on September 9, 2003
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!
on June 6, 2003
What attracted me most about this book, the 16th by the highly talented J.D Robb (Nora Roberts), was not the plot: a sadistic murderer kills innocent and young people in their twenties and takes photographs of them in posed shots after their deaths. In this area, Robb does a great job as usual in following Eve through the steps in her investigation. Her attention to details is still there, along with Eve's witty and amusing quips and twitchy eye. if you are a regular In Death reader, you will know, as I did, who the murderer is before Eve does. (Makes you feel all triumphant and gleeful inside.)
What attracted me was the character development and the relationship between our favourite couple, Eve and Roarke. In this book, Roarke's real history is uncovered and we learn that his real mother was not the abuser he thought her to be but a young, innocent girl murdered by Roarke's father.
Their roles are now reversed. Roarke is the vulnerable one, lashing out at Eve and feeling his world is turned upside down while Eve is the protector, the caring wife (or life-partner, as Eve would insist) becoming the rock in his life. There is a lovely scene where Roarke is in Ireland, wishing for Eve while rubbing the button from her suit that he carries around, knowing that she is the stable one in his life and that he needs her.
Their married life is still as spicy as ever and with the introduction of Roarke's new family, there is now another interesting angle to explore in upcoming books, along with the McNab/Peabody angle, Charles/Louise angle, Jamie angle and Mavis being pregnant/Leonardo angle. Do not forget Eve's past that has not been fully explored yet. Guaranteed to fill up pages effortlessly.
Here's to Imitation in Death coming soon!
on May 19, 2003
Once again another great addition to the In Death Series. I have to disagree with a reviewer, I found this book truly outstanding. I really did, I think it is the best in the series thus far. The entire book was very surprising, excellent scenario!
Normally you figure it out toward the end the "who dune it" but this time round I didn't have a clue.
More of Roarke and Dallas's personal stories were revealed, but this time the shoe was on the other foot. There is a secret Roarke discovered. You learned a new side to him as he also learned this side. You also saw a side to Eve as she put her work case second and her husband first. I can't tell you what it is this would spoil it but to do all this learning the end up in Ireland.
Then a bright young college student is murdered and thrown in a recycler like so much trash, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is, determined to stand for the dead and find the killer. But perhaps most disturbing about this particular case, is that prior to the discovery of the body, a package of photos of the murdered girl were sent to Eve's friend, Nadine Furst, a well-known TV reporter. It's clear that the killer photographed the victim for some time before the death, without her knowledge, and it's also clear that in the picture, the girl is already dead. The killer wants Nadine's help in showing his work. Then the second victim in found and once again it revolves around their picture the killer had taken. Portrait in Death blasted off with a bold and imaginative concept on an obsession of immortality, and light, but its depth grew when Robb emphasized on the action and characters. The storyline was so compelling, it really made this a page turning thriller.
All the characters who are loved were also back in this entry. There is still humor between Eve and Peabody's dialog. Still humor in Eve and Sumorset, even more in this story as he had a fall and delayed his holiday. One talent Robb has is the building of characters.
This is a must read for all the In Death readers out there. If you are new to the series, start at the beginning with Naked in death and just go down the line. It will not take long either and they get addicting. I know I can't wait for the new one to come out in fall. I really do enjoy this series and I really do feel this was the best of them so far.
on May 9, 2003
Did I like this book? Yes. Do I think I did the right thing purchasing it? Yes, because it's entertaining and certainly a keeper. The plot was good, and Eve and Roarke are, as always, a wonderful couple.
But was this book outstanding? No, because some of the other books in the "In death Series" are much better. Anyway, for those who are fans of J.D.Robb(like me), this book (number 16 in the series) will be a welcome addition to your library. It brings quite a strange role reversal: in this opportunity is Eve who takes care of Roarke while he tries to come to terms with some revelations regarding his past (more specifically his mother). There is also a good crime story, about a killer who chooses his victims due to their beauty, follows them and murders them, never forgetting to photograph them just after he slays them, believing that by doing that he'll own their beauty and innocence forever (isn't that sick?).
So, if you have already read some of J.D. Robb's books I recommend you to buy "Portrait in death", because you'll like it. However, if you are new to the series and want to read your first book, I'd recommend you to "do 1st things 1st", and start by the beginning: "Naked in death" (1st in the series). By doing so, you'll be able to get to know better the main characters and will be able to concentrate on the story (instead of getting confused with how many of them you are already supposed to know by now in this book, the 16th).
