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REVIEW: Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

Dear Ms. Robb:

I’m of two minds about this book. The mystery was excellent. This was no thriller with marauding serial killers, but a police procedure story in which the principal officers unpeeled the layers of a crime step by step to find the surprising and somewhat convoluted truth. These stories also move on emotion whether its Eve’s constant struggle with her past or her relationship with Roarke, master of the universe. The emotional aspect of this story was, at times, a bit crowded, a bit strange, and a bit forced.

First, the police procedure part of the story. During Mass, a priest keels over, killed from a dose of cyanide in the communion wine. During the autopsy, it was revealed that the priest may not have been who everyone thinks he is based on facial reconstruction surgery and the removal of a well known gang tattoo. Eve and Peabody pull at the threads of the priest’s life to uncover not only the “who” (as in the murderer) but the all important “why”. While much of the progress in the case is made through Eve’s intuition, there is plenty of good police work that is performed by Eve and Peabody through witness interviews, researching the gangs, and consdering the motives. The case is somewhat complicated when another well known religious figure dies in the same way.

The best part of any police procedure case is when the investigator’s own belief system is challenged, either by the criminal or by the crime itself. In this case, Eve contemplates organized religion. Eve seems to be, at least, agnostic. Her opinions of religion aren’t very complimentary but then she meets Father Freeman Lopez whose faith is unshakeable. Freeman Lopez is someone who Eve comes to respect and admire by the end of the investigation. If each investigation takes something of Eve out, then perhaps it is true that it also brings something new and valuable to her life. Her friends and even her family (Roarke and Peabody and Summerset) have all come to her by way of a crime. Freeman Lopez is like that. While Eve may not convert to Catholocism, she does appreciate the strength of Freeman Lopez’s believes. In fact, if he were not a priest, I could see Roarke feeling threatened by Freeman Lopez.

Eve is also challenged by those who succumbed to gang activity. Those who were abused and neglected found family within the gang. If the gang required them to do unspeakable things, it was worth it to be free of being the constant victim.

All of the emotions that surrounded the investigation worked for me. What didn’t work was some strange tics that Eve seems to have developed in the last few books. First, I know that this book takes place only a couple of years after we first met Eve, but my real life clock says that it has been at least 10. or something. So I am getting a little frustrated with Eve’s abortive attempts at romance, her still constant snarling at Summerset, and her seeming failure to grow. Later in the story, Eve actually thinks of Roarke for a change and does something nice for him, but I get the sense that in Eve’s priority list, Roarke is not at the top of her list. He’s somewhere around eating and sleeping and frankly, any long time reader of the Eve Dallas series knows that the basic necessities of life are mere irritants in Eve’s relentless devotion to her job. Eve is still traumatized by her childhood to the extent that she sees evidence of its influence in every case. She is starting to have vivid dreams in which her victims and her past are melding together (the dream thing is some kind of supernatural addition that hasn’t always been core to the series as far as I can remember but I could be wrong here).

I know that this is the Eve Dallas series, but Roarke has played an important part since its inception but in this book, it seemed like Roarke was an afterthought. Would it be better if Roarke and Eve were not married but still in the courting stage? I don’t know. It just seems like the effort to make Roarke appear vital seemed forced as did the parts about Eve’s childhood. There were places in the story that her past seem to have alot of relevance, but it was brought up early on in the story and it felt tired and out of place. So my grade is two fold. It’s a B for the mystery and a C for the relationship aspect.

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

42 Comments

  1. Maya Reynolds
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 07:06:02

    Jane–I really enjoyed this book. I purchased it on the day of release and finished it by the next day.

    A large part of my enjoyment included Eve's struggle to understand Catholicism and Father Freeman. I liked her connecting his sense of mission to her search for justice. And I also liked her connecting with the priest on a more personal level. Her relationships with men in general have felt stunted and uneven–with the obvious exceptions of Roarke and of Feeney as her father figure.

    The last time you posted a review of an Eve Dallas book, I commented on the formulaic feel of Eve's relationship with Summerset. In reading this review, I think you have put your finger on what actually bothers me. While all the people around her grow and change, she seems static, fixed in place. I almost cheered when Roarke refused to buy a shower gift for her. I mean, come on.

