New York to Dallas, by J.D. Robb

Article published on March 15, 2012.

Eve Dallas’s first ever arrest as a rookie cop in New York was an accident. During a house-to-house investigation she stumbled across a depraved paedophile who was collecting young girls in his apartment for his enjoyment. This arrest kick-started Eve’s career in homicide and brought back the first memories of her own, horrific, childhood. Now, twelve years later, Eve is a lieutenant in New York’s Homicide squad and that sick criminal, Isaac McQueen, has escaped from prison with two goals in mind. He wants to get back to his depraved habits and he wants his revenge on Eve.

When McQueen escapes to Dallas, Texas, and abducts a young woman who was one of the girls rescued by Eve, she feels she has no choice but to follow him there, find him and re-arrest him. But Dallas is where Eve’s past lies and it is a place she hoped to never have to go back to. With her husband, Roarke, by her side Eve thinks that she’s able to keep her own feelings and memories under control while hunting down McQueen. She couldn’t have known that her past still holds surprises for her and that she’s not only putting her life in danger but also her sanity.

This is the 33rd instalment in the Eve Dallas series and while it can easily be read by someone who has never read a book by J.D. Robb before, this story leans on past story-lines maybe more than other books in the series did. During the previous 32 books Eve’s memories of her horrific early years have slowly been returning to her and coming to terms with everything that happened to her has been an even slower process. In many ways that past comes to a climax in this book, and I think the reader who is familiar with the emotional rollercoaster she’s been on would get most out of this book. Having said that, Robb includes enough details from earlier books for a novice to her series to be able to keep up and get the full picture.

As expected, this was a fast, thrilling and exciting story. J.D. Robb rarely disappoints me with one of her Eve and Roarke adventures. Robb’s characters are strong, recognizable, clever, and fun. Conversations sparkle, the action is descriptive and exciting while the intimate scenes are hot. What’s not to like?

The ingredients are familiar; horrible crimes, a deprived but clever criminal, Eve’s dark humour, Roarke’s technical wizardry and an explosive finale. And yet, even though I know exactly what to expect before I pick up the book, these stories never fail to completely grab a hold of me and keep me hooked until the very last page, leaving me wanting more as soon as I close the book. You would expect such predictability to lessen my reading enjoyment, but it doesn’t. If anything, the experience is quite the opposite. I look at these books as a sort of homecoming, a safe read when I need something to lift my spirits.

J.D. Robb is of course the pseudonym Nora Roberts adopted when she decided to try her hand at a mystery series set in the not too distant future. Fans of Nora Roberts’ romance novels will recognise a lot in these stories and characters. The main difference between Robb and Roberts is that the Eve Dallas books are proper mysteries and plotted as such. While romance does play a big role in these books, it takes a backseat to the crimes committed and the process of solving these mysteries.

I can only hope that Robb will continue with this series for as long as I’m able to read.

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