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

Trigger Warning: BID had graphic depictions of rape/gang rape and this review will include an analysis of Rape Culture.  If this is one of your triggers, please click away now.

BIDI actually forgot this book was coming out this month, probably because I absolutely hated the last book and felt the need to completely erase anything that had to do with it.  Anyway, once I remembered it was out, I was excited because Dennis Mira was going to play a bigger part in it than he usually plays as he is not directly related to the investigations.  I love Dennis Mira and the one thing I took away from this book was that he is even sweeter than I thought he was.  Oh my God.  He's awesome.  He's totally the absent minded professor minus the whole Buddy Love thing because, well, that would be weird.

Dennis Mira, husband of police psychiatrist, Dr. Charlotte Mira, was planning on meeting his cousin, Senator Edward Mira, to discuss the possibility of selling their grandfather's house.  In Dennis's mind, there was absolutely no possibility of that and he knew he was going to argue with the man who used to be as close as a brother to him.  He was not looking forward to that.  Before even getting a chance to speak with Edward, Dennis is knocked unconscious.  When he wakes up, Edward is gone and Dennis knows that's not a good sign.  Contacting his wife, he asks her to bring Lt. Eve Dallas with her since she is the best cop he knows.

Lt. Dallas was about to leave--on time for once--when she was flagged down by Dr. Mira, who asks her to accompany her to a house in SoHo, where her husband was attacked.  Eve immediately knows something bad has gone down and her instincts told her that the Senator would be dead within 24 hours.  Unfortunately for the senator, she's right and her investigation plunges her right back to the childhood she desperately wants to escape.

If you've read the In Death books in the past, you know that rape is always present because of what happened to Eve when she was a child.  I'm sorry if that's a spoiler, but when a series is over 40 books long, it is a little hard to talk around things.  Plus, it was discussed within BID, so if you read even this book you already know about it.  This book in particular was very hard to read because of how the rapes were depicted.  For me, what made it even harder was that I didn't see it coming.  I don't know if I wasn't paying attention to Eve and Roarke's conversation or if the clues just weren't there, but I wasn't seeing the logic behind Eve's assumption that their perpetrators had been raped.  That bugged me.  It seemed like one minute we're talking about missing elderly men and the next we're discussing the possibility that the victims were all raped by said elderly men.

Once we got into how these men started raping women and how they rationalized it, I was seeing red for the rest of the night.  First off, the rapes started 49 years before the actions in the book, which we find out was April 12, 2011.  2011.  These men were in college within the last five years.  As most people know, there have been a lot of issues involving sexual assault on college campuses.  According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC, 2015), one in five women as well as one in 16 men are sexually assaulted during their college years.  That's astounding, especially when you consider Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAIIN) statistics on rape/rapists.  Of the estimated 293,000 rapes in the United States each year, 80% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30.  Then, there's the sad statistic that only 2% of rapists ever see a day in prison.  That means a whopping 98% of rapists are never punished for their crimes.  Just thinking about that makes me angry.  The reason for this is that roughly 68% of rape survivors never report being raped.  It is a sad state when crime victims feel too ashamed to admit to being victimized.  The fact that the women accusing Bill Cosby of assaulting them are under more scrutiny than he is at times is the perfect example of this.  I've had friends, who are no longer friends, say things like, "Well, they shouldn't have been alone with him" or "They had to know that he wasn't helping them out of the goodness of his heart."  Believe me, I wanted to Hulk Smash something when they said these things.  No one ever has the right to expect sex in any situation.  Just because a guy pays for dinner doesn't give him the right to think that she has to put out for him.

Something has gone wrong with how we talk to boys about sex.  Somehow, we've given these young men the idea that women and girls are only there for their sexual gratification.  We don't have our own thoughts and feelings.  Our bodies are not our own and are under their control.  That's bullshit, but it seems to be how these young men think.  That's certainly how the characters in BID justified their actions.  They were young, rich, and white.  One of the women had already slept with one of their "brothers," so that meant she wanted them all.  It didn't matter that they had to slip her some heavy duty drugs to get her "in the mood."  There is no doubt in my mind that if anything like the fictional Whore existed that these college-aged boys who go around strutting their stuff would use it on their conquests too.