    Having said this, I think it is remarkable that Norah has maintained the freshness of this series over so many books. I still look forward to every release.

    I would rate the police procedural part of the book higher than you did and grade the relationship the same way you did.

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  2. Nora Roberts
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 07:23:24

    Jane, I appreciate the review. (Just FYI, I think you meant Father Lopez.)

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  3. Brenna
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 07:27:16

    This was my first try on an audiobook and all I can say is yikes! I think it may have killed whatever appreciation I may have on the book and audiobooks as a whole. The Roarke accent was weird. My friend’s Irish boyfriend doesn’t sound like that at all. I didn’t like the narrator’s take on Peabody either. I think I’ll stick to books in the future.

    I did enjoy Roarke’s discomfort when it comes to discussing religion and the fact that Eve would automatically turn to him when she has questions about Catholicism. And that she told Roarke that Father Lopez reminds her of him. The relationship was okay to me and I feel that Eve is improving. True, she’s always very focused when it comes to her job but she’s trying. Her asking Summerset to call Sinead was a good one.

    I guess this book is just okay for me. Not exactly my favourite though I’m looking forward to the next one, Promises in Death, which sounds interesting. I actually liked Ritual In Death (from Suite 606) a lot better. It’s nice to see some of the characters (Ariel & Isis) from previous books appear in these two books. But the character I really want to see again is Nixie. I’m taking this opportunity to remind NR/JD Robb that Eve and Roarke made a promise to her. When will we get to see her again?

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  4. jmc
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 07:43:31

    Freeman? I thought Father Lopez was the priest Eve connected with.

    While Salvation in Death isn’t in my Top 3 Favorite Eve Dallas books, I enjoyed the procedural nature of it immensely. Also, I appreciated that there was no serial killer, no physical threat to Eve or Roarke, and that there was no connection to a Roarke business.

    The Summerset-Eve dynamic doesn’t bother me, because it seems to have settled into a mutually comfortable place for them both. Would I be comfortable living in that place? Nope. But I see professional relationships like that every day, so their jibes and slams don’t bother me. Frankly, having Eve suddenly become overtly friendly with him would not seem consistent with her character.

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  5. El
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 08:54:17

    I got the feeling that, though earlier in the book Eve was having a *really* tough time with reminders of the past and was not nice about it, near the end of the book she seemed (through the dreams) to begin to come to better terms. I’m hopeful about that.

    In general, Eve and Roarke seem to have a better rhythm–recognizing how and when to help each other. It felt to me like there was indeed progress on the relationship front–slow, but there. I’m not entirely comfortable with how effortlessly and often Roarke drops anything else he has going to play in Eve’s world, though we do see a significant amount of how he approaches certain kinds of investments, which was cool.

    Father Lopez strikes me as a character who should reappear from time to time…I hope he does.

    And OMG, that cake!

    What I want to know is–how come (I have it from the library–I’m currently broker than usual–but I’m assuming it’s the same on all editions) Nora’s presence has almost entirely disappeared? No “Nora Roberts Writing As”, no photo on the back (which I don’t miss, it doesn’t look much like her), no mention of her name in the biography (though the fact that it’s a pseudonym is there). Were it not for Nora’s name on the copyright page, I’d start to wonder… (Okay, not really.)

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  6. Terry Odell
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:03:05

    As one of those who puts life on hold when a new “In Death” comes along, I enjoyed this book. Yes, the ‘it’s been a lot of real life years’ comes into play but I do put myself in the ‘It’s only been two years’ for the Eve & Roarke mindset. (And … while I’m confessing … I’ve read this series at least 4 or 5 times — they’re my ‘go to’ books when my own writing snags, because I’m pulled into the emotion side of the stories, which helps me get back on track, since I’m usually snagged with plot issues — never mind). At any rate, I’ve revisited the Summerset/Eve dynamic enought time to see past the superficial sniping. I’ve also watched the growth in the Eve-Roarke, can he really love me, and do I allow myself to be vulnerable by admitting I really love him?. I thought the way she drew the conversation to religion at the end showed her feelings for Roarke.

