I really enjoyed the depiction of the relationship between Roarke and Eve. They weren't lovey-dovey all the time, but neither were they constantly annoying each other. They fought, they made up, they bantered, and they took care of each other. Their relationship wasn't perfect, but without having to explain things in the narrative, it was clear they knew each other very well and really cared about each other, in a way that goes beyond the flash of infatuation and physical attraction depicted in so many stories. Their marriage rang true for me.
Actually, all the characterizations were well done. As the 22nd book in the series, the characters could all have become really flat, relying on earlier character traits to justify their actions and relationships, but they weren't. Even the minor characters clearly had their own personalities and backstories, and as a character-driven reader, it made me a happy little page-turner. On occasion, Eve would say something to irritate me, but it was always in character and usually some small detail that would have blown over by the time I flipped the page.
The mystery moved along at a nice pace, fast enough that things seemed to keep happening, but not enough to overwhelm me with details. I did find the whodunnit part predictable, having worked it out for myself fairly early on in the story, although to be fair, Eve had things more or less figured out sooner than I thought she would have, considering the length of the book. Being a police officer, though, she had certain channels she had to go through to get the evidence to back up her conclusions, something the reader doesn't have to do.
The story doesn't end with a "happily ever after;" it's a bittersweet sort of ending, which I simultaneously like and dislike.Read more ›
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The old holiday tune "Santa Claus Is Comin' To town" was given new meaning when St. Nick plunged some 36 stories to the pavement below. No reindeer or sleigh to catch him - only Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Peabody trying to keep the crowd back. It is Christmas 2059. Seems that there had been a company party with refreshments primarily consisting of liquor and chemical packages. Enough to make Santa try to fly over the chimney tops. While Eve well knew she couldn't pin murder on the drug seller, she thought she could get him for something. He was found at Zero's, which was one step up from a dive with revolving bar and private cubicles. The provider is Zero himself, a pint size package of bravado in a loud suit. Once Eve and Peabody take him in, it is Peabody who interrogates and gets him to give himself up. Case is almost closed, but Eve isn't there to see about it because she has an unexpected and unwanted visitor in her office - Trudy Lombard, her former foster mother, a woman who enjoyed raining insults and abuse on nine-year-old Eve. At the sight of her Eve crumbles as memories of her desperate childhood surface. She tells Trudy to get out and bolts for the safety of home. Once there Roarke is as protective as ever, vowing not to let Trudy upset Eve again no matter the cost. "Cost" is the operative word as the next day Trudy appears at his office demanding 2 million or she'll tell the media all about Eve's childhood. Of course, Roarke gives her the boot in no uncertain terms. A day or two later Eve and Roarke go to the hotel where Trudy is staying. Eve wants to confront the harridan herself just to prove that she can do it and not let the destruction of the past resurface to frighten her.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Vintage J.D. RobbJan. 27 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
J.D. Robb continues her excellent series with yet another great installment. In this book, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is forced to confront painful memories from her past when one of her foster mothers, Trudy Lombard, surfaces at the police station to talk to Eve. Trudy had left emotional scars on Eve and memories of cold baths, being locked in the dark, and scrubbing the kitchen with a toothbrush overwhelm her. Eve leaves the police station instead of wrapping up an investigation, which is so out of character that Peabody contacts Eve's husband, Roarke. When Roarke arrives home, he finds Eve huddled under the hot shower. This is the last weak moment for Eve as she pulls herself together to face her emotions at seeing Trudy again. Meanwhile, Roarke is furious and fully expects Trudy to visit him as well as he suspects blackmail is behind Trudy's return. Sure enough, Trudy attempts to extort $2 million dollars from Roarke at his office; the resulting scene is very powerful and displays Roarke's full capabilities. Eve wants to confront Trudy herself and Eve and Roarke go to Trudy's hotel to tell her they will not be subjected to blackmail. However, Trudy is dead and the rest of the novel focuses on Eve's investigation into Trudy's death. Eve also has to cope with her own indifference to Trudy's death as she generally feels a sense of compassion for the victims. This was a highly enjoyable read and a great addition to the series. Highly recommended!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
SUSPENSE TRIGGERED BY PAST TRAGEDYFeb. 1 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
With "Memory In Death" Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb shows readers a very vulnerable Eve Dallas, making an already affecting character even more appealing. Of course, her courage and strength are evident yet this Eve elicits our sympathy as well as our respect. Needless to say, it's one more suspense filled page-turner from this popular author.
The old holiday tune "Santa Claus Is Comin' To town" was given new meaning when St. Nick plunged some 36 stories to the pavement below. No reindeer or sleigh to catch him - only Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Peabody trying to keep the crowd back. It is Christmas 2059.
Seems that there had been a company party with refreshments primarily consisting of liquor and chemical packages. Enough to make Santa try to fly over the chimney tops. While Eve well knew she couldn't pin murder on the drug seller, she thought she could get him for something. He was found at Zero's, which was one step up from a dive with revolving bar and private cubicles. The provider is Zero himself, a pint size package of bravado in a loud suit.
