After reading four dozen books with the same characters, you’d think I’d be tired of them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vendetta in Death is the 49th(!) book following Eve Dallas, a Homicide detective in New York City in the near future. By this point, Eve and Roarke and every person in their lives feel tangibly real to me, and every new installment in this series feels like a chance to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while.
In Vendetta in Death, a new vigilante has come onto the scene, and she makes Batman look like a Boy Scout. Her name is Lady Justice, and the “justice” she dishes out is incredibly brutal. Lady Justice preys on predators, men who have manipulated and abused women in some way. And she doesn’t just give them a beatdown and warn them to straighten up, or she wouldn’t have crossed into Eve’s world. No, after she tortures these men for hours she literally unmans them, castrating them and letting them bleed out before dumping their bodies back on their doorsteps. While these men are horrible, and do deserve to be brought to justice, this is the wrong way to go about it. Eve has to find a balance between finding true justice for these men, as well as for the women they’ve hurt.
One of the things I love about Nora (Robb) is the fact that she tackles tough topics in such a tactful way. Here we see a lot of discussion about powerful men and the ways they take advantage of women, using their power and prestige to scare their victims into silence. Often, what finally makes these women step up and speak out is the realization that, if they don’t, other women will suffer the same fate. One of the ways that people are able to find the strength to make this stand is through finding the right support group that will stand with them. Nora shows us how much trust goes into being part of such a group, and how even the most positive of enterprises can be twisted to serve a darker purpose without the members knowing. And isn’t that a further abuse, taking what’s meant to be a safe space and using it to fuel your own vendetta?
I don’t really know what to say about this book except that everything Nora writes, whether under her own name or her J.D. Robb pseudonym, feels like coming home. No other author draws me in as quickly and completely. No other author’s work feels as cozy and soothing, even when it’s about grisly murders. And when it comes to In Death, no other series has made a cast of characters so real for me. It’s been a joy to watch Eve grow and overcome her brutal start in life, and to finally allow people in and end up inadvertently gathering a huge, loving, unique chosen family of wildly different people. I’m already eagerly awaiting book 50!
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