Book: Fantasy in Death

Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb
Reviewed by Lori Twichell,
Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: February 23, 2010

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is back. J.D. Robb’s much beloved heroine of the future is taking on a new case and this game is anything but fun. When Bart Minnock, a brilliant young mastermind behind the 2060 gaming industry turns up dead in his holo unit, it seems like a relatively simple case of murder. The investigation takes an unusual turn when absolutely no forensic evidence is found in the apartment or the holo unit. It appears that Bart Minnock was alone when he was decapitated.

Things get even stickier when Dallas discovers that Minnock had a connection to her husband, Roarke. As a special consultant to the NYPSD, Roarke is usually a great help in investigations, but this time, there’s a personal spin. It seems that Roarke had been a mentor of sorts to the victim. This brings even more tension to the investigation and Dallas has to juggle things that she’s never had to before.

The case launches Dallas into a new area that’s well out of her comfort zone, the gaming world. It’s revealed in the book that she knows little (if anything) about popular culture and understands only very little about her husband’s profession. This allows for a lot of fun with ‘historic’ mentions of geek lore. Sci Fi fans will find fantastic references to Star Wars, Batman and other much beloved icons of the current culture though of course in the book’s timeline, they’re historical references.

I loved the way that this mystery unfolded. Since this is only my second Eve Dallas book, I have to say that this one grabbed me faster and held my attention throughout. The mystery was intriguing (How DOES a guy in a holo unit get decapitated without any forensic evidence left behind?) and the plot moved just quickly enough to keep you entranced. Though there was plenty of opportunity for Robb to showcase her knowledge of Science Fiction and technology, it didn’t overwhelm the story in technical details and geek speak. It added depth and realism to the story without bogging it down.

This story brought more depth to the relationships in Eve’s life. As we read how she’s able to compartmentalize and push feelings aside, Robb presents situations that allow her to explore the emotions and give the character a depth of dimension that’s beautiful and heartbreaking. It allows the reader to experience murder in a less emotional aspect as we delve deeper into the relationship between Roarke and Dallas.

Succinct, creative, fun and still with enough of a twist to keep you guessing until the very end, Fantasy in Death surpassed my expectations from the previous Naked in Death book (which was stellar) and set a new bar for mystery and suspense, but Science Fiction as well. I think I can now call myself a certified fan of the In Death series.

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