Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chaos in Death by J. D. Robb

I told y’all I wasn’t done with J. D. Robb. Nope. Not at all. I have one more Robb session before Devoted in Death comes raining down in September. So that means for the rest of the summer my posts should be Robb free. (Sure. Totally commited to that idea.)

Nonetheless, for this final time, I want to talk about another Robb short, Chaos in Death. If you look closely at the image, you’ll notice that I checked out the large-print edition from my local public library (yay for using those facilities). It was the only copy they had of the anthology that contained the short story. So I figured why not.

Chaos in Death (In Death #33.5) opens with New York homicide lieutenant, Eve Dallas, reporting to the scene of a triple homicide.  Said homicide consists of three junkies, once squatting in an abandoned building where their bodies are found. Each appear murdered by three different methods–giving Eve the feeling there was possibly more than one murderer. Additionally, each of the three respectively have an ear, eye, or tongue removed. The connection between the junkies and the abandoned building leads Eve to a rehabilitation clinic, where she learns the three were having treatments for their drug addiction problems. Further inquires into the clinic uncovers the development of a treatment concocted to combat drug addiction, via a natural-based serum.

Before long an eye-witness turns up claiming to have seen a goblin-like creature prancing and skipping away from the crime scene.  With a sketch of the creature in hand, Eve’s investigation takes on a darker turn.  Now she suspects this natural serum created in the clinic may be the source behind the chaos she’s officially stepped into.

And chaos it becomes.  Per usual, Robb really comes out of the box in her short stories. Chaos in Death is easily a twisted twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s the J. D. Robb approach. And in keeping with Stevenson’s famed dissociative identity-style novella, Robb explores how the often overlooked and shy individual sometimes go to great lengths to gain the attention and respect of others.  As a mystery, the suspect is hidden until the very end; there is a pool of potentials for Eve to traverse her way through toward the truth. But even still, I found myself eliminating the obvious for zoning right into the truth more than partway through the 166-paged short. This, I believe, is only all too right in this case.

Still, Robb crams just about everything she has with her series into this short. The principle In Death cast shows. The sex between Eve and her billionaire husband, Roarke, isn’t missing. And all the little quips, one-liners, and displays of relationship dynamics are present. And because this short came immediately after book number 33, New York to Dallas; Eve is shown recovering from her previous traumatic experience as a little extra spritz of her development.

All in all, I enjoyed this short a lot more than my previous venture in Taken in Death. Other than that, a taste of Robb before Robb I’m down with any day.

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