Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, has created a successful series based on a few basic principles. The first, and in my opinion, most important aspect is a fascinating heroine, who presents different layers that the author has been revealing in each installment and will certainly continue to do so. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a tough cop, who is relentless in her pursue of justice and feels as if the victims were hers to save. On the other hand, she is the wife of the billionaire Roarke, and has to deal with parties and charity events in which she is expected to mingle and maintain polite chit-chat with the guests. She has been adjusting slowly to this area of her life and even though she does not like it, she has learned to accept it. The fact that Eve was abused by her father when she was a child and had to kill him in order to escape also plays an important role in the development of the story and in almost every case Eve faces. Her husband also has a complex past, involving an abusing father who killed Roarke's mother and then lied to him about who his real mother was. Only recently did the billionaire learned the truth about this and reunited with what was left of his family.
Besides the two main characters, Robb has created a supporting cast that adds appeal to the series and which I consider to be the second factor in its success. Peabody is Eve's former aide and current partner who has recently made detective and who usually adds a good part of humor to the narration with her witty comments. She is in love with McNabb, a policeman working in the Electronic Detectives Division, and they are in the process of moving together to a new apartment. There are other interesting characters: Feeney, Eve's trainer and mentor, Mavis, Eve's best friend, Nadine Furst, a reporter for Channel 75 who has become a close friend with Eve, Charles, a licensed companion who is now dating a doctor, and several others. One of the most appealing aspects of the series has to do with the development of the stories of each of these people, and that is why I recommend reading the series in order.
The third and final element that helps create a superb series is the cleverly crafted world in which the action takes place: New York in the year 2059. The setting presents several characteristics that make it very different from our world, like cars that fly, drones that take care of household chores, the ban on firearms, the anticancer vaccine, the legalization of prostitution, the difficulty for getting real coffee, etc. Also, the advances in terms of technology require criminals to be more clever and careful when committing their crimes, and we usually end up reading about complex mysteries. In this novel, Eve is summoned to the scene of a ghastly murder. The victim was raped and strangled using a red ribbon and before leaving, the killer took out her eyes as a memento. The poor woman had a four-year-old kid and worked as hired help for a wealthy couple, and there is nothing that indicates that someone would have wanted to hurt her.
Everything is business as normal until Celina Sanchez shows up wanting to talk to Eve and claiming she has information about the murder. Celina is a psychic and claims that she saw the killing in a vision. Even though Eve does not really believe in this stuff, she goes along with it following Peabody's advice and realizing that if it does not help at least it will not hurt either. This is not the first time Robb uses supernatural events in the series, but in her previous attempt she went too far making it hardly believable. In the present try the results were much better, and since the case Eve is facing is one of the best mysteries in the series so far, the overall quality of the novel benefits even more.
As usual, Robb creates a good balance between the police procedural and the development of the personal stories of the characters in the series. Of course, the romantic scenes are still present through the narration, but without overdoing it. I was very pleased with this installment, and I am looking forward to the next one. A final word of advice, the publisher's blurb gives out important information regarding events towards the end of the novel. I would have preferred to read the book without knowing these facts. The good thing is that even if you read them, there will be a surprise waiting for you.