“Promises in Death”
by J.D. Robb
read by Susan Ericksen
Produced by Brilliance Audio, 2009
Approx. 12 hours

It’s been a while since I’ve visited my favorite homicide detective from the near future, Lt. Eve Dallas, so I thought I’d give another book a listen.  I don’t think I could ever sit down with the actual hardcover (or paperback) version of this book because I’ve been spoiled by the outstanding vocal talents of Susan Ericksen.  Ms. Ericksen, has the ability to sound like a multi-cast performance all by herself.  Each character in this book has their own voice through her talent, and the voices not only sound different to help the listener to determine who is talking/thinking when, but also somehow she has been able to wrap up the entire being of each person in her voice for each character.  For example the main character Lt. Eve Dallas is a straight to the point detective that has no time for pop culture or things like how to throw a bridal shower, and the voice used is very stern and hard edge.  In fact the main thing bringing me back to these books is Susan Ericksen’s voice.  The stories are okay and the sci-fi gadgets are cool, but Susan Ericksen brings these books to life.

Before I get to the summary of this book I first have to say that this is one of the better books in the series because of one aspect, sex.  Or rather, not as much as in previous books in the series.  This is book 28 in the  “…in Death” series from J.D. Robb.  As you may or may not know J.D. Robb is the pen name for Nora Roberts, a romance writer.  She went with the pen name to have a different sort of voice than her romance books.  The problem is that she still squeezes in steamy sex scenes in these books.  I don’t know why she does this, the books stand on their own merit and the sex scenes are blatantly gratuitious.  They actually almost ruin the books by turning a good, slightly sci-fi, detective novel into softcore porn.  with the audiobooks i can just fast forward or if reading I could flip the pages, but I shouldn’t have to.  The scenes are forced into the book with no redeeming value.  This book so far has the least of sex scenes than all the others.  Only one scene in this book.

Okay that over, here’s the book.  Early morning NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas is enjoying breakfast (or rather being forced to eat since she usually is too busy to eat) with her husband Roarke, the multi-billionaire former thug.    She’s called in to investigate a dead body,her and her assistant, Detective Delia Peabody discover that the woman is a fellow officer, Detective Amaryllis Coltraine, who worked out of another precinct. To add to the emotion of the case, Coltraine was the lover of Li Morris, the Chief Medical Examiner and a good friend of Eve and Peabody. Coltraine was shot with her own police stunner; it also appears that she may have known her killer.

At first Eve thinks the kill may have been ordered by Amaryllis’ former lover from Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a man that Dallas and Roarke had put in a cage for murder some months before. The suspect’s reactions, however, as well as Roarke’s impressions from a private discussion they have, tend to steer the blame away from him. Eve is beginning to sense that the killer may have been one of the detectives Coltraine worked with at her precinct, receiving orders from the man imprisoned off-planet.  As Eve gets closer to finding who and why she realizes she has other parts of her life to deal with.

Eve has to perform a duty of friendship she has never tackled before: hosting a wedding shower for Louise Dimatto, who is marrying former “licensed companion” Charles Monroe. The shower goes on in Eve’s home during the investigation; not only do we see Eve coping with a fresh aspect of life she has never had an opportunity to experience due to her dark violent childhood, but one of the guests helps put the finger on the murderer.  That is one of the things about these books that also keeps me coming back; the characters.  Robb/Roberts does a great job at building a myriad of characters that weave in and out of Eve’s life and all seem to be able to help in some form, whether in personal life or on a case.

I say give these books a chance, they do have some redeeming values.  That and they are pretty fun sci-fi / detective novels.

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