In this installment of the wildly popular "In Death" series we find a madman dressed as Santa ringing doorbells and then raping and murdering the person who answers. It's Christmas and Eve Dallas is cranky. She doesn't need this.
Let me just get this out of the way. I find Eve Dallas to be one of the most loathsome female characters in any successful series going today. She is verbally and emotionally abusive to anyone who cares about her, including her hot husband. If I worked for her I'd request a transfer. If she was my friend I'd screen her calls.
At one point she says something completely horrible, insulting and humiliating to Peabody -- her friend and subordinate. Peabody reads her the riot act: "You can say what you want on the clock but not when we're on personal time" kind of thing. Well, apparently Eve was saying it from a personal standpoint and not as Peabody's boss. So, Eve gets her feelings hurt over Peabody's rant. And, apparently ... according to the author ... we're supposed to take Eve's side in this. Peabody's in the wrong. WTH!!? Infuriating. If professional what she said should have gotten her written up as harassment. If personal what she said should have permanently lost her a friend.
But not in the world of In Death where Eve Dallas can abuse and disrespect every single person with whom she comes in contact and all they do is freakin' admire her.
I'm not sure why this series is so popular, frankly. I think it's Roarke. He's definitely a great hero, but in this installment he's reduced to a therapeutic sex toy. Which would be fine if he wasn't so much more interesting than the heroine.
I was bothered by the previous book because it was so Eve-centric when the mystery should have had the book focused much more on Roarke. And in this one he's pushed even further into the background. I'm sorry, but Eve Dallas is simply not a likable enough heroine to sustain interest in this series. Why would I buy a book just to see the protagonist beat up on the people who, for some unknown reason, care about her?
The mystery was okay, but therein lay another wall banger. We have everyone talking about what a great cop Eve is but her impulsive nastiness led her down the wrong path multiple times. She blames herself for missing clues but then everyone else assures her it's not at all her fault. It IS her fault she missed clues because she was busy ruining everyone else's Christmas with her bitchy attacks on everything from work to play to tradition to personal choice. She's a nightmare.
And after all that ... spoiler warning ... she finally decides to devote her evening to Roarke and head home from Peabody's apartment immediately after her friend has been attacked and almost raped/murdered! In fact, everyone leaves Peabody alone. Because she says "I'll be fine". With friends like these who needs people who don't give a crap? The author was sweeping that huge event under the rug in favor of some weak epiphany for Eve. It was insulting and just cemented my feeling that Eve is not at all a good cop and probably needs to find another line of work. And she's not a good friend, either.
Do they get better? I really liked numbers 4 and 5 but then things crashed and burned for me with this series. Please tell me they do get better, otherwise I'll never understand how this series has gone to over thirty installments.