There is something about Nora’s writing, both as herself and as J.D. Robb, that hooks me from the first sentence and doesn’t let me go until I’ve read the final chapter. So it’s no surprise that Leverage in Death worked incredibly well for me and broke my first ever (and hopefully last!) reading slump. While I’ve picked up some great books in the past month, nothing grabbed me enough to entice me further into its pages. I should’ve known that Nora would prove to be the cure to my dilemma.
Eve Dallas and those in her life feel incredibly real to me considering that they’re comprised of ink and paper instead of flesh and bone. Leverage in Death is the 47th full length novel starring Dallas, a homicide detective solving cases in the not too distant future of 2060s New York. She and Roarke are one of my favorite couples in fiction. I’ve loved watching their relationship develop and settle as the years have progressed, though there is most definitely still an incredible amount of passion between the two. (Side note: Roarke is also one of the most insanely attractive men I’ve ever come across in fiction or reality.) I also love Eve’s relationships with coworkers and others that she somehow picked up through the years and could never manage to shake. When we first meet Eve, she’s rough and prickly and standoffish, much more comfortable with space and solitude than she is with relationships in any form. Now, almost fifty books and numerous novellas into her story, she has softened somewhat, and is baffled to find that she has so many people who care about her, and even more flabbergasted by how much she cares for them in return. Eve has unknowingly built herself a motley crew of a family and, even though it’s not something she thought she’d ever want, she sees it for the priceless gift it is and will do anything to protect its members. These relationships are so fully fleshed out that they’re palpable, which is one of my absolute favorite components of Nora’s work.
Another element of this series that I find particularly fascinating is the vast diversity of the crimes Dallas investigates. After 47 books, it must be difficult to create cases that are different from those that came before, but Nora manages to put a unique and interesting spin on every crime central to its novel. Whether its method, target, or motivation, some component always feels fresh. Both the crimes and motivations behind them in Leverage in Death were heartbreaking, and demonstrated just how callous and manipulative and downright sadistic people can be for monetary gain. Eve’s reactions are always so believable and convincing that it’s impossible to read the story without developing empathy both for her and through her to the victims she stands for.
While the mysteries in this series keep readers guessing and invested in the outcome, what makes the In Death series stand out so strongly in my mind is the level of character development that comes from having almost fifty books with the same cast. Nora has created something very special here, and I plan to read every single installment until it finales, which I hope isn’t for many years to come.
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