Creation in Death
by J.D. Robb
Review by Paul Haggerty
Putnam Adult Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780399154362
Date: 06 November 2007 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Creation in Death marks the 25th novel in the Eve Dallas mystery series. Eve and her husband Roarke are spending a quiet night at home when they're unpleasantly interrupted by a call from work. It is said the past creates the future, and this is certainly the case here. Responding to the discovery of a woman's body in a city park, Eve and her colleagues at the NYPSD are reunited with a nightmare from the past. Nine years earlier, a murderer dubbed "The Groom" by the press brutally tortured and killed four women in two weeks time, and then vanished. The murders were never solved and the cops that worked the case have never forgotten. Now he's back and Eve is not about to let him get away a second time.
The original Groom murders occurred long before Eve ever met Roarke. Then she was a just another rookie cop, being trained by her mentor, Ryan Feeney, and now the roles are reversed. Feeney heads the Electronic Detectives Division, but Eve is the Investigator in charge. The victim was an employee of Roarke's, and Eve doesn't think that's a coincidence. Based on the Groom's M.O., another victim has already been selected, and a third will be taken soon. There's little time to waste if they want to get them back alive, every hour means more torture, and the possibility of death. Time is not on their side, but all they can do is their best. They didn't manage to find the murderer last time, and there's no guarantee they will this time. However, technology has improved since last time, fresh eyes are looking at the evidence, and even the best criminal makes mistakes. And it only takes one miscalculation for Eve to get on the Groom's trail, and once there she'll follow it wherever it might lead. And it rarely leads anywhere good.
The team is large, the stakes are high, and the stress is close to lethal. Her relationships with her friends and fellow cops are strained and Eve's never quite sure what to do about any relationship that doesn't involve arresting people. Her friend Mavis is scared to go outside, her friend Trina may have actually met the murderer, and Roarke is taking the case very personally. He may not have known the victims, but they worked for him, and that make them his. And woe betide anyone that dares hurt what is his.
This is another one of J.D. Robb's cases where the identity of the murderer isn't really as important as finding out why he's doing what he's doing? The real story is, as always, about Eve and those closest to her. How will they react to the situation that's forced upon them? The younger characters approach the situation as they would any serious investigation, but the older ones have a personal stake. Captain Feeney has to deal with the fact that he's now second fiddle whereas his student is in charge. While he knows this intellectually, and even approves of the logic, the emotions are never quite so compliant. Eve is tenacious as usual; even to the point of overtaxing herself, which even she knows isn't good. Roarke, who has for most of his life simply bulldozed his way through any obstacle, finds himself hampered by the necessity of being an upstanding citizen and good husband, which is frustrating, no matter that he accepted this life by marrying a cop.
The best thing about an Eve Dallas story is that no matter how many dozens have come before, the story will always be fresh and new, with bad jokes, friendly characters, disgusting villains, and characters will real human flaws.