Once Eve and Peabody take him in, it is Peabody who interrogates and gets him to give himself up. Case is almost closed, but Eve isn't there to see about it because she has an unexpected and unwanted visitor in her office - Trudy Lombard, her former foster mother, a woman who enjoyed raining insults and abuse on nine-year-old Eve. At the sight of her Eve crumbles as memories of her desperate childhood surface. She tells Trudy to get out and bolts for the safety of home.
Once there Roarke is as protective as ever, vowing not to let Trudy upset Eve again no matter the cost. "Cost" is the operative word as the next day Trudy appears at his office demanding 2 million or she'll tell the media all about Eve's childhood. Of course, Roarke gives her the boot in no uncertain terms.
A day or two later Eve and Roarke go to the hotel where Trudy is staying. Eve wants to confront the harridan herself just to prove that she can do it and not let the destruction of the past resurface to frighten her. That's a confrontation that does not take place as Trudy is found bludgeoned to death on the floor of her hotel room. There's no sign of forced entry and nothing has been taken.
Both Eve and Roarke have an airtight alibi for the time of Trudy's death, but why would anyone in New York want to kill her? More importantly, who?
- Gail Cooke
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A slower paced yet more in depth novel.Jan. 26 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
"Origin of Death" with the Icove case becomes the catalyst for the action in this new novel. Eve and Roarke had a lot of television "vid" coverage locally and nationally because of that case involving genetics and murder. It is now a Friday, a few days before Christmas and Eve has caught a scene where a party Santa has jumped out a high rise and landed on a pedestrian killing him as well. Eve makes her partner Peabody the "primary" on the case and she does well on scene.
When Lt. Dallas walks back into her office at Central she finds a middle aged lady that she doesn't at first recognize - she buried the memory of this woman - Trudy Lombard, former foster mother who was anything BUT a nurturing type. Darkness and cold baths flash Eve back and cause her to throw Trudy out as Trudy makes sly insinuations. Eve forewarns Roarke at home and sure enough the next day, Trudy goes to him to try to blackmail him for two million dollars for her to keep quiet about Eve's past. Of course, Roarke will have no part of that and puts the "fear of God" into Trudy who rushes away - still plotting and planning.
Eve and Roarke spend some time together Saturday preparing for a Christmas party that night for over 200 hundred people. Eve even gets into the swing of things helping supervising the decorating of the ballroom and finding she can handle a more "domestic" type of task.
Eve and Roarke decide on Sunday to go visit Trudy at her hotel and explain that they will not give in to her blackmail and so that Eve can confront her with confidence. They find Trudy's son Bobby's wife banging on the hotel door. They have a maid open it and Trudy is found dead!! While Eve and Roarke are not suspects as they were surrounded by people at their party, a host of other possible suspects including other former foster children are soon added to the list. Eve has sentimental feelings for Trudy's son Bobby as he used to sneak her food but she does not let that get in the way of her investigation.
As Eve deals with her memories and finding Trudy's killer, she and Roarke also share happy times at Christmas and she grows closer to Dr. Mira and her family as well. A wonderful story and actually a welcome break from the previously more gory "Origin in Death".
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Pause for a breakJan. 25 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Memory in Death is the latest in the in Death series written by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts. This latest novel is set at Christmas, just a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the Icove case of Origin in Death, and the two novels are very strongly connected. For, the concomitant publicity wrought by the resolution of the Icove case is the primary cause for the action of the new novel.
In brief, Trudy Lombard who was once Eve Dallas's foster mother, an abusive and sadistic woman, catches the news about the Icove case which features the primary Eve Dallas, married to the fabulously wealthy Roarke. Resolved to be repaid for having housed Dallas for a few months, Lombard comes to New York City with intent to blackmail Dallas and Roarke so she will be silent about Dallas's traumatic childhood. Though Dallas is badly shaken and spun into the black well of her traumatic childhood memories, she rejects Lombard, as does Roarke whom the woman later approaches. The action of the novel commences when Dallas and Roarke set out to Lombard's hotel to face her down together and discover her murdered with her body showing signs of a severe beating.
Fans of J.D. Robb are doomed to disappointment if they come to Memory in Death expecting the tension and bloody trails that are the hallmark of previous novels or even the philosophical musings that are the subtext of Origin in Death. Instead, Memory in Death mirrors the slowing down of business activity-even cop business-that occurs as Christmas nears; thus, it pays homage to the Christmas season in spite of its unorthodox opening with the death of a party Santa.
Though restraining the central characters to the investigation of one murder, Robb retains the sense of the diurnal occurrence of murder by having other investigative officers report in to Dallas on the progress of their cases. This is something that she has seldom done even though readers sometimes hear about the case-load of a regular like Baxter. Thus, Robb slows down the pace, reduces the frantic urgency, and so sets the stage for what Christmas is about: loved ones, family, and friends.
