PORTRAIT IN DEATH

J. D. Robb, Author, Nora Roberts, Author
J. D. Robb, Author, Nora Roberts, Author , writing as J.D. Robb. Berkley $7.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-18903-0
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Lieutenant Eve Dallas may live in 2059, but she's still a recognizable Manhattan police officer: mouthy, courageous, skeptical and impatient. In Roberts's latest In Death novel (after Purity in Death), she's charged with finding a killer who murders young people full of innocence and promise, photographs them after death, then taunts both a top reporter and Dallas herself with notes about his handiwork. Just as her investigation of Manhattan's clubs and colleges nears its peak, Eve's husband, the wealthy entrepreneur Roarke, discovers that his mother is not the cold abandoner he remembers, but a tender young Irishwoman whom his father brutally murdered. While he struggles to understand his heritage, the couple must navigate stormy marital waters. Though the mystery's denouement doesn't live up to its promise, the book ably delivers on other fronts. Intensely female yet unfeminine in any traditional sense, Dallas has a complex edge that transcends genre stereotypes and gives the book's romantic interludes a real charge. As always in Roberts's work, appealing secondary characters add genuine warmth and humor. And while this futuristic vision of New York may not be totally accurate (it's unlikely, for example, that Dallas's oft-used "bite me" will still be in vogue 50 years from now), it's perfectly calibrated to intrigue. (Mar. 4)

Forecast:There should be no surprises here. Like its predecessors, this Robb novel will head straight to the top of the bestseller charts.

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