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Cannonball Read V: Survivor in Death by J. D. Robb

By Malin | Book Reviews | February 14, 2013 | Comments ()


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Survivor In Death is book 20 in the In Death series, and while the books can be read in no particular order, and as stand alone mysteries, I suspect you'd have more fun if you started with some of the earlier books, or at the beginning with Naked in Death.

9-year-old Nixie Swisher sneaks down into the kitchen to grab a forbidden midnight snack, and in so doing, is the only survivor after two masked men slit the throats of everyone else in the house. The housekeeper, her parents, her brother and her friend who's visiting for a sleepover are all coldly and efficiently assassinated. Lt. Eve Dallas and her partner Delia Peabody take charge of the case, and to make sure the girl is safe, Eve goes over the heads of child protective services and brings the child home with her.

There is no apparent motive for the killings. The security in the house was expertly disabled, and the murderers were in and out of the house in less than ten minutes, suggesting military training of some sort. Once the killers discover that they left someone alive, they're determined to finish the job. Eve's decision to house the child witness in Roarke's impregnable mansion keeps her safe, but spending time with the traumatised child brings to the surface painful memories from her own past and her own early experiences with death.

This month (February) is In Death month on Vaginal Fantasy Hangout. Having read the first books more than once, I decided to just read new ones in the series, and when looking through the list, realised that I'd skipped this one entirely. Not that it matters that much once you get this far into the series, as all the major supporting characters are pretty much established, and you can jump in at any point without being too confused.

It's always fun seeing Eve out of her comfort zone, and having a young girl around is certainly one of those occasions. Luckily, trusted manservant Summerset (and the thorn in Eve's side) and a host of police officers are around to entertain the girl while Roarke tries to to find out who can take care of her once the case is solved, and Eve and Peabody work diligently to crack the case and find out who's behind the vicious murders.

While all the books are formulaic to a certain extent, and if you've read a few of these, you're pretty sure what you're going to get in each book, some of them are more entertaining than others. Letting the reader see what Nixie sees at the beginning of the book, and making us sympathetic with the child is a nice touch, and the grief that Nixie has to face, and the growth it brings on in Eve made this book one of the more enjoyable in the series for me so far.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, and for more of Malin's reviews, check out her blog, Malin's Blog of Bookst.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I never could get into the In Death books even though I read almost everything else Nora Roberts puts out. You're exactly right though, her books are light reading well done.

  • Maguita NYC

    Great review for a light read, for those J.D Robb books are exactly this, a light read not to be taken too seriously.

    Haven't followed up on the series in a while, but your review reminded me that I should, for Detective Eve is a compelling uncomplicated-complicated woman cop, and her husband, as per the discription, is really too hot and amazing to disregard as simple eye-candy (read-candy?). Yet both of them together make sense, and become a bit of an addiction where you feel the need to keep-up with their evolving love-life.

    Although in a way we do know where this will end up, a somewhat version of the white-picket fence with the 2.5 children, it is noneltheless interesting to see how Nora Roberts will get us there.

    @mswas, I am fully back after a hectic schedule, and will be able to start posting my reviews shortly... Might ask a bit for your help though, if you don't mind...

  • Malin

    Thank you for your kind words, Maguita. I read somewhere that Nora Roberts has said that she'll end the series either just before or when Eve gets pregnant (it's not like she NEEDS to keep publishing them to make money - she writes and publishes 3-6 books as it is). But even if she decides to keep going, I don't see her going the 2.5 kids and the picket fence with Eve and Roarke. With Peabody and McNab, perhaps, but I actually see Roarke and his darling Eve doing something different if they ever start a family.

    I read this one out of order, having somehow skipped it by accident. The most recent before this was Born in Death when Mavis and Leonardo finally have their baby, and both Eve and Roarke being quite so freaked out by childbirth and parenthood was super entertaining.

  • mswas

    Welcome back @google-b6231c91d1abf027604ef363d00f8c08:disqus ! Any time you need help, just drop me a line.

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