Sue Grafton has planned twenty-six books of her alphabet murders. Elizabeth Peters and her Amelia Peabody series are going strong. I've lost count of how many Pern books that Anne McCaffrey has written. Janet Evanovich and her fictitious Stephanie Plum are
becoming legendary. So my fervent hope is that J.D. Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts follows in the above writers' footsteps, giving us more stories featuring the indomitable Eve Dallas and her fascinating, irresistible husband, Roarke.
I was slow to become impressed with Eve Dallas. I couldn't imagine a woman who would rather work herself to death, cut her own hair -- sans a mirror and generally be obnoxious rather than succumb to Roarke, the gazillionaire hunk who appears in book one and
never gives up on wooing Eve. Talk about tenacious. I did persevere and after a few books, found myself firmly on the Eve Dallas bandwagon. It didn't hurt that she finally married the gorgeous, enigmatic, complex hunk, either.
Loyalty in Death begins with Eve and Peabody, her loyal assistant, investigating the death of powerful J. Clarence Branson. His mistress has proof that he was screwing around and she pays him back in kind, by taking a power drill and skewering him through
the heart-- screwing him to the wall, literally as well as metaphorically.
In addition to Branson's death, Eve has been singled out by a terrorist group who has plans to destroy the corrupt and oppressive system that we loving call Capitalism. They've targeted some of Roarke's buildings and throw in Madison Square Garden and
the Plaza. The story races toward a James Bondish finish as Eve and Roarke sprint to rescue the Statue of Liberty.
What fascinated me and kept me guessing for most of the story is how these two plots are interwoven with Peabody's brother Zeke, a genuinely nice and gentle man, who gets mixed up in a murder plot. When all of these threads are finally interwoven and we see their connectedness, it's easy to marvel at the complexity and intricacy of the plot. With a riveting conclusion, cheering loudly for the good guys is a given. The villains here are particularly heinous and amoral, the kind you love to hate.
If you've missed the other eight In Death books plus the novella "Midnight in Death," found in a Christmas anthology entitled Silent Night, then my suggestion is that you buy Loyalty in Death and put it away until you have all of the In Death books. Each story gives us more of the history of Eve and Roarke, who've had a wonderfully intense courtship and a marriage that hasn't dulled their passion or their seeming wariness. Their sparring is as top notch as ever.
In addition to Eve and Roarke, the secondary characters that we've come to know and love are still here. Somerset has a smaller role that I would have liked, but maybe he'll get more attention in a future story. He and Eve still go out of their way to irritate the other.
Sparks finally occur in Peabody and McNab's relationship. Considering that they've been circling each other for as long as I can remember, I'm pleased to see that there's hope for them. Peabody, in a poignant scene, admits how much Eve's mentoring and friendship
mean to her.
Loyalty in Death has a less violent feel than some others in the series. The villains remain shadowy, less personalized than others we've met, yet still intensely evil. What makes this story memorable is watching Eve and Roarke, who are finally realizing the impact that each is making on the other's life. While their marriage is far from troubled, it's not perfect yet, either. As with each book, things just keep getting better and better.