September 12

Apprentice in Death – J.D. Robb

apprentice-in-deathThe shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people lay dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. There’s a sniper loose on the streets of New York City, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas is about to face one of the toughest and most unsettling cases of her career.

Eve knows that only a handful of people could have carried out such an audacious but professional hit. Even more disturbing: this expert in death has an accomplice. Someone is being trained in the science of killing – and they have a terrifying agenda of their own. With a city shaken to its core, Eve and her team are forced to hunt not one but two killers. Worse still – this talented young apprentice has developed an insatiable taste for murder…


My thanks to Piatkus for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

Eve Dallas 43. That’s not her age – that is the number of full novels that she features in (and there are also a number of short stories). I’ve read them all, more than once in most cases…I love these books. As much as I love them I am aware that there are some stories which I enjoy more than others – there are books where the characters are developed but the “in Death” element is not as gripping as I would like.

So where does Apprentice in Death sit in the collection?  Happily it is one I will be revisiting, a really strong addition to the series and one of the more chilling stories.

A sniper is terrorising New York. Three dead at Central Park and no apparent link between the victims. Dallas and her team have to analyse the murders, work out why they were targeted and ensure that the sniper does not strike again.  It’s a race against time novel and J.D. Robb always does these well – she can easily convey the urgency and Dallas’s frustration over lack of progress. We see how she pulls in the resources of her team, husband Roarke is on hand to lend his unique skills and financial weight, Dr Mira to analyse the psychology, dependable Peabody and even “Dickhead” the lab tech – all present and correct as you would expect when Dallas is on the case.  One of the strengths of the series is that the author has had so long to develop her supporting cast that regulars such as Eve’s oldest friend Mavis can be dropped to cameo role – we don’t need to see all the players in every book as we know they will return soon enough.

The sniper story takes an unexpected twist after a second attack takes place. This really raises the stakes and we get a proper look at one of J.D. Robb’s coldest killers to date.  There were scenes which totally chilled me, a killer without compassion and Dallas unpicks their behaviour, lays out how their evil streak was nurtured and gives examples of how they terrorised others. It was often an uncomfortable read but it was handled expertly by the author and the reading was compelling.

Away from the murders regular readers will enjoy some interchanges between Dallas and Summerset – their relationship is going to hit an unexpected dynamic in Apprentice in Death…will things ever be the same again?


Apprentice in Death is published by Piatkus and can be ordered here:

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Posted September 12, 2016 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf