Tag: Putnam Publishing Group

Throwback Thursday Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted February 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #30
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 23rd 2010
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world—to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king—in his company’s latest top-secret project, Fantastical.
The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game...

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks—as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U-Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on February 22, 2010.

The last few In Death books have kind of been off for me. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy them, it’s just that I didn’t enjoy them as much as I expected to given the previous 5 billion books in the series. I went into this book with some trepidation because of that.

I really enjoyed Eve’s case. A young entrepreneur is found decapitated inside his locked holo room. Security indicates he was the only one inside the room, and in fact his whole apartment. Investigation shows the weapon to be a broadsword. Eve knows it takes two to murder..one to do the killing and one to die. Since he didn’t cut his own head off, there hasn’t be a missing factor.

Some cases are better developed than others, and some are just more interesting to me personally. I’m not sure if this falls into the former, but it definitely falls into the latter. I was truly interested in seeing Eve puzzle her way through the case. It wasn’t long before I figured out who the killer was – it generally doesn’t take me long – but that wasn’t the appeal of this case anyway. It wasn’t the who, but the why and, more intriguing, the how.

As for Eve and Roarke’s relationship, I wasn’t as impressed. After taking a minute to reflect on the overall relationship arc, I’ve decided that’s to be expected. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happy about it, but I am going to work on being more forgiving. They had a couple arguments, but they seemed kind of contrived.

The focus in this book was more on the case than the personal relationships, but most of our favorites made appearances or were mentioned. There is quite a bit of humor in this book. Eve is still battling it out with the Candy Thief, which always cracks me up. But Roarke is what killed me in this scene:

She took a tool from her desk, then squatted in front of her recycler. After a few twists, she removed the facing and pulled an evidence bag from the back.

“Your guile and wit contest causes you to keep candy in the recycler, with the trash?”

“It’s sealed.” She broke the seal with a little pop and whoosh to prove it, then took out one of the three chocolate bars. She tossed it to him, then bagged the remaining two with a fresh seal before hiding them again. She glanced back to see him studying the candy.

“If you’re going to be so dainty give it back.”

“There was a time I rooted through alley garbage for food, without a thought. Things change.” He unwrapped the candy, took a bite. “But apparently not that much.”

Not only is this particular quote hilarious, but the scene it comes from shows some vulnerability in Roarke, and Eve’s way of taking care of him. Relationships and how they work is one of the underlying themes of the book. Eve puzzles over the various relationships in her life throughout.

Another example is Eve’s relationship with Peabody. Peabody and McNab have to go to a gaming conference and Peabody brings a gift back for Eve. It just illustrates how well they know each other (and offered the added bonus of amusing me):

“What is it?”

“It’s a toy gun. A derringer – like cardshaprs and saloon girls carry in western vids. It’s like a clutch piece.”


“And check it.” Peabody cocked it, and a sultry female voice purred out of the barrel. Put those hands where I can see them, cowboy.

“It has all sorts of audio streams- male, female. I figured you’d want the female. Plus -”

She aimed it at Eve, pulled the trigger even as Eve said: “Hey!”

The little gun let out a brave little bang. Next one goes lower, and you won’t be poking a woman with that stick of yours for the rest of your miserable life.

“Isn’t it cute? You could play saloon girl and Roarke could be high-stakes gambler, then…and that’s entirely none of my nevermind.” Peabody offered a big smile.

“Yeah, it’s cute, no, it’s none of your nevermind.” Eve took the derringer, recocked it. You’d better hightail it before that tail’s sporting another hole.

“It could use better dialogue, but it’s apt enough. Hightail it.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Peabody? Thanks.”

Eve studied the gun, shook her head. Unable to resist, she shot her computer, her AutoChef, amused by the lame insults that followed.

That was another thing about partners, she decided. They knew what would make you laugh, often before you did.

And just because I love Peabody’s crush on Roarke (this comes from later in the book):

“Roarke might be late. He’s working on something for me.”

