Festive in Death
by J.D. Robb
This is book 39 in the series, not counting the 10 novellas. For anyone who’s maybe not read, you know, books, in the past two decades, J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, under which she writes futuristic police procedural romantic suspense featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas, her husband Roarke, and their friends and colleagues. While each book has a completed mystery, the series as a whole follows the lives, loves, tragedies, and mysteries of the main and recurring characters. The series is as much, if not more, a character study, as it is whodunit. So, while each story presents a discrete mystery, and could likely be read as a stand-alone, I really wouldn’t, because otherwise you probably won’t have any incentive to care about these characters.
That being said, Festive in Death is somewhat lighter and less fraught than previous books. Eve is heading into the Christmas holidays, and she still isn’t a terribly festive person. But, she’s definitely more relaxed about the holidays than she has been in years past. That actually seems to be the tone of the book, how Eve and Roarke have settled into this life they have made which is so different than either of them ever expected to make. It is sweet and a bit sappy, but seeing as I have followed this series for quite some time, it was nice to see some of my favorite imaginary people without the life and death struggles. The mystery was kind of interesting, and it is nice when the “victim” is someone you can despise, though there was a bit of a twist in the end that was kind of sad all the way around.
As an aside, I still don’t particularly care for DeWinters. I can tell she is going to become an increasingly visible character in the series, but really, she rather rubs me the wrong way.
Altogether, this isn’t the strongest book in the series, but it is a solid entry that long time readers will likely enjoy and it isn’t anything that is likely to throw those readers out of the series. Eve has grown and changed into a more complete person, she has moved through most of her issues, and as I have said, it is nice to see her happy. That being said, we have kind of reached the point where it may be time to for Eve, and this series, to take those final steps to the end. I don’t think adding new characters is going to be enough to freshen the series for much longer of a run.