Friday, March 02, 2012

Review: Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb

It's Friday! Yay! I ended up being a lot more busy than I thought I'd be this week ^_^; First, there was the grant application deadline yesterday. I ended up proof-reading for my boss - I don't know how the people in the publishing industry does! The most difficult was the lay abstract! Thanks for everyone who helped me, it was really appreciated! Then, my reading has finally picked up!! Doubly yay!! So instead of blogging, I've been reading. Now, I need to find the right balance :) Still, I managed to write this review which I'm really happy about because I really wanted it to go up this week. Earlier in the week, but I'll take it LOL. So enjoy!! And oh, Ames, Monroe and I have our New Releases post for March up at Breezing Through :) Go take a look and let me know if I forgot something!

Celibrity in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in February 2012
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she’s managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It’s a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody—drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director’s luxury building.

Talented but rude, and widely disliked, K. T. Harris had made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she’s at the center of a crime scene—and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster, to step into the role she was born to play: cop.
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Futuristic, Mystery
Series: In Death series, Book #34

The Story: One of Lieutenant Eve Dallas' biggest cases in career was the Icove case (Origin in Death). It had garnered a lot of attention, especially after Nadine Furst has written a book about it. And now, it's being adapted in a movie and Eve really wants no part in it. However, there's no where else to run and Eve has no choice then to go on set and meet the cast. Nothing weirder than seeing someone looking like you, saying what you said and doing what you did. Factor in the set that looks like her offices at home and at work... Weird! Then later that evening, Eve and Roarke attend the production party as guests of honor along with some of their friends. Surprisingly, Eve is enjoying herself... until they find K.T. Harris, the actress who portrays Peabody, dead in the pool. From then on, it's business as usual for Eve, Peabody and the gang. From her brief encounter with the victim earlier, Eve knew the actress was a bitch... but as she digs deeper, it's clear it was a lot more than just rude attitude... and it's a wonder it didn't happen earlier.

My Opinion: In the previous book, New York to Dallas, I was excited because the story took place outside of New York and therefore, Eve and Roarke were away from the gang. I thought these changes would shake things up... but, I was wrong ^_^; Turns out I ended up missing the merry gang LOL. So I was pretty happy things were back to normal in Celebrity in Death :) While this was not one of the best installments, it was still a nice read.

What I enjoyed the most in Celebrity in Death was the pacing of the story; it was actually slower than usually. This one didn't feel like Eve and Peabody were racing against the clock and so, it wasn't as suspenseful. Usually, this wouldn't be a good thing in romantic suspense... but in the case of Celebrity in Death, it allowed us to see a slice in their everyday life that we don't usually get to witness. In the previous books, Eve and the team have always been so focused on the case or there have been very specific events that influenced the storylines... Here, the atmosphere was actually pretty relaxed for once and I really liked it. Plus, I felt Ms Robb did a great job at adding some details to make it feel like "everyday." For exam Eve asking her people how their case was going, her spending time with Roarke because that's what husband and wife do, etc. :)

Something else I enjoyed was the story in general and the situation Eve and the rest found themselves in :) It's not every day you see someone portraying yourself and you all know how easily Eve can be weirded out LOL. Actually, almost everyone was having an actor/actress portraying themselves and at time, it gave rise to some funny dialogues :) Here's a snippet between Eve and Peabody, with Eve speaking first.
"I was having the surreal experience of having myself show myself around my office and bullpen."
"Oh! My desk. I could've sat at my desk. I could've sat at your desk."
"It's a vid set."
"Even then, no."
"Mean. The other you is nice. I can call her Marlo. The other me is kind of a bitch."
"There you go. Typecasting."
LOL. Another thing I found interesting is the fact that the victim wasn't a very nice person - I'm not saying 'evil' like murderer, but definitively not likable and who really pushed the boundaries. Obviously, for Eve, it doesn't matter because she still does the job, but it makes the case more complex and Eve has to be a bit more careful. When you're seeking justice for someone who was innocent, it's easier to barge in and make compliant to the investigation... When the victim has hurt a lot of people by her behavior and action, it's not as easy to force your way in and make everyone participate to the investigation... I think this is exactly the kind of case Celebrity in Death needed to make it work with the premises :)

Oh and if you wondered, yes, Roarke is still as yummy as ever :) I like that Ms Robb isn't shaking the boat too much. A lot of people like it when there's conflict between Eve and Roarke and it's understandable. At the same time, it wouldn't be realistic to me. Roarke and Eve have a solid relationship. They love each other, work at their marriage, compromise and communicate well. I wouldn't like for them to always be at odds or bicker ^_^; In that case, you'd wonder why they got married! Plus, given both of their pasts, it feels like Eve and Roarke have already gone through so much... How much more can you add in their paths. And if it's just to make their relationship more rocky, well no thank you for me. All in all, I just enjoy seeing them together :) In Celebrity in Death, Roarke is a bit worried about Eve because of the events in New York to Dallas. How she's dealing with it and the fact that she's having dreams... But nothing too big to take away the spotlight from the case. And that was fine with me :)

Of course, the book had a few flaws. I thought it was pretty obvious who the culprit was ^_^; I mean, by process of elimination, there weren't many suspects... and then, I'm not sure I liked how the whole thing turned out about the murderer's past. It seemed too convenient for me. Also, I would really had like to know what information K.T. held that warranted death. I don't think it was ever mentioned. I also thought the ending was quite abrupt. This is something I've noticed in Ms Robb/Ms Roberts is doing more and more. She doesn't add any epilogue or scene to wrap things up. Most In Death books end right after Eve has gotten a confession and then, Roarke is waiting for me. I felt in Celebrity in Death, it didn't work simply because there was so much questions about the movie and the people in it. I'd really have liked a few paragraphs or even pages to wrap things up a bit. For example, a red carpet scene wouldn't have been bad. Finally, the writing. Ms Robb has a style that I adore and I always find her writing to be very consistent and solid, no matter the storyline. However, this time around, I thought a few sentences were weird. I had to re-read them a couple of time to figure out what it meant, what it was referring to. Of course, it could be just me. Maybe I was tired on the day I read the book and it made me slow LOL. Another thing that really annoyed me in Celebrity in Death was the use of acronyms and abbreviations. Again, this is something Ms Robb/Ms Roberts does often. Most of the time, I don't mind much if it's something obvious such as TMI (too much information) or related to the investigation like DB (dead body) or MO. However, to use "re" in a sentence instead of fully writing out "regarding"?!? Do people say that? I mean, this is a book after all, so I expect it to be more formal. Perhaps I'm nitpicking, but it really rubbed me the wrong way this time around.

My Grade: B-. Celebrity in Death was not the best installment and had flaws, but most of them were minor and could be overlooked. It ended up being a nice read and one that I enjoyed most in the last few installments.


  1. Mmm. it sounds like a comforting read. like maybe it wasn't the best but it still kept the spirit of the books and it was fun to read :D
    I like books like that

  2. Alex - I think you nailed it, Alex :) That's exactly the kind of book Celebrity in Death was :)

  3. Obviously I only skimmed your review since I'm about a dozen books away from this one. LOL. B- is decent. I'll take it. As if I had a choice... ;)

  4. Christine - LOL. Well you have a lot of books ahead of you :) But I'm pretty you'll like this one.