on April 19, 2003
This is the 15th novel in the Nora Roberts (writing as J. D. Robb) suspense/mystery/crime thriller series about a NYC Homicide Lieutenant, Eve Dallas. Supporting our leading lady is a cast of characters we have come to enjoy, including her billionaire husband, Roarke; her aide, (Ms.) Peabody; a young policeman named Trueheart (honest!); and electronic/computer cop specialists McNab and Feeney. A contemporary premise, that a PC virus could cause a human brain virus, starts things off in a hurry with Trueheart killing a civilian who seemingly has gore berserk and murdered one of his neighbors while raving and ranting about how his head hurts. Eve Dallas takes this call, and soon other deaths in like fashion occur, including one in which a fellow cop is killed from working on an infected PC. Autopsies reveal significant brain swelling from unknown causes. A screen message "Absolute Purity has Been Achieved" leads to the supposition that a vigilante group is behind the killings, as at first their targets are dope dealers and pedophiles, etc. The story follows police efforts to identify and catch the criminals -- but along the way we get doses of differing philosophy about the group and its cause; emotional scenes surrounding the death of the policeman and McNab's disability; glimpses into the politics of modern police departments, and as much suspense as we can handle til the real culprits surface after several mis-directions near the end.
As always, the scene is set ahead in time 50 years, so that video cellphones, personal air vehicles and a few other sci-fi touches enliven the stories without dominating the basic police procedurals. Still, Robb's writing seems at the top her form in this story; we wept several times during various sad and gripping scenes surrounding the deaths and funerals involved with the innocent. We feel this one of the most exceptional stories we have read in several months and have decided to put in on our ten-best in our lifetime list. That says an awful lot for someone who reads a couple of thousand books each decade.
Get it; read it; weep, smile, and enjoy immensely !!
on February 28, 2003
A young officer named Trueheart, on the NYPSD in 2059, calls his lieutenant, Eve Dallas, in shock. He has just killed a man in the line of duty, a man who was holed up in his apartment in front of his computer and suddenly went berserk, blood pouring from his body as he attacked his apartment building neighbors. On his computer screen is the single line: Absolute purity achieved. The case soon mushrooms when one of the NYPSD techs who studies the sick man's computer for clues goes berserk himself, with fatal consequences. Soon other cases are popping up, and in each instance the message left on their computer is the same. So are the victims' backgrounds. Pedophiles, drug dealers, everyone who has hurt the young and the helpless -- they are being targeted by a rebel group that's created a computer virus to infect humans. While the Purity Seekers are being hailed by the public as heros, behind the scenes Eve Dallas and her crew are working overtime to catch them and bring them to justice.
PURITY IN DEATH, the 15th book in Nora Roberts' "In Death" series, initially proved a pleasant surprise. Having never enjoyed Roberts' romance fiction, I was prepared to be similarly unimpressed by her futuristic work, but found myself reading the first half of this book with great interest. The characters, if not believable, are at least fascinating, especially Eve Dallas and her hot and brainy husband, Roarke, and two other officers on the NYPSD, Peabody and McNab, whose romance is a welcome subplot. (My favorite character was actually Trueheart, and I was disappointed not to see more of him, although I guess he's featured in earlier installments.) The plot, if hackneyed and implausible and without technical backup, has some interesting aspects. But the ending.... Roberts lost me about halfway through this novel, when I started skimming with a partial idea of the outcome and little interest in confirming it. What started out a fast-paced if immature read unfortunately became bogged down in a political morass that was resolved without fulfilling any of the promise delivered by the early chapters.
Readers interested in realistic futuristic fiction with cutting edge technology and gripping plotlines should look elsewhere, but no doubt fans of this series, having the information from the previous books to sustain them, will find PURITY IN DEATH a decent, if not stunning, addition to their collection.
on November 29, 2002
I BOUGHT BETRAYAL IN DEATH FIRST, NOT KNOWING IT WAS THE 12TH BOOK IN THE 13 BOOK SERIES AT THE TIME. THIS SERIES IS THE BEST SERIES I'VE EVER READ BY ANYONE. ROBB/ROBERTS IS AN EXCELLANT WRITER. I STARTED READING THIS SERIES IN APRIL OF 2001. I HAVE READ EACH BOOK IN THIS SERIES 3 TIMES. I PICK UP A BOOK AND JUST KEEP READING IT UNTIL IT'S DONE. I DON'T HAVE ONE SPECIFIC FAVORITE BECAUSE THEY ALL ARE.
EVE & ROARKE ARE GREAT TOGETHER WHEN IT COMES TO BUSINESS AND PERSONAL REALITY AND ARE VERY FUNNY. EVE IN WHOLE IS JUST A FUNNY, STRONG, INDEPENDANT, HARDWORKING WOMEN. EVEN WHEN SOMETHING NEW COMES UP SHE WORKS HARD BUT SHE STILL MAKES ME LAUGH EVEN IN THE BAD TIMES.
