Review

Salvation in Death

by J. D. Robb

SALVATION IN DEATH is the 27th installment in J. D. Robb’s
In Death series featuring Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas.
What sets these books apart from the standard mystery/thriller fare
is that they take place in the mid-21st century. Robb does not
fancy herself to be Victor Appleton, or even Larry Niven; her New
York of some four decades removed is comfortably familiar yet
teasingly exotic. Computers are more user-friendly, cell phones are
a bit more convenient, sodas come in tubes and emergency vehicles
can levitate for short distances to avoid traffic jams. And
dangerous criminals? Well, you’ll have to read this book to
find out.

While the series is aimed primarily at women (Dallas is married
to Roarke, an enigmatic, almost too perfect gentleman who is richer
than God and to whom no mere mortal man will ever measure up),
there is more than enough mystery, suspense and action to keep men
entertained as well. What ultimately makes the series a winner is
the manner in which Robb takes a number of disparate elements to
create a genre-bending work that intrigues, titillates and
stimulates.

At the start of SALVATION IN DEATH, Father Miguel Flores, a
popular assistant pastor at St. Cristobal’s Catholic Church
in Spanish Harlem, drops dead in the middle of a funeral mass, the
apparent victim of poisoning. Dallas slowly but surely uncovers
that he was not who he was supposed to be; he was, in fact, someone
else entirely with ties to the community from decades before. His
murder and Dallas’s subsequent investigation raise emotions
and memories that have lain dormant for years, even as the souls of
victims of two horrific crimes, long unsolved, cry out for
justice.

Following the sudden death by poisoning of a flamboyant
televangelist, the police department is thrown into a quandary: is
a serial killer at work, or is a copycat using the St. Cristobal
death to hide an entirely unrelated motive? Dallas has an unerring
instinct for sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and soon she
realizes that the solutions to both murders are intertwined in
complex webs of deceit and greed.

SALVATION IN DEATH is perhaps Robb’s most challenging work
to date as she continues to gently push cultural and technological
boundaries --- all without making the future a strange or
unnecessarily frightening place --- while demonstrating that
murderers and those who would bring them to justice will always be
among us. And while this installment is the latest in a long line
of In Death novels, one can pick up the series at any
point without fear of getting lost in the thicket of what has gone
before. In fact, one of the highlights of SALVATION IN DEATH is the
brief reappearance of a victim from a former case who bears an
appreciative gift that is not only worth the price of the book
alone but also assists Dallas in cracking one of her cases. It
doesn’t get any better than this.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Salvation in Death
by J. D. Robb

  • Publication Date: November 4, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 353 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0399155228
  • ISBN-13: 9780399155222