Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Review: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

***Warning: This review contains spoilers***

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in September 2011
The number-one New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name-and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.

When a monster named Isaac McQueen-taken down by Eve back in her uniform days-escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, mystery, futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #33

The Story: In New York to Dallas, Eve faces an old foe, Isaac McQueen. McQueen is a pedophile who kidnapped young girls, marked them with a number within a heart on their torso and kept them in a proof-sounded room for his sick pleasure. He was also Eve's first collar when she was still in uniform.

Now that McQueen has escaped from Rikers, he intends to pick up where he left off and seek revenge on the cop that arrested him. Meanwhile, Eve is determined to put him back in a cage where he belongs. When McQueen moves his hunting ground to Dallas, Eve and Roarke are hot in pursuit - even though Dallas is the last place Eve wants to be...

My Opinion: I kind of had high hopes for New York to Dallas, partly because of the blurb, but also because of the title change. In a series like the In Death series, after 30-something books with the same pattern in titles, when there's a change, there must be a reason and it must have a big impact, hit hard. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case and instead of being a wowzer, New York to Dallas fell flat for me :(

I think the biggest problem about New York to Dallas was the lack of excitement. There wasn't anything in the book that made me sit at the edge of my seat or make me turn the pages faster to know what would happen next. There was also a lack of intensity in my opinion. New York to Dallas was just another book in the series instead of being one with a lot of impact. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to read an In Death book, because I know it's going to be a solid read... but the couple last installments have been solid, but not great and I think it's time to have a great In Death book just to shake things up. I thought New York to Dallas was a great opportunity for Ms Robb to deliver something different, considering that Eve and Roarke were alone in Dallas, away from the gang - no Peabody, McNab, Feeney, Summerset and the tons of supporting characters. It would have been a great opportunity to explore Eve and Roarke's relationship for example, have something happens... but instead, it was just the usual, i.e. Eve trying to stop the bad guy. Even worse, I missed the gang because Ms Robb didn't really have anything in the storyline to fill the void ^_^;

All right, so instead of thinking what was missing, let's focus on what was actually in the book. The writing as usual was solid, fluid. Ms Robb definitively has a distinct style of writing when it comes to the In Death books and I like it :) The actual case wasn't bad... but it didn't really stand out for me. One of the reasons is if I remember correctly, there was a similar case in a previous book, i.e. the villain fixating on Eve for revenge. Another reason is Eve's ability to "read" the villain - know his thinking process, what he's going to do, etc. It bothered me in New York to Dallas because it seems that Eve was very familiar with McQueen, the kind of familiarity that comes from a cop chasing after a killer for a long period of time, through many cases. However, it is not the case between Eve and McQueen. McQueen's arrest by Eve was "coincidental." She basically stumbled over him while going door to door for another investigation. I can understand Eve familiarizing with his M.O. afterwards, because that's just who she is, especially given this was her first arrest. But even then, what they would have discovered from McQueen would be hear-say as opposed to living it and therefore, I can't really believe that the bond between Eve and McQueen would be so strong... and the fact that Eve was so effectively in McQueen's head, knowing him, predicting his next move - it just took away from the suspense for me.

Another issue I had with New York to Dallas was Eve's mother's appearance. Obviously, going back to Dallas, there would be a part of the book dedicated to Eve's past. I knew that, even expected it. However, I thought it was a huge coincidence that McQueen's accomplice would be Eve's mother. If at least, it had been intentional, as in McQueen actually chose her because she was Eve's mother... but no. Also, the one time that Eve goes to Dallas, she runs into her mother? I think it'd have been more powerful if it's been somewhere else, like in New York or another city. The only good news is that we're finally done with Eve and Roarke's parents and can move on ^_^;

All in all, New York to Dallas wasn't that bad. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations either. I just feel that Ms Robb had an opportunity to deliver something really different and she missed it. Instead, New York to Dallas felt redundant, nothing original or new :( Still, I'm not giving up on the series yet and I'll be picking up Celebrity in Death in February :)

My Grade: C.