If our count is correct, this is the 16th Homicide Lt. Eve Dallas murder mystery by the prolific Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. While it sticks pretty close to the form of the other entries in the series -- including the futuristic setting in the year 2059; fellow cop associates Peabody, McNab, Feeney, Trueheart; and husband and billionaire Roarke -- the writing just seems to be reaching new levels, if our reader reaction (and a few tears along the way) is any indication. In addition to the serial killer Eve is hot to track down, in a side story, Roarke learns the true identity and story behind his real mother back in Ireland and the horrible fate she met at a young age. The scenes in which he re-visited Eire were moving and poignant, creating a welcome contrast to the young people being offed in Gotham City by apparently a photographer (i.e., "imager", maybe already a better title!?") who, while not brutal, is probably mad.
No need to reveal more of the fine story -- the plot is entertaining til the end even though we have the insider's view and knowledge as we admire Eve's steady but slick dissection of clues. That we can conjure up some of the same sympathy Eve does toward the killer once he's caught says something about both our leading lady and the human condition. As usual, Robb's stories are satisfying, but we feel the writing skills gain more edge and emotion as we proceed. Not bad for some 16 books into a series, many others of which have long since gone stale. We were lucky to unearth a hardback copy of "Portrait" and hope that the future novels in the set will follow suit -- enjoy!