    One minor hiccup for me. I can’t recall Roarke ever using the term “shag” before. (I know, pass 6 through the series to check). Seems to me, people have their favorite slang/swear words and don’t start using new ones out of the blue. So I kept having to make sure it really was Roarke talking. Second snag, which was easily a copy-edit glitch was that Dochas became Duchas. I know another character mentioned it, but if that was intentional, I expected Eve to have corrected it.

    I read Naked in Death on a plane, thinking I’d leave it in the seat pocket. I brought it home and headed straght for the bookstore, where I bought the next 14 (all there were at the time). I’d LOVE more explorations of Roarke, if my opinion holds any weight. The scenes we see him dealing with his vulnerablility are some of my favorites.

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  7. jmc
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:18:12

    What I want to know is-how come (I have it from the library-I'm currently broker than usual-but I'm assuming it's the same on all editions) Nora's presence has almost entirely disappeared? No “Nora Roberts Writing As”, no photo on the back (which I don't miss, it doesn't look much like her), no mention of her name in the biography (though the fact that it's a pseudonym is there). Were it not for Nora's name on the copyright page, I'd start to wonder… (Okay, not really.)

    My theory on this that it is all about marketing. Robb/Roberts’ publisher is angling toward expanding her audience/market into suspense readers who don’t know who Roberts is (being non-romance readers), or who might be put off by the idea of reading something written by a Famous Romance Writer. If you look at the last hardback, the backcover quote was from Stephen King, saying that Nora Roberts is cool. On this one, the photo has disappeared entirely, and all of the cover quotes are from suspense writers.

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  8. joanne
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:20:17

    There may be something about writing a series that makes it necessary to catch-up new readers by bringing in some of the same thoughts and feelings from previous books. Or not. I don’t know, but I do know that some of Eve’s reactions — to Summerset, to shopping, to organized anything —is as comfortable and comforting to me as Mr Roger’s sweater and theme song.

    I think the mystery is always the core of these stories and because those are always fascinating and well done and innovative, I always love the books.

    It also feels to me that Roarke is Eve’s touchstone and the person that allows her to continue doing her job so well. More like breathing then eating. The romance in the books, though sexy and fun, is not the surprise but the prize.

    Anyway, as others have said, it wasn’t’ my favorite of the series but it was better then anything else I’ve read in a few months.

    Now, I’m going to stop posting to boards and get on with the inevitable Real Life cooking. *sigh*
    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the review Jane.

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  9. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:27:20

    @jmc: Gah – I swear I went and checked the book because I could not remember which father it was. I should have just left his name off and called him Father What a Waste (wasn’t that used in the book?)

    I’m not saying that Eve should be overtly friendly with Summerset, but that there seemed to be a sameness in their relationship.

    I think I just really struggle with the fact that there have been so many years in my life that have passed in the reading of the Eve Dallas series that I have difficulty orienting myself within the book.

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  10. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:29:02

    @joanne:

    There may be something about writing a series that makes it necessary to catch-up new readers by bringing in some of the same thoughts and feelings from previous books.

    I think you are right about this. That makes a lot of sense. Of course, I presume that everyone has read the series for years and years just like me which isn’t true.

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  11. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:29:41

    @Terry Odell: The shag term didn’t bother me because it is a British term and I figured that it would definitely be in Roarke’s vocabulary.

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  12. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:30:33

    @El: My guess is that they are trying to appeal to the male audience that won’t read female authors or female romance authors.

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  13. Terry Odell
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:52:00

    Jane – I have no problem with Roarke knowing the word ‘shag’. My hiccup was that in the last two years (or ten, or whatever), I’ve never ‘heard’ him say it before. Although I’m aware of a reasonable number of expletives, I think the ones I speak aloud are the same ones I’ve used since I was 20. Now, had Roarke reverted to Gaelic profanity, I would have had less of a hiccup; I’d figure that was a word he used to use and was calling up again.

    But — isn’t it wonderful how we can sit here and discuss the vocabulary of a fictional character? I remember when I wrote fan fiction, that readers would say, “Duncan would never say that.” And I’d say, “But he just did, didn’t he?” Nora Roberts has clearly created characters readers identify with.

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  14. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:55:03

    @Terry Odell: I hear you. I had the same issue with the dreams and everyone was having them – even Roarke. I think Eve has been dreaming these crime solving dreams for the last three or four books but I maybe it has been longer. I need Robin to come and comment. She’s got like an encyclopedic memory of what happens in each of the Robb books.

