The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



Professional Reader Reviews Published

Loyalty in Death by J.D. Robb

Loyalty in Death - J. D. Robb

A shady group, calling themselves Cassandra, is targeting New York landmarks, and Eve Dallas and Roarke personally. Eve because of her dedication as a cop, Roarke because of his capitalistic inclinations...Cassandra wants to see all of it destroyed, the fascist government, the corrupt capitalistic masses, the left, the right, and everything in between. The only right path is Cassandra...

This is what was missing in the previous book; the actual conspiracy. This story had it in spades...a shadowy terrorist group rising from the ashes of a previous one (a more murderous one, since they didn't have Eve Dallas and her team to deal with), political propaganda that was more an autocratic manifesto, a murder plot implicating an innocent bystander, a prophet in perfect disguise to hide the crazy core underneath...
The pacing was spot-on, with the final few chapters hurtling toward the end at breakneck speed, the mystery was intriguing, the big reveal of the true villain surprising (although the Heureka moment felt a bit rushed—more like a cartoon light bulb going off than a result of investigation).

The cast of characters was awesome as always, although I didn't particularly like Eve in this one, since she acted like either a bitch or an asshole without any obvious reason except the fact that she could and made for good conflict. I loved the bits with Peabody and McNab; from the animosity through those two "oh my God" scenes to the final cookie, and I really hope they work it out.

Good mystery and suspense, great action and speed, wonderful characters...It was almost perfect.



A gripe about chauvinism in representation and reception of the sexes in fiction (read at your own discretion):

Why is it that a man can do anything, even things we don't know him capable of doing, and we take it at face value, while a woman would be deemed as a Mary Sue?

In a fanfiction there was a woman, a capable, self-sufficient woman. Her father was a Navy SEAL, she worked for one government agency or another...And thanks to her training, she was good at hacking, and at hand-to-hand, and handling of firearms. She was good, but she wasn't perfect. She got herself kidnapped and needed rescue, she almost got herself killed before she overpowered her assailant...So, she wasn't perfect. But what do you think the readers in their reviews called her? A Mary Sue. Which is far from the truth, but I guess people, women included, couldn't accept the fact, there could be a woman out there (fictional or not) that was able to take care of herself or do anything beyond breathing without a man's helping hand.

Now, take Roarke as an example. We don't know anything about him, expect that he had a difficult childhood and started making money by pulling grifts, picking pockets, and smuggling. We have no idea (at least not yet), how he got from a street urchin to billionaire.
Yet, he's extremely good at hacking, he knows how to handle a banned weapon, he can make a kill both in the boardroom or in an alley...And in this particular book he also knows how to diffuse a bomb.
Eve gets her ass kicked on a regular basis, she's afraid of heights and speed, she doesn't know how to handle a computer beyond the basics, and constantly needs Roarke's help in getting certain information (Feeney, the Captain of the e-detectives, isn't as good, apparently), while Roarke is pretty much perfect. Beautiful, loaded, apparently inventive in bed, and capable of pretty much any feat Eve needs done to close the case.
But does anyone question his deus ex machina capabilities? Is he a Gary Stu? Nope, he's just Roarke. Because he's perfect.

Because he's a man. Yuk!

(show spoiler)