I know I am going to get flak for this, but I don't particularly care.  My blog.  My prerogative.  I believe that part of the reasoning behind the way these kids think is all those Biblical stories about women needing to be submissive to men.  I still remember the day Miss Daly came into my 8th grade class concerned over the fact that her 7th graders were going to read Colossians 3:18 for their class mass.  She didn't know how she was going to be able to look the girls in the eye after forcing them to say something so ridiculous.  (When googling that, I found that within the same reading, slaves, apparently, should serve their owners not to pleasure their masters, but with sincerity of heart.  Ick.)  How are boys supposed to know not to treat women like property when the Bible, which they're force fed from the moment they're born, tells them this every Sunday morning?  For something that is supposed to teach morals, it really contains some disgusting advice.

As for the rape scene in the book, thankfully there is only one, I considered it to be a bit graphic.  There was no need for it.  We knew what was done.  There was a similar scene in Kindred in Death and I felt it too was more graphic than it needed to be.  This one, though, was worse.  I really wish there was a trigger warning on the book the way we have the ratings for television and movies.  Even though rape is ever present in this series, this one pissed me off more than anything else.  Part of it is because this crime goes back to the kind-of present and is something that can and does happen every day.  

This book isn't all about rape, despite it being the motive behind the murders and the fact that Eve spoke with multiple characters about her own experiences with rape.  What I liked most about it was that there is a lot of growth in the characters.  First, there's Trueheart's promotion to detective and we get to see him in this capacity.  My first thought when I read the promotion ceremony was that our baby was growing up.  I loved that he looked at Baxter as he was presented with his detective's shield.  The biggest thing for me was that Eve was able to open up about her past not just to Peabody, but also to Mr. Mira.  (Can I say that I want one of him for myself?  The way he reacted to what Eve told him and how he comforted her even though he was hurting himself just made me fall a little bit more in love with him.  That does seem to be a growing consensus.  Twitter absolutely loves him, if the hashtag is to be believed.)  This is such a big step for her.  I kept thinking about the scene in Witness in Death when she had to stick her head out of a window, so that nobody would see how pale she was because she didn't want to talk about why she'd gone pale.  It also made me think of all the back and forth she went through in Visions in Death before she was able to tell Peabody.  It is probably crazy to say this, but I was so proud of her.

There were some things, though, that I took issue with while reading.  For instance, when Eve first meets Mr. Mira at his grandfather's house, she tells him that he does not need to follow the NYPSD's procedures for crime scenes because he'd already been in the room and his finger prints would be present.  I don't care that there was no way in Hell that Mr. Mira was going to be the perpetrator, but procedure should have been followed.  Any defense attorney would be able to create reasonable doubt because it hadn't been duly followed.

The other issue I had was also procedural related.  At one point, Eve and Peabody questioned a social worker, who was not willing to verbally confirm knowing the suspects, although it is clear that she recognized their photos.  Eve took her body language as confirmation and used that to get a warrant.  I seriously doubt that this would pass muster in any court of law and was shocked when the APA was able to get her that warrant.

In the end, the good outweighed the bad and although I was so angry that I had to wait 18 hours to write this review, I did enjoy Brotherhood in Death.

4 Stars


  1. I love this series and I'm looking forward to reading this despite the difficult topic. This is an excellent review and I like how you brought in the whole "rape culture" aspect. It's funny because one of the reasons I consider myself a lapsed Catholic is because of the way the church depicts women and still treats them as second class even today.

  2. Thank you so much! This really was a good book and the series in general is awesome. The only book I didn't like at all was Devoted in Death, which is why it is the only book I actually returned after reading it. Just awful.

    Whenever people ask me why I'm an atheist, I tell them that it comes from spending so much of my life in Catholic school. I never told anyone at the time, but I started questioning a lot of things when I was in 7th grade (that was when so many things started changing in the world--or at least when I started to perceive them--and when we'd talk about it in school, the teachers were so judgmental about anything that didn't fit in that tiny Catholic paradigm) and thinking back I should never have received Confirmation. Really, 12 is too young to decide if you want to be a part of a religion. I felt so pressured to just go along with it and so I did. I wonder how many other people did the same thing because it is easier than saying something.

  3. While I'm not thrilled with organized religion in general, I do believe there's a higher power so I guess I'd call myself an agnostic.

  4. I know a lot of people who feel that way and I actually think that most people are more agnostic than they are Christian (I say Christian because I don't have much experience with those of non-Christian religions). So many people are born to a religion and may in the back of their mind believe in a deity, and they just go through the motions of that religion. My mom's family, for example, never go to Church, don't follow many of the rules, but still consider themselves Catholic. I think it is safer to say that they're agnostic because they believe in God and don't go in for the organized trappings if the Church.

  5. Yes, you do, but none of the others do. I said my mom's family--not my mom. smh.


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