“Wouldn’t mind if he worked on something for me.”

“Excuse me?”

“Hmm? Oh, just talking to myself,” Peabody sang. “You know how it is.”

Eve strolled over, clipped the back of Peabody’s head with the flat of her hand.


“Oh, sorry, just an involuntary reflex. You know how it is.”

There is an inconsistency I found. Eve is telling Roarke about the first time she took a life as a police officer, as it segued into how she murdered her father. She’s talking about how she felt when she killed him (her father) and she says:

She let out a breath. “I’m the one who aimed and fired. Fifteen years between. It took me that long to be sure, absolutely sure, I wouldn’t feel that excitement, or that guilt, or that hardening when I had to take another life.”

But until Eve met Roarke, she didn’t remember having killed her father. So this didn’t ring true for me. There was also some inconsistency in the language. Some of the things sounded more modern-day and weren’t in keeping with the time period and the way Robb has written prior books. For example:

[…] She pushed in, slamming her fist in his face. Blood erupted from his nose.
“That’s how we do it in New York!”

Although a good line, this isn’t how Eve normally talks. It kind of pulled me out of the story, because I can’t imagine her saying it.

Still, I enjoyed the book. As Casee noted awhile back it seems like some books focus on the personal relationships and some focus on the cases. This book falls into the latter category.

3.75 out of 5

See a full list of the series here.

This book is available from Putnam. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb (spoilers abound)

Posted May 18, 2015 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

obsession in death
Casee‘s review of Obsession in Death (In Death Series #40) by J.D. Robb.

Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She—and her billionaire husband—are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her—again and again…

With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate—and dangerous—psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall…

Don’t get me wrong, I love the In Death series. However, it was nice to see a book that affected Eve in a personal way. This wasn’t a tidy case that she could wrap up with her team. This was someone that was killing in her name, someone that somehow thought they were righting the wrongs for Eve. As usual, Eve tried to take her normal approach. She was looking for a killer. Her friends wouldn’t have that.

First, there was Roarke who wouldn’t let her push it away. There was a killer out that that had focused on Eve in a bizarre way, but that could turn on her at any moment. Peabody and Dr. Mira agree. Eve is not used to worrying about the safety of Roarke and her friends. I loved that there was more emotion than just a mystery that Eve solving a case with her civilian consultant, Roarke. Eve and Roarke have to work closer. Even her team in Homicide may be targets. Eve is on high alert and protecting everyone she loves is almost all she can think about.

Eve has not given her stalker the accolades they need from Eve and they are devastated. It wasn’t until the person attempts to attack their third victim that they get their first break. The stalker thought the person was home alone, but didn’t know that he was in a relationship that they were both trying to keep quiet for the moment. Though she stunned the man, the woman came after the person with a wine bottle. Hurt and panicked, the person retreated. After the stunned victim (a photographer) was stable, he told Eve that he’s not looking for a man, but a woman.

Eve and her team is still stumped because Eve knows that no one has been following her. The people that were killed insulted or came after her up to three years prior. Eve is at a loss. And she is never at a loss. There are just too many suspects. The only thing her and Peabody are starting to come around to is that the person they are looking for is possibly in law enforcement or previous law enforcement. Which still doesn’t whittle down the list much. Eve still isn’t afraid for herself. She’s afraid of the people she cares about. It makes her realize how many relationships she’s cultivated ever since she met and married Roarke. She was once alone, except for Mavis. Now she has all these other people that she has to protect. She’s baffled by how that happened. Reading how it goes through her head is pretty amusing.

It takes more work than usual, but they finally nail it down to one person. By this time, she has decided that she and Eve can be together forever. The climax of this book is fantastic. You could all but feel the tension and terror from the people outside of Homicide (I probably gave it away already). Eve, as usual saves the day, but this was the best save ever!