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  15. Brenna
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 09:59:17

    @jmc: Gah – I swear I went and checked the book because I could not remember which father it was. I should have just left his name off and called him Father What a Waste (wasn't that used in the book?)

    LOL Jane, I too got confused w/c priest was which in the beginning. I kept forgetting especially what name did Lino use as a priest. And the frustrating thing was that I can’t just turn the pages to look for the correct information because I was listening instead of reading.

    Re the shagging thing, I seem to recall Roarke mention that word before. Not 100% sure though.

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  16. Angela James
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:10:42

    Jane – I have no problem with Roarke knowing the word ‘shag’. My hiccup was that in the last two years (or ten, or whatever), I’ve never ‘heard’ him say it before. Although I’m aware of a reasonable number of expletives, I think the ones I speak aloud are the same ones I’ve used since I was 20. Now, had Roarke reverted to Gaelic profanity, I would have had less of a hiccup; I’d figure that was a word he used to use and was calling up again.

    Really? I use words today that I didn’t use last month. Most people have evolving language depending on their surroundings, what they’re reading, the people they’re hanging out with, and how their culture has adapted. There are words whose meaning didn’t exist a few years ago, that people in the blogging community use frequently, both online and in conversation (as heard at conferences such as RWA). As an example, I’d offer words like FAIL, WIN, Fucktard (as an example of a “curse” type word) or romance specific: Happily For Now.

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  17. Brenna
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:10:57

    Found it. In Strangers in Death, Roarke asks Eve “How much shagging Pepsi do you drink?” This was when they were arguing about money and he was pissed with Eve.

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  18. Terry Odell
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:18:31

    Ah — thank you Brenna! With the precedent established, I stand corrected. (And I still say although my vocabulary has definitely grown over the years, my go-to swear words are pretty standardized.) I should have bought the series in e-book format so I could search them easily!

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  19. Chloe
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:23:37

    Just want to put my input in about Eve and her “seeming failure to grow” and her nightmares from the perspective of someone who was sexually abused starting at age 4.

    Jane noted that in the books only 2 years have passed, while for the reader its been 13 years since “Naked in Death” was published. It’s been over 30 years since my abuse ended and I only stopped having nightly flashbacks of the rapes almost 2 years ago. And since in the “In Death” books its only been 2 years since Eve remembered the abuse…her constant struggles to overcome the effects of the abuse are very realistic. Heck, if Eve wasn’t a fictional character, I’d be kind of upset at how much faster she’s worked through abuse issues than I did…and that was with weekly counseling sessions for over 10 years.

    Relationships I still suck at because it is extremely difficult to trust after being so traumatically abused as a child, so it is much easier to bury yourself in work. I can understand Eve’s struggle to make Roarke a priority as being a workaholic allows you to keep your mind going and off of any abuse issues that can arise from a touch, a smell or words from the world around you. It is extremely difficult to “grow” when essentially you can be emotionally stuck at the age you were when you were sexually abused…my counselor kept nagging me to stop reacting like the 6 year old I was when I was actually raped for the 1st time. And even though I am doing 1000% better now that I am not having nightly flashbacks…I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully trust someone (how’s that for a failure to grow.)

    Nora gets everything right about the effects of the abuse so I guess I’d tell anyone reading the “In Death” books to keep in mind how much time has actually passed in the books versus in real time.

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  20. Brenna
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:25:39

    Terry – Yep, that’s just how I did it. Just command find and voila, there it is. I’m definitely going back to ebooks again.

    Re the dreams, I think Eve started having those dreams at Memory in Death. Now this is just from my memory but she was dreaming about corpses surrounded by presents.

    I also think that Nora gets it right when she writes about Catholicism and the guilt factor that is so deeply rooted in it. I remember Roarke mention this one in a previous book.

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  21. Jane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:26:24

    @Chloe: Thank you so much for your contribution. You sound like a survivor to me and I can’t imagine the personal strength that it takes to overcome the trauma that you suffered. Your insight is invaluable.

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  22. Dalia
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:59:39

    How cool is it that the gang tattoo appears on the cover? tee hee.

