Festive In Death – JD Robb
Christmas came early when I found Festive In Death in the bookshop mid September. Having grudged the influx of Christmas books that seem to be appearing (far too early for my liking) I grabbed this particular title with not a qualm about the date.
Festive in Death is the 39th book in an ongoing series featuring New York cop Eve Dallas and her many time multi-millionaire husband, Roarke. Just dwell on that number one more time….book 39! The closest comparison I can find to an ongoing series that keeps on giving me such reading pleasure are the Amazing Spider-man comics.
Quick summary: JD Robb is the pseudonym of Nora Roberts. Robb/Roberts released the first book in the In Death series in 1995 (Naked in Death). This book introduced New York cop Lt Eve Dallas – stories are set around the year 2050 but the timeline progresses through the novels.
I would urge all new/potential readers not to be put off by the futuristic setting. These are fantastic crime novels, great police procedurals and for the long term reader provide a rich supporting cast that enhance the depth of the world that Robb has created. There are references to futuristic tech, fashion and transport but it never feels forced and you can accept the majority of the concepts without suspending too much belief.
Festive in Death is a proper ‘whodunnit’ with a killer revealed at the end of the book. Robb does like to vary the story style and will frequently reveal the murderer at the outset of a novel and let us watch Dallas close the net on the killer.
In this book, however, Dallas is asked to ‘stand’ for someone she does not like. A predator that took advantage of vulnerable women and abused their trust. But despite how he lived his life, solving the riddle of his death is with Dallas and she will get to the truth.
As the title suggests this tale plays out over the Holiday season, much of the focus is on Dallas, Roarke and their friends. The trade off for the cosy festive read is that Eve does not get exposed to the peril that arises in other stories and her investigation is methodical rather than dynamic. Not to say that this is not a good story, it just seems more aimed at the long term fan rather than attempting to draw in a new reader.
I suppose, however, that by book 39 Robb does not need to put her characters through the wringer every single outing and we can enjoy a character driven story. As a long term fan, who has read each book in the series more than once, I enjoyed Festive in Death for what it was: another great read from a master storyteller.