"Strangers in Death" by J.D. Robb

Speaking of series that go on too long...

Strangers in Death is the latest in a long line of Eve Dallas books. I was fanatically devoted to this series until a few years ago; as a matter of fact, even when I lost all enthusiasm for Nora Roberts' formulaic trilogies and re-issued oldies, I still had the In Death books on my autobuy list. Then Roberts aka Robb dropped the ball entirely and staleness crept in. Instead of "autobuy" it became "when I can't find anything else to read." I mean, really, after 26 full-length novels and a handful of novellas something's gotta give . . . especially considering the series has only covered, what? Two or three years? Worst of all, this series really shouldn't have declined. Roberts is an extremely talented writer (cookie-cutter trilogies, about Irish sisters who've been separated at birth but reunited in their adulthood by their latent magical powers, aside) and Eve and Roarke are exceptional characters. These books should be golden, each and every one. So what went wrong?

In my opinion, Roberts got lazy and complacent. Eve continued to do her thing, Roarke popped in every other chapter. Meanwhile, all other characters -- like Peabody, Feeney, and the rest -- went largely neglected, developing dull coatings of blah. I.e. I got bored. Therefore, I'm happy to report that, of late, Roberts/Robb has refocused her game and started paying more attention to the development of those other than Eve or Roarke: Peabody becomes a detective, Nadine gets her own show, Mavis and Leonardo have a baby, Charles and Louis get some significant airtime, Feeney and Mira have homelives, Baxter and Trueheart have actual roles in the plot. Thank mighty Odin, right? I mean, why create all these characters if she's not going to use 'em?

Strangers was a good read, bringing new interest and freshness to the series. For the first time in years, I'm looking forward to the next book. I'm no longer willing to pay full-price for the hardcovers, nor will I return to Roberts' other books, but I'll continue to keep my eye on Eve.


  1. Y'know you got me started on J.D. Robb's series, but after the ninth or tenth I kind of lost interest. It's good to hear that at least this series had gotten good again. I may have to start this one up and actually buy my own copies instead of borrowing yours.

  2. Despite my complimentary review, I don't know that I would recommend paying full price for anything Nora Roberts writes -- not even these newer and improved installments. You should probably just steal my mother's; she totally wouldn't notice.