4.5 out of 5

Reading Order (Holy freaking cow!):

This book was published by G.P. Putnam and Sons. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Lightning Review: Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted May 8, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Lightning Review: Celebrity in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #34
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, New York to Dallas, Brotherhood in Death, Fantasy in Death
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 21st 2012
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb knows that some roles are to die for…
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she’s managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It’s a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks as though she could be her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody—drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director’s luxury building.
Talented but rude and widely disliked, K.T. Harris made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she’s at the center of a crime scene—and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster to step into the role she was born to play: cop.

Eve and Roarke are at a party celebrating the release of The Icove Agenda, a movie based on the case Eve and Peabody solved in Origin in Death. Eve isn’t excited to be there, but the blooper reel they showed was enough to keep her entertained..until the party is interrupted by murder. The actress cast to play Peabody is found murdered. The problem? The list of suspects is pretty much confined to those at the party. Since no one seemed to like her, narrowing it down isn’t easy.

I really enjoyed this installment. My favorite books are the ones where Eve and Roarke are at odds, and though that wasn’t the case here I found the case interesting and the usual cast of characters engaging. There was quite a bit of humor laced throughout, more than in some of the later releases. It was a nice change of pace. The whodunit was pretty easy to figure out but I enjoy watching Eve puzzle her way through the evidence.

I have to give J.D. Robb credit. Even after 34 books this series is engaging. There are times I get frustrated with it, sure, but I can’t deny the readability of each book.

4 out of 5

See the full series list here.

This book is available from Putnam. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

Posted April 17, 2012 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Ames’ review of The Witness by Nora Roberts.

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems—and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

I was not impressed with Nora’s last romantic suspense, Chasing Fire.  There was too much smoke jumping and not enough romance.  I am so very glad to say that Nora is back on top with The Witness.  There was the perfect blend of romance and suspense to keep me enthralled and unable to put this book down.

Do you watch Bones or The Big Bang Theory?  You know Dr. Brennan and Sheldon Cooper’s characters?  Well Elizabeth is similar to those characters.  Her mother is a doctor and she was like her experiment.  Her father was a sperm donor and her mother controlled every aspect of her life to raise the perfect specimen.  She’s 16 and going to Harvard pre-med.  She eats a controlled diet, her clothes are picked out for her.  Elizabeth lives inside a little box and there is no way to get out of it.  But one afternoon after her mother changes Elizabeth’s summer plans, she rebels.  She goes to the mall!  She buys non-sanctioned clothes.  And she runs into a fellow student, a girl who embraces Elizabeth’s new found freedom and runs with it.  The girls eventually decide to check out a hot club even though they’re not legal.  And what happens after that changes Elizabeth’s life.

Now 12 years later, Elizabeth is Abigail Lowery, a computer security expert who can work from anywhere. Anywhere is her well-fortified cabin in Bickford, Arkansas, in the Ozark Mountains.  She keeps to herself, only going to town to get supplies.  And in a small town, there’s nothing that catches the locals’ interest more than a mystery.  And Abigail is very mysterious.  And chief of police Brooks Gleason likes to solve puzzles and he sees Abigail as one big puzzle.  Using his blend of charm and nosiness, Brooks (and later his mother) oozes his way into Abigail’s life.  He quickly realizes that Abigail’s secrets go very deep and into dangerous territory.  And Brooks is falling very hard for the mysterious woman who lives in the mountains with a big mastiff and an even bigger hoard of weapons.  What is she hiding from?

I loved Abigail.  She’s so analytical but underneath that she’s craving love.  Her mother was one cold fish and Abigail is not used to human interaction.  After the events of that one night, her isolation was a necessity to remain alive but she still can’t help letting Brooks in when he starts coming around.  Aside from Abigail’s vulnerability, I genuinely liked her character.  She’s funny in her own way and worried about social interactions (even googling BBQ etiquette).  She was endearing.  She was this great blend of kick-ass and vulnerable.  I fell for it and so did Brooks.