SOMETIMES I WILL BE QUIET FOR HOURS READING THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN I START LAUGHING LIKE CRAZY, MY HUSBAND GETS WORRIED, BUT IT'S JUST EVE ENTERTAINING ME ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
THIS IS ONE SERIES THAT I DON'T WANT TO END EVER. THIS IS RECOMMENDED TO EVERYONE, PLEASE READ THIS AND YOU'LL ENJOY IT.
I HOPE ROBB/ROBERTS KEEPS UP THE VERY EXCELLENT JOB AND GIVES US MORE OF EVE, ROARKE, MAVIS, PEABODY, MCNAB, WHITNEY, SUMMERSET, FEENEY, AND JAMIE (FEENEY'S GODSON & COMPUTER GENIOUS).
on November 27, 2002
J.D. Robb incorporates the threat of terrorism, this time through a computer virus designed to spread from machine to man, into the latest installment of her Eve Dallas series. People are dying, and it takes awhile for the detectives, with the inevitable help of Roarke, Eve's husband, to figure out what is causing it and who is behind the plot. Without giving the plot away, those close to Dallas are in danger, and are injured, compelling her to work at an exhausting pace to resolve the mystery and put "criminals in high places" behind bars.
Dallas is true to form both in action, and in squirming over the politics of being on the police force and being married to Roarke. All the colorful supporting characters are back, although there is rather less of the butler, Summerset, than I would prefer. His love-hate relationship with Dallas is always colorful.
Something about this installment dragged for me, although I couldn't put my finger on it, and I kept putting the book down and picking it up again...as a result, it took me longer to read than usual. Don't think that I'm tired of the series, I just believe that it wasn't quite up to Robb's usual standards.
I'm still looking forward to the next "In Death" book in March!
on October 5, 2002
On a panel at a science fiction convention, i once heard an author explain that you are permitted to introduce one piece of the miracle element "Bolonium" (which can do or be anything the author wants) into your story, but after that you can't do anything else contrary to fact in your storytelling.
Robb gets away with two chunks, but, since one is the underlying pseudo-science-fiction setting in the year 2059 introduced at the very beginning of the series, i'll give her a bye on that one.
My wife and i are both involved professionally with computers, and she told me that she was afraid i wasn't going to like this book because it involved a computer virus that could attack human brains. I explained the Bolonium Hypothesis to her; and, as i expected (based on previous Dallas/Roarke mysteries), while i didn't believe for a moment that such a thing could happen, if i accepted that it could, i was in for a pretty good romance/police procedural novel as Dallas and company mobilised to catch the Bad Guys.
Said Bad Guys are a group of vigilante-types who are out to bring their own brand of "justice" to child-predators who cannot be touched by the law; as is often the case in plots of this type, the initial public reaction to their actions and manifestos is guardedly favourable -- after all, they're only attacking nasty child-molestors.
But Dallas and her people are aware that people who deal extra-legal "justice" to one class of offendor are likely to expand their attentiosn to others. And not everyone agrees as to just who ought to die for his "crimes". A child-molestor? Quite possibly. A dealer in nasty drugs? Maybe. A jay-walker. perhaps?
As usual, Robb delivers the goods, specially in the secondary characters with which this series is so rich. Peabody and McNabb have particularly strong (and uncharacteristic, but completely in-character) roles to play, and Mavis has a Startling Announcement.
While you can start the series with this volume (or any other), i really think you'll have more fun if you start with the first and read them in order.
on October 2, 2002
In this particular book, I found some plot elements that were satisfying, if predictable, and a few characters that seemed real, such as McNab, but others that were mainly taking up space. Once you get past the concept of a mysterious and never satisfactorily explained Svengali effect coming from a computer screen into an individual's mind on a selective basis, the story line makes sense, sort of. I have long admired Nora Roberts work in general, one of the better authors in her particular genre, romance/thrillers. I don't believe dalliance with science fiction angles is necessarily her forte, however, unless one is to suspend disbelief of all known laws of electrical energy conversion, E=MC2, and accept the untrodden ground of psychic phenomena as a material concept. But after all, it is fiction. Mainly, I liked the strong persona of the female protagonist who acts like a tough guy while working with tough cops, takes no guff, would make a gung-ho Marine, but I wished she had shown a bit more of her softer, feminine side now and then, such as in the unnececessary and rudimentary sex scenes with her too-perfect husband. The abruptness of them gave a jarring note to the continuity, sort of like they were thrown in to pander to titillation for commercialism. Of course as a man, I took an immediate dislike to her Irish husband, not because he is a foreigner, but due to being too rich, too handsome, too smart and too controlled. It was never mentioned if he had a green card, either. That aside, I found enough suspense and plot jigs to keep me interested through to the end. Perhaps if I'd read all the previous books in the series I would have cared more for some of the walk-on characters like Mavis, whoever she is supposed to be, but it is still a good read that doesn't force you to extend yourself by trying to figure things out. Entertainment, that's what it is.
on September 25, 2002
What if a computer virus from our-email can infiltrate the computer and infect its operator with a cranial expansion that culminates in destruction? In the 15th installment of the Death series, J.D Robb crafts a chilling techno-dystopia in 2059 where paedophiles and drug-traffickers are mysteriously victimized by a vigilantte operation to uphold justice. Their self-righteous mantra proclaims - absolute purity achieved.