    Also, I find myself annoyed with Eve when she constantly (it seems constant to me cos, it’s like in every shagging book :P) makes Roarke ‘prove’ himself in some way or other.

    In this instalment when she wanted to know whether he had enjoyed killing, it was like deja vu all over again because I swear (on something not too important, like my ballpoint pen maybe) that they’d gone over this ground already AND Roarke had gotten angry about it.

    I know she said ‘i’m not judging’ or whatever, but dang woman. Eve must be the most moralistic person outside of religion to walk the face of the 2060 earth!!!!!

    And no, I’m not sure if ‘moralistic’ is the right term. So, fine. Judgmental.

    I think their relationship is coming along nicely and Eve has definitely mellowed in this book. She puts her head on his shoulder y’all. She says ‘aaaw’ while they’re at a crime scene. Her heart goes buhdup when she comes home and he’s there. She gets the family to call. I gave the relationship a B here (Eve spoilt it with her did you enjoy it question).

    As for Father Lopez – I don’t get what’s so great about him. He didn’t really fly out of the page for me as a character in his own right. I get that he’s ‘great’ from Eve’s reaction to him and when she compares him to Roarke, but it wasn’t enough for me to even think ‘hmm, com pee ti shun!’ for Roarke (if they weren’t married and if he weren’t a priest)

    Also, minor comment – I’m surprised the priests were all so young. After the urban wars was there a renewed uptake in the faithful or sthng that continues on?

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  23. Nicole
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 11:25:08

    So I’m not quite done with the book, so not really going to comment on it, but isn’t it only available in hardback, not mass market?

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  24. Gina
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 11:51:05

    I’m an drop everything for an “In Death” book reader also and this one did not disappoint.

    RE: Her relationship with Summerset being static I don’t believe that to be the case. The animosity is comfortable because no dedicated reader would believe that Eve would suddenly declare some sort of emotion for anyone. Their are subtle changes in how they both feel for each other and that is clear in each book.

    Eve believes showing emotion is a weakness, so she has to work on it. That she is willing to work outside her comfort zone for Roarke is a clear indication that he is at the top of priority list even though she tries to make it look otherwise.

    If Nora wrote a book where Eve was suddenly friendly, loving, romantic, etc etc it would end the series for me. When you consider the timeline of each book is only a matter of days or weeks, the entire series only a couple of years – her personal growth has been unfolding nicely.

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  25. Michelle
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 12:39:59

    I actually love Eve and Summerset’s relationship. It has really grown. Superficially they snipe at each other because that is what they are comfortable with, but they are there for each other when it counts. If you think back especially in Portrait and Innocent in Death there are real glimmers of mutual respect (I don’t want to go into too much detail to be considered a spoiler) and caring.

    What I am worried about (I have said this before) is that Eve and Roarke’s relationship was so smooth in this one I am wondering if this is the calm before the storm and will there be a lot of angst and turmoil in Promises in Death. (Kind of like Innocent in Death-one of my favorites).

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  26. Robin
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 12:49:33

    I had the same issue with the dreams and everyone was having them – even Roarke. I think Eve has been dreaming these crime solving dreams for the last three or four books but I maybe it has been longer.

    Are you talking about the dreams where she mixes her own personal history with elements of the case? Because I think she’s been having those for a long time (I keep thinking about Immortal, but I can’t find the book and don’t know why it’s popping into my head). I haven’t read Salvation yet, though I might be misunderstanding what you’re talking about here. Although I have to say that the disparities between the mystery and the relationship have been more noticeable to me in the past few books, so I wasn’t surprised to see that in your review.

    IMO there’s a real tension in the way different readers respond to the Roarke-Eve dynamic and to Eve’s past, and — to me — it feels less like the relationship is moving at its own pace and more like the books are fluctuating between pushing Eve too fast toward healing (I am one of those who thinks it’s too early for her to be emotionally healthy, no matter how much Roarke is king of the universe and the perfect lover, lol) and slowing her down.

    My favorite thing about Roarke and Eve has always been the small moments, the ordinariness in the midst of the craziness (a smart-ass comment or the buzz of perfect understanding between them), and I have had a harder time discerning those moments in recent books. Although I definitely remember Roarke using the word “shagging” before (did he use it in Divided, too?). Anyway, I think at this point in the series different readers will respond to different things in it. For me the mysteries have gotten a lot stronger but I often feel that the relationship rhythm of the series through Portrait just isn’t the same, although I’m sure some readers really like that. It’s made me a bit wistful for the ‘good old days’ of the series, though, lol.

