New York Police & Security Department's Lieutenant Eve Dallas is enjoying a quiet night at home watching a mindless movie with her perfect husband Roarke when a call comes in. Eve is surprised, as she is not even on call, but rushes to the murder scene of a young woman, knowing something is up, and is it ever. A serial killer known as "the Groom," who slipped through the NYPSD's fingers nine years before, seems to be back. He tortures his female victims to death, then lays their bodies out in a public place after placing a silver ring on one of their fingers. The police had believed the Groom had either died or gone to prison on other charges when his victims stopped appearing, but Eve's investigation uncovers similar crimes in other cities around the world. She has to stop him, which isn't going to be easy, as he leaves almost no clues.
This might have been a good story, but it got to be too much of just about everything bad, and not enough of the things I've grown to love this series for. I realize this is a murder mystery series, but it struck me that New York of 2060 must have more serial killers per capita than any other place on earth EVER. This is the umpteenth serial killer Eve has chased, and I doubt it will be the last. Usually, solving Eve's cases with her is fun, with banter all around with all the recurring characters. This time out, however, there was very little of that, and what there was felt almost forced. Instead, we spent time I would rather not have spent with our killer and his victims. I read murder mysteries because I enjoy the unraveling of the motives of the murderer; I do not read them because I enjoy getting inside the sick mind of a person who gets off on causing pain and degradation, and dwelling on the process. This book not only spent far too much time inside the mind of the killer, it also delved into the fear and pain of his victim, and I just don't want to go there. I don't need those images burned in my brain. I know there is a market for that kind of book, but I have deliberately not included any of them in my collection, and hope very much that this is not a new direction this series is taking.
That was not the only issue with this book, however. I have grown to like and admire Eve Dallas very much because I have gotten to know her by being places with her while she's doing her thing. We all know Roarke loves her to distraction, and for good reason. What I don't need is a constant reminder of how amazing she is. I've always hated reading books where the author seems overly enamored of a character and gushes about how great they are because I can never quite go along for the ride. It's better when the character can just be who they are and let us like them or not on their own merits, not because we've been told we should. Eve Dallas books are usually that way, but this time out, Nora felt it necessary to hammer it home.
Another thing I'm really, really tired of is Eve never getting any sleep. We all know she's dedicated to her job, but come on. In this book, she might have had a total of four hours stretched over several days, probably because I guess she's the only detective on the NYPSD who's amazing enough to solve a case. It's one thing to pull an all-nighter or get awakened by a phone call, but in this book it was way, way overdone. Eve couldn't stop working because she had a killer to catch before he could kill again. But would it hurt to let her get a few hours of sleep now and then? I found myself feeling worn down because of it.
This is one of the best mystery series I read, and the author has done a wonderful job of mixing it up, giving us a different type of mystery for Eve to solve each time out. One book will be a single crime of passion, and the next might be a serial killer, followed by something different in the next. Other reviewers have complained about these books getting too hard, too focused on the gore, and I thought they were wimps. After this, however, I find myself reluctantly joining their ranks. It isn't a bad book; it's just not the best of this series. It's almost as if the author forced it along in a hurry, and focused on all the wrong things. I look forward to the next Eve Dallas novel simply because I love this series, but I hope the magic is back next time. It was almost completely absent in this book.