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Random in Death

Review

Random in Death

Set in New York City in the 2060s, RANDOM IN DEATH is the latest entry in J. D. Robb’s police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Eve and her elite investigative team at the NYPSD combine their unique talents to chase down murderers in a complicated near-future society. This time, they are called to a live music venue where a 16-year-old has just been killed. They learn that Jenna told friends she felt a jab in her arm just before collapsing in the crowd. By the time help arrived, she was already dead.

"As always, Eve and her NYPSD team display amazing knowledge about how and why crimes are committed. Each member brings his or her own strengths and values to solving murders, and the connections and relationships between them add depth to the story."

Although there is almost no evidence left behind, forensics reveals that a substance administered through a hypodermic needle is the likely cause of death. Such a fast-acting toxin delivered in a precise attack in a crowded room is not an impulsive act. Eve deduces that the murder was well planned. While she waits for the toxicology report, she starts looking into Jenna's background. Why was she targeted?

The next evening, another seemingly random assault results in the death of a second young lady, who also was out with friends to see a band. However, this time there are more clues, and witnesses are able to describe the clothes the suspect was wearing. With the help of eyewitness accounts and the top NYPSD criminal profiler, the police determine that the culprit is likely an adolescent male who considers himself a social outcast. The profiler also theorizes that he could be acting on feelings of resentment and rejection and targeting random women out of anger. Eve begins by tracking down leads, starting with clothing and shoe stores.

From experience, Eve knows that in cases involving more than one random murder, a pattern eventually will emerge. She also is aware that the violence isn’t over, and soon there is a third attack. But this time, the intended target survives as the needle jab was not able to penetrate her clothing. Further information confirms that the killer is an intelligent teen with a privileged background. It isn’t long before the NYPSD has a suspect in custody and insight into his twisted mind.

Like most murderers, this one believes he is smarter than everyone else --- especially the police. Eve is such a skilled and experienced interrogator that one of the best scenes in an In Death book is the suspect interview. How she masterfully manipulates and coaxes the truth out of the perpetrator continues to be a highlight of this series.

As always, Eve and her NYPSD team display amazing knowledge about how and why crimes are committed. Each member brings his or her own strengths and values to solving murders, and the connections and relationships between them add depth to the story. Once again, with her deep commitment to law and justice, Eve becomes a passionate voice for homicide victims.

Reviewed by Jennifer McCord on January 26, 2024

Random in Death
by J. D. Robb

  • Publication Date: January 23, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250289548
  • ISBN-13: 9781250289544