Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: In Death #42
Published by Berkley on February 2nd 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy...
Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.
Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.
As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.
I thought I would be able to resist reading this until I had a break in the schedule. Who was I kidding?
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I love this series as whole, but there are some entries in it that I like more than others. Brotherhood in Death was definitely one of the better entries in the series, because of the way that the minor detour into the angst factory is handled this time around.
In this story, both Eve and Roarke’s ties to the victims, and the reason that it drags up crap from Eve’s crappy childhood, are integral to the story and don’t feel “tacked on” for either dramatic or emotional effect.
Eve gets dragged into this case because one of her favorite people in the world, Dr. Charlotte Mira’s husband Dennis Mira, is coshed over the head when he drops in to unexpectedly visit his powerful arsehole cousin. Dennis gets knocked out and abandoned in the family house that he and cousin Edward are fighting over, and cousin Edward is missing.
Cousin Edward is Edward Mira, retired Senator Edward Mira, retired Judge Edward Mira, and no one seems to have any sympathy for the bastard, including his cousin. Dennis mourns the boy Edward used to be, while having little or nothing to do with the man he’s become. Which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t call on Eve to investigate whatever happened, because his last sight of his cousin included a black eye and other evidence of beating and/or torture. And Edward was known to have accumulated plenty of enemies in his high-profile life, both as a Senator and sitting on the bench. There were lots of potential motives for offing him, including the fact that he (and his bitch of a wife) were both pieces of work in the pejorative sense.
Eve’s not surprised when Edward’s body turns up back in the house later, swinging by the neck from a handy chandelier. The only surprise is the sign attached to the body, proclaiming that, “Justice is Served”. Eve immediately starts questioning, “served by whom?” and “for what?”
From there it’s off to the races. It’s Eve’s case to solve, and she is resolved to solve it, even as she discovers that digging into Edward Mira’s life uncovers a slime pit that begins to have all too many resemblances to Eve’s own story.
Edward and his “brothers” at Yale suffered from a really, really horrific case of affluenza. And their victims have come back to make them suffer for the crimes they were never punished for – with every single bit of painful flourish that “the Brotherhood” inflicted on them.
It’s not every case where Eve is looking to arrest both the perpetrators and the victims, but in this one, she’ll relish it.
Escape Rating A-: As much as I enjoyed this book, it should probably come with trigger warnings. Delving into the motives for the killers forces Eve to relive her own horrific experiences, even as it makes her grateful for the people who have come into her life to sway her from the same path that these serial killer took.
I’ll confess that the scene where Eve barks out just how grateful she is to have Peabody in her life almost made me blubber as much as Peabody does while hearing it.
Part of the reason that I love this series so much, even through some of the less successful entries, is that I really like these people. I would be happy to have coffee or a drink with almost every single member of Eve’s team, with the exception of Chief Tech Dickie “Dickhead” Berenski. The team atmosphere in this series reminds me very much of the way that the team works in NCIS.
But this story does have a great deal of angst in it. And unlike some of the other occasions, this is a story where the angst is appropriate, and on Eve’s side is dealt with in a way that helps her continue to process her past and move on with her present and future.
This is a case where everyone, but especially Eve, has a tremendous amount of empathy for the perpetrators, and absolutely none for the victims. There are points early on where Eve is almost angry that she has to stand for victims who were frankly a bunch of arseholes even before their true crimes are uncovered. But she still does her job and does it excellently. In the end, as much as she empathizes with the killers, she is also angry with them for not even attempting to let the system work for them.
And Eve is absolutely right. “If every day started off with sex and waffles, people would maybe be less inclined to kill each other.” Which would be a pity, because without those gruesome murders, we wouldn’t have this marvelous series.