Review: Thankless in Death by J D Robb

Thankless in Death by J.D. RobbFormat read:  print book borrowed from the library
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.

My Review:

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.

naked in death by J.D. RobbAll 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.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.
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5 thoughts on “Review: Thankless in Death by J D Robb

  1. Hello, Marlene! I’ve followed you over here (like a stray puppy) from BLI. Love the blog.

    Years ago, I started this series in paper. I got about 6 books in when I stopped–I’m not sure why, but I think I was starting to read them out of order (which makes me nuts) because Borders didn’t have the next book in stock when I was ready for it. But I finally picked up some of the ebooks a couple of months ago and, just this week, started back at the beginning with Naked. I’m a bit daunted at how far I have to go to catch up now–heck, she’ll probably be at #50 in no time–but I’m going to give it a shot.

    1. Welcome to the blog Susan! It’s great to see a fellow refugee. I hope you enjoy the ride.
      The In Death series definitely has its ups and downs, and not all of them are between Dallas and Roarke’s sheets. Some of the stories are awesome, and some are so-so. I still love the cop shop and seeing how their gang develops from one story to another.
      One word of caution – don’t read too many too close together. They start to seem too much alike when you do. I think three in a row was my limit. LOL

      1. Thanks for the advice. I confess to being a serial glommer. It feeds my need for instant gratification, but can magnify any shortcomings that would otherwise seem insignificant. I’ll steer clear of that with the Death books. 🙂

  2. I did love this book more than you did, and enjoyed the hunt for this killer, and how people reacted to knowing it was him. That was different and interesting. It was just good. I don’t think I will ever tire of this series. Did you read the short one in Mirror, Mirror, yet?

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