, large print paperback, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: In Death, #37
Length: 417 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date Released: September 17, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.
Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.
Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.
There are aspects of Thankless in Death that are, well, thankless, in spite of an absolutely awesome scene where both Eve and, surprisingly Roarke get thanked for their service to the NYPSD.
Unlike many of the entries in this series, this isn’t a whodunnit. It’s not even a “whydunnit”. This one is simply a “when in the deity’s name are they going to finally catch the bastard doing it?” The only suspense involved the length of time the sadistic killer could continue to get lucky and evade capture.
I said lucky and I meant it. This moron wasn’t planning all that much, and he wasn’t bothering to cover up his crimes. He simply caught a lot of lucky breaks, until one of his victims effectively planted a logic bomb in the fake identity he forced her to create for him at knifepoint.
There’s no mystery in this mystery. And we spend more time inside the head of a psychotic serial killer than is comfortable. He isn’t even all that bright, so his world view manages to be both blood soaked and boring at the same time.
This one is a crime about how bad things happen to good people.
The family side of this story doesn’t reveal a lot that’s new, although it is pleasant to have Roarke’s Irish family come to America for Thanksgiving. Roarke playing soccer with his cousins is priceless.
But the best part of this particular outing with Dallas & Co. isn’t either the case or the romance (not that Eve and Roarke aren’t still amazing) but something else altogether.
All the way back in the beginning, from the very first story in Naked in Death, one of the themes was that originally all Eve Dallas ever wanted was to be “a good cop”. Her job was her life, and it was all she had. Roarke gave her a life outside her job, and made her better at it. Ironically in a way, because he started out as a street-thief, and only stopped the last of his illegal enterprises in order to be with her.
In this most recent story, the NYPSD decides to finally set aside the internal politicking that has kept the powers-that-be from completely acknowledging their contributions. In a very public ceremony. Eve is awarded the Medal of Honor, and Roarke the highest civilian honor, the Civilian Medal of Merit. I choked up when I read the scene, and I did re-reading it just now. It was as if friends were being awarded something, because after all the books and all the years, it feels as if they are.
And that’s why I keep reading.
Escape Rating B-: Definitely far from the best in the series. The experiment of having the reader know much more about the case than the detectives was interesting, but I hope it isn’t repeated, particularly since the scumbags that Dallas generally chases do not have the kind of minds that I want to wallow in for more than a nanosecond.
This particular scumbag wasn’t even intelligent or interesting. Just very scummy.
The cop shop scenes had some good chemistry. I always enjoy seeing Dallas and Feeney work together, and their father/daughter moments had extra poignancy in this one.
All of Eve’s angst and acceptance about receiving the Medal of Honor and the accolades that went with it were far and away the best part of the story. She didn’t want the award or the ceremony that went with it. It wasn’t until the event was taking place that she finally accepted that the award didn’t just have meaning for her, but that it had significance for every victim she had ever stood for–and not just their families, but her own. Not just the family that both she and Roarke had finally discovered were theirs by right, but also the one that they had created through friendship and love.
If only the rest of the book had been close to the emotional resonance of that Medal of Honor ceremony. If only.