In this volume of the "in Death" series, we learn far more about the "past" of the series - their past history, still in our future. The series is set in the 2050's; however, the events of this book flow from events thirty years in their past, in the 2020's. This gives us more of an idea of why the New York of Eve Dallas' time is the way it is.
If you are new to the series, you may find it helpful to read some of the previous books as well - while each book in this series can stand alone as a police procedural/thriller, it is more fun if you can also follow the background stories of the personal lives of our characters. Eve Dallas is our police lieutenant hero, of course, and her husband Roarke (just Roarke) is his rich, enigmatic self. The interaction between Eve's sidekick/aide Peabody, and fellow cop McNab, gets tenser in this book (think elevators!). Mavis, Eve's best friend, is having success with her singing career. All of these background sub-plots are one of the fun parts of the series. It's a tradition that hangs over from police procedural series started more than 40 years ago, such as Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series, and it's nice to see Robb pay homage to that great tradition.
The plot of this particular volume involves a terrorist group destroying New York landmarks, a theme that will perhaps resonate even more with readers now (I write this review in Jan 2002) than it did when the book was first published. It is poignantly sad to see that on the list of proposed targets is the Twin Towers - I had to shake my head and say, sorry, the terrorists didn't wait that long... The final target, and the culmination of the book, will keep you awake and reading. And who the terrorists are will make you think, about how such things carry on through the generations, and contemplate how we could go about trying to break that cycle.