Desert Isle Keeper
Rapture in Death
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m in a romance slump right now, but I will admit that many of the current offerings are not exactly exciting for me. I hate vampires, and I’ve read one (or more) too many paint-by-numbers Regency Historicals. Perhaps that explains my In Death re-reading marathon. After reading the most recent (Innocent in Death), I was suddenly seized with a wild desire to re-read the lot. Considering the sheer number of them, this is no mean feat, but I’m having a good time.
Rapture in Death is the first really good book in the series. I had read the three books that preceded it, but Rapture is the one that hooked me – and through the series ups and downs, I’ve stayed hooked. The book starts with Eve and Roarke just wrapping up their fabulous honeymoon (to Mexico, Europe, and Roarke’s new off-planet resort, Olympus). There is an apparent suicide at the resort: a young computer technician hangs himself in his room. No one can figure out what would drive him to it, as he seemed happy enough. The only real clue is that prior to his death he was relaxing with a pair of virtual reality goggles.
Shortly after Eve returns to New York, she is called to investigate another suspicious death. This time, it’s a defense attorney she has faced in court. Though she didn’t like him much personally, she knows he wasn’t the type to slit his wrists in the bathtub – but apparently that is just what he did. Before his body is even cold, a talk show host jumps to her death from a skyscraper window. Eve was on hand, trying to talk her out of it, and nearly died herself. As in the first two instances, the victim was relaxing with virtual reality goggles shortly before her death.
Meanwhile, Eve and Roarke’s personal life continues and they adjust to their new status as a married couple. Eve’s best friend Mavis is poised to take off as a singing sensation – with Roarke’s help. But some of her new associates are a little suspect, particularly the man who digitally manipulates music beyond anything seen before. He is actually able to manipulate people’s dreams and actions, and on two occasions manipulates Eve and Roarke’s sexual impulses. And though the first scene is so hot you’ll probably need to fan yourself afterwards, they are understandably pissed off by their guinea pig status.
As Eve investigates more deeply, it becomes apparent that someone in Roarke’s organization is likely responsible for all the violence. She’ll have to figure out the villain’s identity before it’s too late.
As I read through this book a second time, I thought about what made it such a show-stopper. Certainly part of the attraction is the sex. Anyone who’s read the entire series has seen Eve and Roarke have sex about fifty billion times. I’ll argue, though, that it never seems to be just sex for sex’s sake. There’s usually a point, even if it’s just that Eve needs to know how loved she is. And it works well here, even though some of it is initiated by an outside force.
But really, it isn’t just the sex. This is a tender book as well. Who can’t help but sigh a little when Roarke reflects with pride on his new wife? The series is about murder, and some of the mysteries are better than others, but first and foremost it’s about a marriage. It’s about Eve and Roarke trying to figure out how to be a couple, how to negotiate, and how to fit into each other’s lives. They grow and change over the course of the series, and there are new challenges around every corner. As someone who’s been married for more than 17 years, this is an aspect of the series that I continue to appreciate. The longer I’m married, the more I’m convinced that marriage is a living, constantly evolving entity.
Though Eve and Roarke definitely stand out here, the mystery is nothing to sneeze at. It’s one of the first In Death books to explore the interaction between humans and technology, which becomes a recurring theme in the series (which only makes sense, considering the futuristic setting).
Most readers already know where they stand on Eve, Roarke, and friends. Either you’re a rabid reader, a one time fan who’s lost interest, or one of the holdouts convinced that the series is not for you (we’ll win you over yet, Sandy, just like we got Laurie <g> ). If you’re part of the first category, consider a re-read. Though it’s a major undertaking, it’s a lot of fun. The series has great and not-quite-as-great books, but for my money, Rapture in Death is one of the standouts.