    This was my first try on an audiobook and all I can say is yikes! I think it may have killed whatever appreciation I may have on the book and audiobooks as a whole. The Roarke accent was weird. My friend's Irish boyfriend doesn't sound like that at all. I didn't like the narrator's take on Peabody either. I think I'll stick to books in the future.

    It took me a while to adjust to Erickson’s reading the series, too. And even now, there are things I really like about her reading and things I don’t. For example, Leonardo sounding like a bad Gorbachev imitation, Peabuddy’s character (intentional phonetic misspelling there), and Roarke’s Irish Spring accent are annoying as hell to me, but I like the way she reads Eve and Mira, and I find her voice pleasing when she’s not working the character dialogue (Mavis can be annoying, but maybe that’s in character, lol).

    What I want to know is-how come (I have it from the library-I'm currently broker than usual-but I'm assuming it's the same on all editions) Nora's presence has almost entirely disappeared? No “Nora Roberts Writing As”, no photo on the back (which I don't miss, it doesn't look much like her), no mention of her name in the biography (though the fact that it's a pseudonym is there). Were it not for Nora's name on the copyright page, I'd start to wonder… (Okay, not really.

    A few years ago I read an article in one of those money-focused magazines (Forbes, Fortune?) about the way Roberts’s publishing team created this very deliberate campaign to create mystery around who JD Robb was, building it until some strategic point in the series (less than 10 books in) where they made a big reveal, taking advantage of the readers who had picked up the series and gotten hooked without knowing it was Roberts as well as those who were already part of her readership. IIRC, they even had banners in the bookstores with stuff like “Who is JD Robb?” to build up the suspense and the attention. It sounds like perhaps they’re revisiting that sort of campaign to expand her readership beyond Romance again.

    It will be interesting to see if it works again, now that people do know Roberts and Robb are the same. Although I must say that whenever I take my car to the dealership for service, it seems I see an older male customer reading one of the hardcover Robb books (with the back photo and Roberts name). I’m curious to know how much overlap there is between readers of King’s novels and the Robb books, though.

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  27. Becca
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 12:50:38

    I agree about the audiobook version of SALVATION. Ericksen is a competent reader, but her accents are terrible. I’ve gotten used to how she reads Roarke, because I’m a confirmed audiobook lover, but her Latino accents sounded more vaguely Eastern European, and nearly ruined this book for me.

    As for Summerset and Eve, I think they’ve settled into a comfortable relationship based on mutual respect and even affection, although neither would admit it. Their sniping sounds more like my kids’ sniping at each other: habitual and with no real animosity behind it.

    gotta go now: gotta go run to Borders for my copy of The Pagan Stone. Love ya, Nora!

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  28. Bev Stephans
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 13:34:00

    I didn’t have any problems with the emotional level as I have become used to it in the J.D. Robb books. Overall, I enjoyed the book and will probably read it again. The only sour note is the 2nd killing. Gratuitous and not really relevant to the book!

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  29. readerdiane
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 13:52:29

    I am a drop everything and read JD Robb. I keep all of the books too. I liked this one for all of the reasons listed up above. I don’t find Summerset & Eve’s relationship unusual. It is just how they are. They both know where they stand within their family. It is a put-on but underneath they can depend on each other to come through for each member of the family.
    I love Roarke, and he has his own issues. Their relationship is coming along-I don’t want it to be perfect because that is not how we humans are.

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  30. Nora Roberts
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 14:07:30

    Strickly from a writer’s pov–and I may have mentioned this before–it can be, well is, tricky knowing that I have to intro the characters, relationships, even the setting for any potential new readers while not bogging down in that and boring those familiar with the series.

    It can be almost as tricky to move those characters and relationships along at a pace that satisfies readers in real time–but remains as true as possible to book-time.

    It’s interesting and challenging creatively, but there’s no doubt some of the repetition necessary, or the pace, won’t hit all the notes for long-time readers.

