BFTA Review: JR Robb – Creation In Death


Title: Creation In Death
Series: In Death #25
Author: JR Robb
Berkeley Mass Market Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Eve has seen this crime scene before: the artfully arranged body of a young brunette, arms spread, palms up, body marked by the signs of prolonged and painful torture. Carved into her torso is the time it took her to die – in hours, minutes, and seconds. And on the third finger of her left hand has been placed a silver ring. Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier, when a man whom the media tagged “The Groom” put the city on edge with a killing spree that took the lives of four women in fifteen days. Eve and her partner Feeney, her friend and mentor, couldn’t stop him before he disappeared, only to resurface in other parts of the world to kill and kill again. But now The Groom seems to have come back to where he started. When it turns out that The Groom’s most recent victim was employed by Eve’s billionaire husband, Roarke, she brings him onto the case. A move that proves fitting when it becomes chillingly clear that the killer has made it personal. The corpse was washed in products from a store Roarke owns and laid out on a sheet his company manufactures. With the Groom’s monstrous return, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all. Familiar with his methods, she knows that he has already grabbed his next victim. But his sights are set on the biggest challenge of his illustrious career – an abduction that will test his skills and that promises to give him satisfaction as he’s never known. Time is running out on another woman’s life?and for Eve. (

Believe it or not, this is the first mystery book I’ve ever picked up. I think, if I remember correctly, I picked it up because of the Stephen King quote on the cover. I’ve never even read a Nora Roberts book. Considering this is the 25th book in the series, I felt a little lost with some of the acronyms and terminology, but I got used to it quickly. After all, the book is set in the year 2060, so I expected a little bit of term usage that I wouldn’t be able to identify with. The J.D. Robb website offers a handy glossary of lingo from the book.

Despite never having opened any previous book in the In Death series, I was able to keep up with characters. Robb gently reminds readers who each character is in relation to Dallas — Rourke, her mysterious husband; Peabody, her partner, and so on. I didn’t, at any time, feel like I was completely lost. The book kept returning to the idea of the Urban Wars. Other than the idea that the War was extremely violent and lead to a significant loss of life, the Urban Wars go mostly unexplained, with the exception of a few short paragraphs here and there detailing whatever the reader might need to know.

The plot kept me on my toes. I suspect, however, that if mystery were your favorite type of book, you might be able to figure out the who-dun-it before Lt. Dallas and her crew. Robb takes us through, step by step, how the PD (or, in the case of the book, the NYPSD) goes about solving homicides: how they think and react to the victims and how the anticipate the suspect’s next moves.

The only real issue that I had was the writing itself. It’s short and choppy, but I found that Dallas spoke exactly like the unnamed narrator: short, choppy sentences that didn’t really flow for me. I couldn’t really get a feel for Dallas through her dialogue. I got to know her more through her actions–her willingness to overlook necessities such as eating and sleeping to get the job done, the fact that she takes her work home with her and refuses to let it go, and even going so far as to putting herself in harm’s way, all paint a picture of a determined, head-strong woman.

If I get the chance, I’ll be picking up more of the In Death series.

Originally posted August 23, 2010.

(Update, February 2013 – I have most of the In Death series now, so I’ll be reviewing those probably shortly, including an updated review of this book since I’m sure the events in books 1-24 will color my opinion of this one. Good thing it’s been so long since I’ve read this one! – J)


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