In a sense, the novel is a Christmas home-coming for the regulars, almost all of whom are present at the party, and who are like family to Eve Dallas and Roarke. The party itself, like Dallas's later conversation with Peabody when she calls from Scotland, is given too short shrift, and this undercuts in some slight way to holiday celebration.
One of the benefits of the slow pace of Memory in Death is that it allows for the development of relationships, such as that between Dallas and Charlotte Mira. The Miras are shown, through Charlotte's conversation with Eve, to be a warts and all less than perfect couple. The result is that Dallas, who struggles periodically with roles and the interpersonal aspect of marriage, is reassured that perfection is unlikely. Mira continues to teach Dallas about marriage, family, and friendship.
If Feeney is Dallas's surrogate father, Charlotte Mira is her surrogate mother and friend who cares enough to plead for them to remain friends. Dallas's lack of ease with personal relationships outside of her marriage and the work situation, even her hardness, is highlighted by Mira's plea. In the mushy grounds of disagreement, love, anger, and exchange that is friendship, Dallas is often lost. Happily for her sake, Charlotte Mira helps her find her way back. Dallas's discomfort is also shown in the abrupt way she dismisses Peabody who calls from her Scotland visit with McNab's relatives. Moreover, some of the sticks-in-the-craw dirt comes out in a fight between Eve and Roarke which makes them an even more realistic couple because Dallas vents her envy that Roarke's family situation turned out so well for him. The dust up between the two and its resolution reminds that envy and anger can bubble up against even those we love.
At the heart of the novel is the rich irony that Trudy Lombard, who, in life, had psychologically abused her female foster charges, in death is the subject of an equally psychological murder investigation. Call it a consequence of the Christmas slow down or what you will, it is undeniable that Memory in Death is not action-driven but more focused on the detailing of the deductive reasoning process that is so crucial to the resolution of criminal cases.
The characters of Bobby Lombard and his wife Zana make the novel work on several different levels. For one, Bobby is the vehicle through whom Dallas realizes that not all of her childhood memories are horrific. Though Bobby Lombard did nothing openly to stem his mother's abuse of her foster girls, he compensated by sneaking Eve food when Trudy punished her by withholding food. In looking backwards, Dallas's experience with the neighbor's boy's airskate foreshadows the tough-minded woman who is unafraid of taking physical shots in the performance of her duties. In remembering him, Eve recalls that what prompted her flight from Trudy Lombard's house was her failure to stand up for the boy, who had been kind to her, when Trudy Lombard falsely accused him of vandalism. For another, Bobby is also cause of Dallas's realizing that true love is not blind to the faults of the beloved. The ability to see the strengths and weaknesses, even the pettiness of the beloved is critical to the formation of a strong bond between a couple. Through Zana come some of the detours that add some measure of suspense, even drama, to this slow paced novel. The philosophical issue at the core of the novel is raised through the Lombard family; through them Robb forces her readers to question whether it is ever possible to say that one knows a person. Certainly, Bobby knows neither his mother nor his wife. This then raises the concomitant issue, if we cannot and do not know whom we love, then can we really love them?
Though there are head feints to prevent the resolution of the crime, none is strong enough to counteract what Dallas's gut tells her about the identity of the murderer. Nevertheless, she cannot go on gut alone but must still build the case so that it leads to a sustainable arrest, must still has to follow the evidentiary trail and employ deductive reasoning to close the case.
Through Dallas's insistence on standing for Trudy Lombard who abused the young Eve Dallas, Robb reveals the strength of character of both the protagonist and her husband Roarke. Even though Dallas despises Trudy and has no real enthusiasm for the case, she still pursues the investigation to its conclusion. This integrity in the face of provocation-the memories of abuse which would argue against Dallas pursuing Lombard's killer or rejoicing in her death-is reflected in Roarke who, though he would kill those who have harmed/would harm his wife, will not engage in action that would destroy Dallas and their relationship. This, integrity of character, then, points to their suitability for one another.
Nevertheless, in the end, Dallas is almost despairing, which mood Robb builds through a judicious depiction of character, use of language and context. Other in Death novels have ended on a cheerier note; this one forces it. In the end, though, Robb has the wisdom to let her readers breathe, to relax a little after the high strung tension and ethical horror she depicts in Origin in Death.
Great reading. Make sure and buy it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
memory in death in Christmas timeMay 3 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This was an interesting story blending Eve's past when she was a foster child, blackmail, Christmas celebration, and Eve's work troubles.
What I considered interesting was the revelation of Eve's past as a foster child and how CPS failed to help a child in trouble and placed the child with Trudy, who was more of a professional money-collector than professional-mom for foster children. However, fitting to Christmas spirit, everything turns out well for Eve and Roarke, for Peabody and McNabb and all the other important and less important characters in this book. Also, it shows that even if you have had a horrible childhood and have bad memories, you can still turn out to be a good citizen and have a great life when you're grown up.