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  31. Terry Odell
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 14:31:07

    Strickly from a writer’s pov–and I may have mentioned this before–it can be, well is, tricky knowing that I have to intro the characters, relationships, even the setting for any potential new readers while not bogging down in that and boring those familiar with the series.

    I did it for ONE book, where I wrote a true sequel and went nuts with how to trickle in back story and character relationships. It’s more common in mystery than romance, I think, and harder to do in romance as well. Kudos, hats off, props, and all the rest for those authors (Nora Roberts being way up there on the list) who can sustain it over so many books.

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  32. TroutQueen
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 15:16:52

    I’m usually a few books behind in this series – I just finished “Innocent in Death” via audio. Actually, after the 10th book or so, I started exclusively listening to them. Erickson does mostly a good job, although I don’t like the voices she has for Peabody, McNabb, or Leonardo, as someone else has pointed out. I almost think she changed Mavis’ voice in “Innocent in Death”, but I need to go back and relisten to previous books.

    I’d even say I buy into Eve’s continual nightmares and continual trauma from her childhood, as well as her relationship with Somerset. I actually adore their relationship because while they may not necessarily like each other, they respect each other and they both love the same man (albeit in a different way unless Somerset is keeping mum about something :). They both seem to get some enjoyment out of their bickering, as if it’s a contest to see who can get the last word in.

    When I look at Eve’s and Roarke’s relationship realistically, it makes sense – the need for Eve to make Roarke prove himself to her time and again, the random bickering over what seems to be little things, and even Eve’s workahlism. But the reader in me wishes they’d speed things along a little faster and move on to the next phase of their relationship, whatever that may be (and by gods, no I don’t mean kids, because lordy… I think Galahad the cat would have more clue what to do with a baby then the rest of the household).

    It’s an interesting balance authors have to find with their readers and their characters. The readers tend to expect things to move along faster, I think, because we’re in our own timeline, whereas authors sometimes move their characters along much more slowly because their in their world’s timeline. One author that stopped working for me was Janet Evanovich’s Plum series. Stephanie never seemed to change or develop as a character and I stopped reading at book 9. At the very least, the In Death books are only a touch behind where I want the characters to be!

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  33. Brenna
    Nov 26, 2008 @ 20:54:33

    My favorite thing about Roarke and Eve has always been the small moments, the ordinariness in the midst of the craziness (a smart-ass comment or the buzz of perfect understanding between them), and I have had a harder time discerning those moments in recent books. Although I definitely remember Roarke using the word “shagging” before (did he use it in Divided, too?).

    I just love those small moments and smart-ass comments. I'm always looking forward to those things everytime I read an In Death. And you are right Robin, Roarke has been using the “shagging” word since Divided in Death. He also used that in Born, Survivor, Creation and very recently in Strangers in Death. Usually when he is pissed with Eve and they have a fight.

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  34. Belinda
    Nov 28, 2008 @ 16:58:31

    I just want to say how much I appreciated Ms. Robb’s handling of religion in this book. I was a bit apprehensive when I read the synopsis, because “religious” is so often fiction shorthand for “moron,” “hypocrite,” “villain” or all three. Even though there were characters (the dead guys) who were willing to use religious trappings to their own ends and fleece the congregants, there were characters like Lopez and Luke and several of the Ortiz family who were sincere and sustained by their faith. I was pleasantly surprised.

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  35. Anne
    Nov 29, 2008 @ 17:43:19

    I liked to book on many different levels. However, it wasn’t as an emotional read as some of her other books which concentrated on the Dallas’s relationships. Summerset and Dallas have an unique relationship which isn’t going to change but they now respect each other. Dallas asked Summerset (in her own way) for Summerset to contact Rourke’s aunt because of what the case had brought up with his own past. I would like Ms Roberts to place Rourke in some kind of danger so we could see how much Dallas really cares for him. Ms Roberts has placed Dallas in several situations where Rourke has been able to show how much she means to him.

    I liked how Ms Roberts handled the religion aspects of the book.

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  36. Helen Burgess
    Nov 30, 2008 @ 14:38:55

    Having read the review before the book, I was pleasantly surprised. I really like this book. Really really liked it, in fact I woould give it an A. Some of the In Death series I have’nt liked and I could not read Creation in Death. Here, Eve seems, mellow would be far to strong a word but edging towards growth in her character rather than just reacting and being brittle.

