Payback in Death by J.D. Robb

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke

Nora Robert’s fans, especially those who follow her In Death series under the name of J. D. Robb will enjoy her latest story, Payback in Death.

In this story, the well-known characters play their usual role in bringing the perpetrator to account. However, the characters who maintain the focus in this narrative are Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her side kick the flamboyant Detective Peabody. They do not work in a vacuum and others from the NYPSD, with their individual personalities all play an important part. Eve could not survive the stress and pressure of her job without the undying support of her husband Roarke, past child criminal and now man of considerable wealth.

This latest story shows a softer side of Eve as it starts with her and Roarke on holidays which included a visit to his family in Ireland. On their return-to-work Eve lands with her feet running as she is called in to a death of a past police officer. At first it looks like suicide, as it is meant to, but it soon becomes obvious that this does not fit with the evidence.

The story, for a long time seems to be getting nowhere. What it does is highlight the monotonous leg work, interviews, looking for connections that is so much of policework, especially when there is no obvious perpetrator. It shows how a lot of policework depends on gut feelings or noticing slight behaviours that seem out of place.

The victim in this story is retired captain Martin Greenleaf. In his role he would have been responsible for putting away lots of rogue cops during his forty-seven years in Internal Affairs, so all the investigating officers can do is start investigating those close to the victim and if that doesn’t generate a hit then widening the parameters. Sometimes, the investigation seems to stall, but eliminating also narrows the field. If that direction bottoms out, then the investigating officers need to change direction.

Because this story is set into the future Roberts has included a couple of innovations that add extra interest for the reader such as droid officers, and the use of healing wands to reduce pain and speed up healing, vertical driving to avoid traffic jams and criminals in lockups off planet. For the author’s regulars, snippets into the personal lives of the characters helps advance the individual storylines of members they have come to know over the years.

It is a story of mateship within a tense environment. Yet there are still those who remain individuals, like officer Lansing, and do not work as a team member. They find it hard to obey orders from others. Some have trouble curbing their emotions. Lansing seems to have a vendetta against Eve which results in an ambush on her as she enters her work space.

Eventually the team led by Eve, see how this particular crime is mirroring another situation from the past and soon the perpetrators are bought to justice.

Like all of the books in this series, Nora Roberts has used her skill and knowledge to provide an interesting tale of justice, highlighting particular aspects within society which need airing.

Payback in Death – An Eve Dallas thriller


by J.D. Robb



$34.99; 368pp

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