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Review of "Loyalty in Death" by J.D. Robb

As I stated last week, Loyalty in Death, is one of my favorite In Death novels, but I have never reviewed it before.  If you've never read one of the In Death novels, the series surrounds New York Cop Eve Dallas and her husband, billionaire Roarke.  The series takes place in the near future (Loyalty plays out in the winter/spring 2059), but the futuristic setting doesn't play a big role in the novels (although the books have been written over the span of close to 20 years and so some of the things mentioned in the books are no longer around in the real world--one such thing, which is mentioned in Loyalty (published in 1999), The Twin Towers).

This book starts out fairly normal--Eve and her aide (now her partner) Delia Peabody are called to the scene of the murder of business tycoon J.C. Branson--but quickly turns into something more.  Not a day after closing the Branson case, Eve receives a package from a group called Cassandra claiming that they have placed a bomb in a specific building and that it is going to explode if she doesn't stop it.  Of course, by the time the disc made its way to Eve's desk, the deadline was fast approaching.  It isn't long before more bombs are placed around the city and Eve as it her wits' end trying to figure out what is going on.

While all this is going on, there are a couple of subplots happening in the background.  The first involves Peabody's brother, Zeke, and Clarissa Branson--J.C.'s sister-in-law.  The second is the budding romance between Peabody and Detective Ian McNab, a slick EDD detective, who had until about halfway through this book annoyed the hell out of Peabody.  Neither of these subplots get in the way of the main plot line--in fact Zeke and Clarissa become very much a part of the Cassandra mess, and if it wasn't for things that happen between the two of them it would have been a lot harder for Eve to figure out what was really going on.

What I love the most about this series is the way the characters slowly develop.  Eve starts off being a bit of a recluse.  She doesn't trust many people and even those she does trust she isn't willing to share her biggest secrets with them.  Over the next 30 or so books she ends up with a family of sorts, which makes coming back to any of the books in the series feel like coming home.  Then, there's Roarke, who at the start of the book was a man straddling the lines between law abiding citizen and criminal, and while there are still times when he finds himself moving towards the criminal side of the line, his love for Eve and his respect for what she does always pulls him back before he does anything that could disappoint her or put her in trouble.  My favorite development, however, is the relationship between Peabody and McNab, which got its start in this book.  I love the way they went from snarking at each other to loving one another and I think that their relationship played out really well throughout the series.

Even though this book is no longer my only favorite In Death novel, that honor goes to Treachery in Death followed closely by New York to Dallas, it is still the one book I go back to the most.  In the future that may change, but for now... 4.5 Stars

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