It is up to edgy NYPSD Lieut. Eve Dallas to root out the perpetrators - as the virus exterminates their target but harms innocent by-standers including inflicting a near-fatal paralysis on e-cop McNab and took the life of an innocent sixteen-year old who is slashed by an infected pimp. The investigation grips her as she is apprehended by her past as an abused victim....
Purity in Death has the smarts and chutzpah with the fearless Dallas relentless in her pursuit for justice. J.D Robbs has honed her prose to razor-edged sharpness and accelerates the pacing to a frenzy one with grisly murders, political machinations up the social echelons and intrigues with provocative questions on morals and justice. It is dark and disturbing given the increasing number of computer-savvy felons sprouting at present who abuse and terrorize with the power of technology.
Clever characterization, swift dialogues and a wonderful supporting cast in the form of Eve's techno-whiz husband Roarke, her comically larcenous aide Peabody and the tenacious news-reporter Nadine makes this outing an eventful one for Robbs. Though her refreshing plot lacks the conviction to plunge in with more depth and moral complications, it nevertheless serves its purpose as a fast, jugular suspense thriller that oozes pure intelligence.
- Desmond CHan
on September 15, 2002
A computer virus from hell is infecting more than machines in New York City circa 2059. Launched by a self-righteous terrorist organization (aren't they all?), this baby seeps into the brains of its victims, causing paranoia, extreme violence, unbearable pain, and unspeakable death. The victims are not stellar human beings--most are drug dealers and/or child molesters--but in the throes of the virus, each has murdered an innocent victim, including a cop. Besides, thinks Eve Dallas, who is primary on the case, vigilante justice is never warranted.
The story of the terrorist organization, Absolute Purity, and Eve's desperate fight to bring it down, is one of the best JD Robb/Nora Roberts has written in this series. It's fast, it's furious, it's interesting, and not entirely predictable. The deep introspection that has so plagued the last few books in the series is gone, as is the endless back-and-forth battle Eve wages to accept that she is loved. MacNab and Peabody are back, and their relationship has, just in the nick of time (for the reader, anyway), deepened. Roarke is his usual inhumanly gorgeous and brilliant self, Feeney is aboard with his omnipresent bag of candied almonds, and Eve's "rad" friend Mavis has a surprise that far surpasses her purple hair.
All in all, this is one fun read. Unlike the last few in the series, it left me wanting more, and I'm looking forward to the next In-Death release.
on September 10, 2002
I was hooked after the first book in this series. I didn't give this one my usual 5 stars because I have to admit that some aspects of the story-telling are getting a little repetitive. Certainly one can't love this series and not love the characters. They are always a strength of this writer and she is continues to be true to them. While we get to enjoy their growth and the changes that make them come alive and believable to us as readers, I have to admit that I'm getting a little tired of Eve's overly familar idiosyncracies. When I start to skip over paragraphs because I've read the same thing in all the previous books, it might be time for the writer to figure out how to freshen up this series a bit. While I do realize that each book must also be written for people who have never read any of the others, I think the criticism of Ms. Roberts proliferation abilities might be starting to ring true. The Janet Evanovich series with Stephanie Plum come out once a year, and I think they just keep getting better. ARE YOU LISTENING NORA? You're talent is too great, and your readers too loyal, to settle for less than your best.
on September 8, 2002
The summer of 2059 in New York is brutal and tempers are flaring over trifling things. The New York Police and Security Department are kept busy leading to Lieutenant Eve Dallas reaching the end of her rope. When Louis Cogburn, a low level drug dealer who sells to children, suddenly goes berserk killing someone and injuring another person before he dies Eve catches the case.
At the scene of the blood bath she notices that on Louis's computer is the message "ABSOLUTE PURITY ACHIEVED". She orders the computer brought to headquarters where an officer specializing in computers examines it. Eight hours later the officer goes berserk, killing a peer and injuring another before he's killed. Eve immediately realizes that a virus on the computer is being passed on to humans, causing them to die. The Purity Seekers, an organization dedicated to destroying those who hurt the innocents takes credit for Louis's death. When a pediophile is found dead with the same message on it as Louis received, Eve realizes she has to smoke out the terrorists fast before they mete out their own brand of vigilante justice.
This is the fifteenth in the Death series and it is as fresh and innovative as the first book in this ongoing saga. The characters are growing and evolving with readers liking even the secondary cast almost as much as they adore the hero and heroine. In PURITY IN DEATH, the heroine's husband provides technical advice to Eve, but this time she figures out who the terrorists are and brings them to justice. J.D. Robb has written another fantastic futuristic romantic thriller.