Thankless in Death falls flat

December 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Books

By Jamie Bayne, BCPL Information Services supervisor

I can honestly say I have never read a Nora Roberts’ romance novel before, or anything written by J.D. Robb, the name she pens under for her “In Death” series of books.  But in preparing for this column I was looking for something fresh and Thanksgivingesque. By venturing into new territory, I am pleased to say that I have found an interesting, new-to-me author!

Thankless in Death transports us to New York, New York – Thanksgiving in the year 2060. The book is the 37th in the In Death series, but if you haven’t read an In Death book before, don’t let that deter you – it works just fine as a standalone. The novel centers on Eve Dallas, a New York City police detective and her husband, billionaire Roark. Eve is attempting to catch Jerry Reinhold, 26, an unemployed and chronic loser whose parents have spent their lives forgiving his numerous mistakes, failures and thefts.

Jerry has moved back in with his parents after he lost yet another job and his girlfriend ejected him from their joint habitat. Trying to provide some “tough love” – Barbara Reinhold asks one morning if her son is going to look for a job that day. Jerry snaps, stabbing her brutally with a knife and then waiting anxiously till his father gets home.  He bludgeons Carl Reinhold to death with a baseball bat and then flees the scene.

Reinhold’s fury is unabated as he targets his next victim, his ex-girlfriend. Oddly, though Eve Dallas is purported to be a tough and seasoned detective, she does not predict that this will be his next move.  Reinhold continues his murderous path and heads for victim number four …

The novel focuses primarily on Eve and Jerry – sometimes switching perspectives from one to another.  While there was some levity provided by glimpses into Eve and Roark’s home life (including a visit from Irish relatives), not as much emphasis was placed on the Thanksgiving aspect of the book as I’d hoped.  We only have brief glimpses of Roark’s relatives and of New York itself. I had to admit, some of the psychological aspects of the book were disturbing. When written from Jerry’s perspective, it was quite dark with some very graphic visuals provided.

I was also a bit surprised at some of the quality of the writing and the dialogue. It was not what I would have expected from such a well-known and renowned author. However, being a first-time reader of either Robb’s or Roberts’ works, I have no basis for comparison. I can only say it was a satisfactory, if not stunning read.

If you’re a J.D. Robb fan, you might find this one a little flat. If you’re a new reader, give it a try and decide for yourself if she’s gone a little “too far” in the graphic area or if the writing is up to par. Overall if I was rating this on my personal scale I’d give it 2.5 stars out of 5.

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Leigh Scaggs

About Leigh Scaggs

A long time supporter of digital emancipation and proclaimer of obfuscatory testaments, I have been a proud supporter of bits and bytes for nearly 20 years. With that much chronological highway behind me I'm cognizant enough of the fact that advancing age does kill brain cells and observant enough to notice that it's only killing the weak ones.

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