Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Promises in Death by J.D. Robb

Review, review, review... as I said in my last post, my long week-end wasn't as relaxing or productive as I wished... don't you hate it when it happens?

Have to say, I'm not looking forward to going back to work :( Did an experiment last week and the results weren't the same as what we got previously... Not a good sign, which is why I kept checking my emails this week-end. My horoscope says that I'm going to have tough week at work - why am I not surprised?

I got lucky and caught curling this week-end. Turns out it's the Women Canada Championship :) Yay! I know many don't get, but I just love that sport - even if I've never tried. It's much harder than it looks like and it involves a lot of strategy. So at least, I'll have this to cheer me up this week :D

Onto the review now :) One of the longest series I've ever read and quite frankly, one of the best is the In Death series by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts. I really enjoy it and I have to say, I like the schedule for it. Last book, Salvation in Death, was okay. Curious to see if she would pick it up again with Promises in Death and how she would do it.

Promises in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in February 2009

Amaryllis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she's been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assaillant. When she's taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn't just "one of us."

Dallas's friend Chief Medical Examiner Morris had started a serious relationship with Coltraine, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. After breaking the news to Morris, Eve starts questioning everyone, including Coltrain's squad, informants, and neighbors, while Eve's husband, Roarke, digs into computer data on the dead woman's life back in Atlanta. To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts.

The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve, containing Coltraine's guns, badge, and a note from her killer: " You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I'll be sending yours to somebody else." But Eve Dallas doesn't take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that's a promise.

Genre: Romantic Suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #29

The Story: Back blurb does a great job summarizing the story. Amaryllis Coltraine is murdered with her own weapon right in her building and Eve catches the case. Coltraine isn't just a cop, she's also Morris's lady friend and that makes the case even more personal... especially since Eve never took the opportunity to get to know Coltraine because she resented her a bit for her involvement with Morris. The case turns even more difficult when Eve and Roarke discover who Coltraine was involved with in Atlanta and when Eve has to call in Webster from IAB.

Of course, Eve prefers to work on the case and catch Coltraine's murderer... then to play hostess to Louise's bachelorette party :D

My Opinion: Great addition to the series, Ms Roberts was able to step up from Salvation in Death, no question. One of the reasons why Promises in Death was so great was its focus on relationships among Eve and her entourage... What Salvation in Death lacked, Promises in Death had it in spare. Amaryllis Coltraine's murder was a very personal case and as I mentioned, not only because Coltraine was a cop, but also Morris's girlfriend... that combined with Louise's bachelorette party, there was a lot of interactions between characters and we got to know Morris better - which was great :) No issue between Eve and Roarke, which I'm happy... I think they had had enough in the beginning of their relationship, now they should just enjoy. I wouldn't mind reading about one in the future, but not in this book which is already so emotionally packed. By the way, hard to believe that Eve and Roarke have been married for just almost two years!

Again, this was a very interesting case. Not as intricated as it could be, I think Ms Roberts did sacrifice a bit to focus on all the emotional stuff. Still, it was a good one. Also, I always enjoy cases that involved cops - as victims or culprits - because there are always emotionally charged and because Eve has to thread carefully. I have to admit that after I read the back blurb and the
excerpt , I immediately thought that Coltraine was a dirty cop - I don't know, something to do with "To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts." I mean, not many option right? For those who are curious, I'll say that this book is closely connected to Judgement in Death (which turns out to be the only book I haven't read - couldn't handle it ^_^;) Have to say, it's nice from Ms Roberts to link stuff up together.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of LOL moments as well, which lighten up the mood :) LOL, Eve definitively cracks me up. However, she's starting to show more sensibility and know to deal better with her friends. I guess she's evoluing :) Although the case was good, I think that it's all those LOL moments and interactions between the characters that made the book. I mean, can you imagine Eve shopping for Louise's gift? Also imagine all the guys packing up and going to Las Vegas for Charles's bachelor party :)

If there was anything that was unfortunate, that would be Coltraine's death. Have to say, I never saw it coming. Eve had a few interactions with her in the past books, but nothing that gave this away. Eve and Peabody's guilty feelings towards Coltraine were also very interesting and realistic.

Overall, once again, a great installment to the series. Very well balanced with lots of emotions and interactions between the characters.

My Grade: A-. I'm stinky with As and usually give it to very memorable books. I don't think that Promises in Death is going to be as memorable as those books; however, I think that is because it's part of such a long series. Like I said, very solid book with interesting case and good balance with the characters interactions. Totally deserving of the grade and I think that when compared with the previous installments, it's the right call.


  1. I am 3 In Death books behind :(
    Of course I will be getting this one today. Ah my lovely Roarke!

  2. Katiebabs - Lovely Roarke indeed!! I hope you enjoy them :)

  3. Have a question for you Nath. See, I quit reading this series around WITNESS IN DEATH and consider NAKED, GLORY AND RAPTURE the best of the titles I had read thus far. Would I enjoy this book? Could I just pick it up and start this book without being lost? Thanks.

  4. I've only read 7 or 8 of the books.
    Must. Read. Faster.

  5. The library just checked this one out to me today can;t wait to get it!!!! glad you liked it so much, makes me more impatient.

  6. Keishon - LOL, you quite reading a bit early, Keishon :) Really, you think that Naked, Glory and Rapture were the best? Among those you read, I have to say I liked Conspiracy and Loyalty a lot more.

    Quite frankly, I don't think you'll enjoy the book as much not having read some of the books.

    I don't think you'd be lost per se, but you've been missing a lot on relationships between people in Eve's entourage.

    Seneca - LOL, are you going to review them? :)

    Kris - Yay, that was fast!! Hope you enjoy as much as I did :D

  7. I put my order in for this one yesterday at Chapters. I would have before then but I wouldn't have got the free shipping. There are lots of copies in the stores, but it's something like 39% off ordering online. Since I know your a tough critic, your grade on this one is very encouraging *g*

  8. Kristie - I pre-ordered it ^_^; I figured I was still saving money and for some books, I could afford the shipping. I'm not going to make an habit out of it, but once in a while, for certain books :P

    Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Sorry, forgot to come back and comment after I finished it.

    I agree that this is better than Salvation, but I think it lacked a lot of the intensity of the earlier books in the series (up until Survivor, I think). Especially considering Morris was directly involved and Eve's past was brought up again.

    I also think the way Eve acted was out of character for her in a lot of things. As you say, she's evolving, but I think at perhaps too fast of a pace.

    Still, it was a good entry to the series and I really did enjoy it. I think I just wasn't as emotionally involved as I should have been.

  10. Holly - Hi there :D It's fine, no worries.

    I get what you're saying about the lack of intensity and after discussing with you, I kind of agree. However, I think that Eve's grief for Morris made up for it for me.

    As for Eve, I agree with you. She seems to be evolving a bit too fast... the thing is, it's hard to keep the book timeline and real timeline apart. For the book timeline, sure she's evolving too fast, it's been only what, 3 years? But real life for us, finally! I don't think I'd like to read about an Eve that is still surly and awkward with her friends... especially with the entourage she's gathered.