Valyruh’s #CBR5 Review #91: Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb

I don’t usually waste my time reviewing pulp novels, but this one had a little more oomph to it and a little less fluff, and I so thought it worth a few stars and commentary. A movie is being made about the infamous Incove case covered in Robb’s Origin in Death novel, and top-flight Hollywood stars have been chosen to portray our heroines Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her partner Detective Delia Peabody, along with their respective spouses, co-workers, and inner circle. The real NYC cops Dallas and Peabody are obliged to consult periodically with their fictional counterparts, and a fabulous dinner for the real people and their celebrity dopplegangers at the home of the film’s producer turns into Eve’s next case when the star playing Peabody is discovered floating face down in the home’s rooftop pool. Accident or murder?

It turns out that everyone disliked K.T., a drug-abusing (if talented) bully with a penchant for blackmail, and while nearly everyone had a motive for murder, there isn’t enough evidence to pin it on anyone. But Eve, ever the bulldog and assisted by her gorgeous billionaire husband and his electronic wizardry, begins to chip away at the case until it starts to reveal itself. The plot is well-constructed, the characters are colorful, the sex scenes are—for once—kept to a minimum and more tastefully done than usual (although the book’s language is a little spicier), there’s a little more humor, and while Eve is portrayed as hard-ass as ever, she does begin to show a more vulnerable side as she digs into the backstories of some of the characters she is investigating. I would say that It is about time that the author allows Eve to grow a little, and not stay the same cardboard action figure she has been for so many of the “In Death” novels.

Equally interesting, I thought, was the picture the author portrays of Hollywood. While not unfamiliar to your average American audience, the fact that Hollywood is neither all black nor all white—neither corrupt and seedy, nor all glitter and glitz—gives this story a certain verisimilitude that resonates. Good for you, Nora.