I hope I helped you :) Good reading !!!!
on April 28, 2003
Every time I think I'm finally maxed out on the "In Death" series, J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, comes through with another blockbuster that renews my interest all over again.
"Portrait in Death" comes along at exactly the right time--for almost the first time, the mystery/murder takes a back seat to Roarke and Dallas' personal life, with a twist the reader has simply not expected. Don't think you're going to have yet another trip into Eve's nightmares, or another scary walk down the underside of Dublin's seamy alleyways. I won't be a spoiler and say what it is, but I'll give you a hint--luscious Roarke shows yet another side to his already impossibly sexy and desirable personality.
Enough said on THAT...moving on to the mystery, it's a spooky look at a very sick mind. Somebody has been murdering young, beautiful students in order to pose them in artistic photographs--and simultaneously absorb their "light." Eve and her faithful sidekick Peabody (just perfect in this outing, as is MacNab) have to stop him before he strikes--or in this case, snaps--again.
Get the book and find out what happens next. A genuine five-star effort for Nora!!
on April 22, 2003
"Portrait In Death" is the first J.D. Robb novel I have read. It wasn't until I finished the book that I found there is a long series of "...In Death" books. There doesn't seem to be any significance, however, to my having started out at the end of the list.
There is a decent amount of suspense in this book and it kept my interest to the end. This story takes place over 50 years from now. The year is 2059 and Robb appropriately incorporates innovations we will probably have in our lives 50 years hence.
There are many appliances in this story that respond to voice command, computers that talk in pleasant conversational voices, droids to act as servants, and other futuristic concepts. If you have already read some of this series this won't be news to you but it was new to me and I liked it.
As you can imagine, many futuristic computerized devices are used in helping to solve this murder mystery. Seeing advanced versions of equipment we already have, and that works, is interesting. Not once did anyone have to re-boot a computer.
Robb takes a "side trip" from the mystery and while it does serve to fill in some history related to the characters, I didn't especially like being taken away from the main story. The side trip was like a story within a story. Roarke, for example, had a personal event to deal with which was really its own story.
Like many mysteries, this one was good to read while exercising on the treadmill.
on April 18, 2003
I bought this book not realizing that it was part of a series. It is a good book for reading independently from the other books. Yes, there are some details that are from the previous books but the reader can get some ideas of the happenings. It is a very suspenseful read. For me, it started out slow but I stuck with it. It became such a fast and exciting read that I could not put it down. I have not finished the book yet, I cannot wait to find out who is the killer. It is a book that keeps me guessing. I will have to read quickly to find out who is the killer. I love the fact that this is a book written in the future. This causes you to imagine the futuristic plot and scenery. Eve Dallas is a very serious and good police officer. She takes her work home with her. Her dear husband, Roarke, found out the truth about his real mother and this has him trying to find out all about his real past. Eve Dallas is very demanding and gets the people and resources that she needs quickly. Now if we could only get that in real life! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I love her other books under her name, Nora Roberts. No matter what book you read; she is one of the best writers with a lot of descriptive writing. She sets the stage so well that she makes her readers crave for more. The book flows without any confusing details. The writing is clear and concise. The book is never boring. If you are looking for a thrill ride, this book is for you.
on April 16, 2003
Well, what is there to say about the incomparable Nora Roberts, writing here as J.D. Robb, except for WOW! This woman continues to amaze me, creating one utterly enchanting novel after another, so I think, "surely she can't top this one". After reading and loving every book in the "In Death" series, I picked up "Portrait in Death" with very high expectations, and fell in love with Eve, Roarke and everyone else all over again! What a fantastic novel! "Portrait in Death" contains a thrilling and compelling mystery along with some of the most absorbing and well-written character development that we have seen to date in this series. And, of course, it's really our fascination with the characters that keeps us coming back to this series over and over again, and does "Portrait in Death" ever deliver!
The story takes place during the sweltering hot summer of 2059, and Robb skillfully creates a sense of time and place so that readers feel as if they themselves are there, more than 55 years in the future. And when a bright young college student is murdered and thrown in a recycler like so much trash, the tenacious Lieutenant Eve Dallas is, once again, determined to stand for the dead and find the killer. But perhaps most disturbing about this particular case, is that prior to the discovery of the body, a package of photos of the murdered girl were sent to Eve's friend, Nadine Furst, a well-known TV reporter. It's clear that the killer photographed the victim for some time before her death, without her knowledge, and it's also clear that in the final, perfect picture, the girl is already dead.
