Born In Death
Born in Death has a fantastic beginning, an even more fantastic ending and a middle that sags dreadfully. Eve is her usual kick ass self, but Roarke, Peabody, McNab, and the rest of the NYPSD all kind of stand around like extras. The plot involves murdered accountants, and while I know that number crunching plays a big part in solving real-life crimes, it doesn’t make for much excitement when it comes to solving crimes on the printed page.
Eve Dallas can stand in the midst of the most grotesque and bloody crime scenes in the city and calmly assess the situation while all around her the uniforms are puking in the bushes. Back in his younger days, Roarke used to torture people without breaking a sweat, but right now both of them are feeling sick to their stomachs. In a fit of temporary insanity, Eve and Roarke agreed to be coaches when Mavis Freestone has her baby – she is very close to giving birth. Eve and Roarke are at a class for pregnant women and their coaches and the vids on childbirth have the pair of them doubled up in pain and wondering why they ever agreed to be there with Mavis.
As soon as class lets out, Eve gets a double homicide case to take her mind off babies. Natalie Copperfield and her fiancé Bick Byson have been killed and Natalie was tortured before her death. Both were accountants at one of the city’s top firms. They were good people, well liked by their friends and family, and seemingly they had no enemies. The only motive for their murders has to be that in the course of their work, they stumbled onto something that involved financial chicanery. But what did they find, who killed them, and how are Eve and the rest of them going to put all the pieces together? This is a complex case, so Eve subpoenas all the firm’s financial records and gets to work on the case.
While all this is going on, Eve has to give a baby shower for Mavis and, grumbling all the way and with much help from Peabody, she manages the task. Roarke – the ingrate – takes off with Leonardo and McNab to do man stuff during the party, leaving Eve awash in estrogen.
The party is a smash hit, but one of the invited guests does not show up, causing Mavis to worry (actually – she freaks out). Tandy Willowby is a single pregnant woman who just moved to the city. Leonardo and Mavis befriended her, and when she doesn’t come to the shower, Mavis and Eve check out her apartment and find she has been missing for long enough to file a Missing Persons Report. Eve works homicide, not missing persons, but Mavis insists that Eve investigate. Could you turn down Mavis? Eve can’t and as she probes, she sees signs that Tandy’s disappearance may be tied to what Bick and Natalie discovered.
Born In Death has quite a few little scenes that are just delightful, but overall it dragged. I’ll admit to being one of those people who find numbers totally alien and uninteresting and so lots of the middle of the book when the team was number crunching was boring, boring, boring. Roarke really didn’t register much in this story – he sort of stood around offering suggestions, empathizing with Eve and being a handsome prop. The usual gang at the NYPSD lacked their usual spark, and I missed the sexy banter between Peabody and McNab. Even Dr. Mira just breezed through the story and then breezed right out again. The only one who really got to shine was Baxter, especially at the end when he and Eve questioned the suspects. Their bad cop/bitch cop routine made me wish I could see it on video.
Born In Death seems like it was just marking time. Yes, Mavis has her baby. No. I’m not going to tell you what sex the baby is. There are a lot of fun little things in this book, but on the whole it’s not one of the best in the series. However, the In Death series is still strong and still one of the best out there. I love the setting, the characters, and if the story in this one was not as strong as some of the past ones, I’ll just wait for the next book in the series.