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  37. Shel
    Nov 30, 2008 @ 18:40:23

    I enjoyed this book. A lot. The mystery had lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing. As I am primarily a mystery reader I like being stumped. Eve and Roarke seemed very natural and comfortable with each other. They showed a lot of vulnerability in this installment and were always there to give the other what they needed. I also enjoyed Roarke’s sense of humor, I’d love to see more of it.

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  38. Wendy Stockman
    Dec 03, 2008 @ 13:26:37

    I love all of the In Death books and I can’t wait for the newest ones to come out! Please write more Ms. Roberts!!!!

    Eve, Roarke, Peabody, McNab, Sommerset, Mavis, etc., RULE!!!

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  39. Mandy
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 01:27:40

    I’M been reading Nora Roberts books for quite awhile now! haven’t found one that i dont like yet. The JD Robert series is just awesome, i think what i like best about this series is the fact that all the characters are complex with all their emotional baggage etc, n prob like so many women out there i’m half in love with Roarke lol, just wish that they were easily accessible here in Guyana (south america) as they are in the states and elsewhere, no to mention the cost when you do find them. Nora as an author u totally rock!

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  40. rose
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 19:43:25

    This is the first book in this series that I didn’t totally fall in love with. I usually read them typically in a couple days when they come out, and then re-read them again right away, which I haven’t done with this one.
    I wonder If other readers felt the same way since there are usually a lot more comments by this time.
    I found the story just did not grab me, neither did the characters, which is usually the best part of Nora’s books. From somebody else commenting about the vagueness of the priests, maybe I wasn’t the only one who felt this. At the end of the books I usually want to be the one who ends the villain, but I just found I had no strong feeilings towards this one.
    I am also wondering If they are not all ending in too much the same way. They always end in interview with Eve making the villain confess. That is a little unsatisfactory sometimes. Who wouldn’t have wanted Ava in Strangers In Death to face her friends, them knowing what she had done. She wasn’t exposed, which was a little dissapointing. I would have liked to see Rayleen go to trial, there would have been some interesting law twists in that one.
    I would also love to see Rio in action in a courtroom, she is supposed to be very good, she should do more than just getting warrants.
    Anyway looking forward to the next one.

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  41. Jeanelle
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 10:07:40

    I am such a huge fan of this series that I now have the complete set, up-to-date. Some books in the Death series, I bought again, because several had been loaned or checked out from the library. Before I bought Salavation in Death, I was thinking how sad I would be if this series ended. Unlike most series, I have thought that Robb has done a great job of fleshing out the major and minor characters. And they do seem to grown and change.

    Now I want Robb to put more time and thought into what she does so well. I am finding this book plodding and boring. I enjoy the humor of Summerset, and sometimes would like him to take more part in some of the books. I find it endearing that he has a soft spot for Eve, that he hides well. I do adore the way Robb shows the tender feelings between Roarke and Eve. Robb “gets” how women want to be the One and Only. And I like the tech stuff.

    Eve has such a fear of babies and little kids, I keep thinking there will come a time when she and Roarke will have a baby. I think it would be a hoot and a time for all of the characters to come even more alive. That will be the only thing that will “round out” and evolve Eve’s wonderful, sassy character. And Roarke will guide her into finding that gentleness and tenderness that is now only resolved for her man.

    I did notice that Peabody is getting a little backbone. That’s nice. But something makes me think this book was either a little forced by Robb, or her publishers were pushing her. I’m still looking forward to the next in the series.

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  42. margo
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 17:26:21

    I very much liked your review. What I could not put into words you put. I mirrored your thought with the Father Lopez/Eve idea. It said that Father Lopez caught her attention…b/c he was like Roarke. So it would make sense that if no Roarke then Father Lopez could be a potential (if he weren’t a father).

    I also agree about the whole “Eve’s childhood and getting over it”. Eventually she will have to come to terms with her childhood and vanquish the demon once and for all. But the theme play much too often and sometimes ruins the mystery and thrill of the book. I like that Roarke and Eve are married, and feel that their “team play” in this book was so-what forced too but I still want them to be a couple. They do make a good pair.

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