The killer wants Nadine's help in showing his glorious work and the miraculous final outcome of that work to the world, but the killer will have to deal with Lieutenant Dallas if that work is to be finished. Fueled by the surety that her killer won't wait long to strike again, Eve launches into another fascinating investigation, ably assisted by her faithful aide Peabody and her usual team including EDD's Captain Feeny and Detective McNab. All of these recurring secondary characters continue to amuse and intrigue me with their ever-evolving relationship dynamics, though in "Portrait in Death" the spotlight falls undeniably on Eve and her super-sexy, ultra-rich husband Roarke.
As is clear from my description of him, Roarke is every woman's fantasy man, a role that has always made him seem a bit larger than life and a bit too perfect to be human. But in "Portrait in Death", we discover a whole new, much more human side of Roarke, which was absolutely wonderful to explore. Indeed, the most compelling thread in this expertly woven tale begins when Roarke discovers a shocking and long-kept secret about his parentage, which knocks his feet right out from under him. Confused, guilty, and in great emotional turmoil, Roarke deals with the whole situation unbelievably badly. So Eve finds herself in unfamiliar territory. In previous books, it has always been Roarke taking care of Eve, but now it is up to Eve to make things better for Roarke and help him get his feet back on solid ground. And I was completely captivated watching Eve, for perhaps the first time ever, put her work aside for the sake of her husband. Eve really comes through as a wife in "Portrait in Death" and it was a beautiful thing to see. We all know that Eve is a fantastic Lieutenant, and it's always a pleasure to watch her work her way through a case and see justice served, but in this book, we discover that Eve is also a fantastic wife. Eve's sensitivity and tact in dealing with Roarke's situation amazed me, and this insightful and touching storyline made "Portrait in Death" an enormously rewarding read.
Robb seamlessly mixes the emotional tale of Roarke's newly discovered background with Eve's suspenseful pursuit of a killer to create one magnificent novel. I loved every moment of "Portrait in Death" and I just can't praise it enough. "Portrait in Death" gets my whole-hearted recommendation, though I hasten to add that readers will get far more out of this novel if they have already read the rest of the series. And it's not that newcomers won't be able to follow the story, it's just that the events of previous books make Eve's development as a person and Roarke's newfound humanity incredibly gratifying to those who've been with them from the start, an element that just won't be appreciated by first time readers. Nonetheless, "Portrait in Death" is a superb novel, sure to be enjoyed by each and every reader. So don't hesitate, buy this captivating book today!
on April 9, 2003
As usual J.D. Robb has done a superb job. Eve Dallas, NYPD, is ever bit the cop woman. She is rough, but gentle quite a contradiction.Only J.D. Robb could pull that act off. Learning to balance the life of a cop who stands in for the dead and the life as a wife to the wealthy, steely, but oh so good-looking Roarke is quite a juggling act. There again, only with J. D.Robb could this be done. The book,"Portrait In Death" holds the reader spell bound and wanting more. J. D. not only holds her audience captive and spell bound but alwo delievers a story that is well researched. I have the entire Death series and this book is just as fantastic as the first. Eve and Roarke have come along way!These characters along with all the others in the book are so real and alive. When you finish the book it is with sadness that you must leave these characters that have indeed become your family and friends. As an avid reader and a teacher, my hat is off th you, J.D. Robb. Please hurry with more death series books. I can't wait to get back to my friends!
on March 8, 2003
Well, I did enjoy this installment after taking a break from the series around Seduction in Death. I had quit reading due to the ongoing predictable circumstances in this series. Roarke still is a billionaire who own everything in the world on/off planet and he will always be involved in Eve's cases and continues to provide Eve with the best sex she's ever had in her life. Without him, I guess we wouldn't have much a series (which I strongly disagree if more effort was put forth to make this series more original). In this installment, we learn more about Roarke's past, about a past he thought was true but turns out to be only a facade. When he investigates the truth about his heritage, he withdraws into himself and shuts Eve out. This is where the novel gets interesting in that Roarke almost always has Eve as his balance. In this case, he feels he must deal with this problem alone but Eve does aggressively knock down a few of the barriers that he puts up and together, they face the future and the truth and move on with their lives.
The usual characters from previous books make an appearance. McNab and Peaboy are still burning up the sheets and Sommerset still gives Eve eye-twitches. A good book and my last. I wish there was more depth to these characters but I guess you can't have everything. This is a great series but I just wish Robb would do more.