It took me quite a while to actually find a copy in the first place and, boy, was the effort worth the time spent! I love the 'In Death' series overall, however, this is definitely one of those books that stand out.
It's one of the early tales in the series, with the main characters still being established. Dallas, Lieutenant Eve herself is still finding her 'married feet' as well as relationships in general which is somewhat difficult and new territory for her as she never really had friends before bar one or two outside her precinct. On top of that - it's Christmas time which brings additional pressure and novelty of having to buy Christmas presents for everyone, again something very alien to this level-headed homicide cop.
Whatever it is, I found this tale very encompassing and intriguing, and simply could not put the book down until I read it cover to cover. It includes all - from mystery and suspense to comical to heartfelt, it is all right there, together with the awkwardness of trying to find a way from 'social outcast' to 'socialite' for lack of a better word.
The case itself is also rather heart-wrenching and full of the usual 'red herrings' where J D Robb aka Nora Roberts is concerned. The storyline includes a number of interesting sub-plots with the actual culprit remaining a mystery right to the end. Nonetheless, it all makes sense and comes full circle in the end.
The main subject - lonely hearts - perfect for our 'anti-social' heroine. While she may have found her 'dream guy', others that are seeking love in order not to spend Christmas on their own are being targeted - a theme that touches so many on different levels which also prevails throughout this novel. Essentially, the author has outdone herself writing this particular adventure. Yes, it really is that good!