She stood, the big dog at the heel of her knee-high black boots.  She wore jeans, a black leather jacket, and a gun on her hip.
He decided not to overthink the fact that everything about her at that precise moment struck him as grab-your-balls sexy.
It just was-right down to the edgy annoyance on her face.

Brooks was another character to love.  He is originally from Bickford but worked in Little Rock for ten years.  He’s back now as the chief of police.  I like how the town came to life through his eyes.  I also liked his mother.  But Brooks was a charmer and he’s a very smart man.  He accepts Abigail for who she is and he doesn’t push her past what she’s comfortable with.  He does push a bit at the beginning, but only to get his foot in the door of Abigail’s defenses.  The following passage is a good example of their early encounters:

“Why do you ask so many questions?  Why do you keep coming here, with your wine and your pie?  What is wrong with you people?  What are you grinning at?”

A lot of the humor in the book came through Abigail and Brooks’ interactions.

Earlier I said this book had a good blend of the romantic and the suspenseful.  But for me, I’m not the biggest fan of romantic suspense so you’ll find that there isn’t a lot of suspense.  Or that it’s not in your face.  In the beginning, the suspense is knowing a young Elizabeth is going to have something bad happen to her.  A 16 year old girl hanging out with a little bit older friend going to a club and drinking.  I was worried when I saw where the book was going.  Then when it comes to Abigail – we know that the villains from her youth are still looking for her.  So I’m worried that they’re going to find her.  I’m not going to give anything away but just note that the suspense doesn’t happen to Abigail, it happens in our mind, and that’s more frightening because we can come up with some pretty freaky scenarios.  Roberts did an excellent job of not letting the suspense take over Abigail’s story but having it build in our minds.

I don’t feel like I’m doing this book justice because I just want to gush about how much I loved it.  I hope I did a good enough job to get you intrigued and hopefully get you picking up this book.  I received a review copy from Netgalley but this is a book I want in print on my shelves so I can go through it at my leisure.  I can’t wait to read it again.  I highly recommend the Witness.  4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Putnam. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

You can read more from ~ames~ at Thrifty Reader.

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Review: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

Posted September 14, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: New York to Dallas by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
New York to Dallas by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #33
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death, Fantasy in Death
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: September 13th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name-and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.

When a monster named Isaac McQueen-taken down by Eve back in her uniform days-escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.

I expected this to be an emotional roller coaster, but sadly it fell kind of flat in that area. Although a decent entry in the series, I’m kind of bummed that it didn’t pack the punch I was looking for.

A pedophile Eve put behind bars 12 years ago has escaped and is targeting Eve. While this isn’t new for Eve – criminals often escape and want revenge against her – the bad guy in question is particularly smart. Not to mention depraved. The nature of his crimes is really stirring up some bad memories for Eve about her childhood. As she struggles to get a lead on where Isaac is, Eve uncovers some shocking and painful information. Now they must race against the clock to save another innocent life – and Eve must fight through a deep emotional morass to see justice done.

While the premise of the case was interesting, I did find it to be somewhat lacking in action. A lot of the book was spent with Eve recreating scenes in her head, or repeating the same information ad nauseum to her team, commander and Roarke. I would have liked to see a little less talk and a lot more action.

The big revelation is one I saw coming from the moment the blurb was released. I think it was because I was expecting it that I didn’t find it as gripping as I expected it to. I don’t wish to spoil it. I will say I think fans of the series will be glad to know another loose thread is tied up. Which makes me wonder yet again if Robb is gearing up to close out the series.

There were some truly great scenes and some great one-liners. Although I didn’t feel the emotional punch I was expecting, I found quite a bit of unexpected humor in the pages. I like how each character changes and grows. I like that Eve has come to rely on Roarke. She can now ask for his help, or tell him when she needs him. It’s good to see her come so far. On the other hand, I still miss the tension between them.

While this wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, it was a good entry in the series. The characters continue to change and grow and the relationships continue to fascinate. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed.

3.5 out of 5

The series:

Click here for a full list of the series in chronological order.

This book is available from Putnam. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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