Rapture in Death is the fourth book in the In Death series by J. D. Robb. This review assumes you've read the first three books; it contains no spoilers for the novel and some minor spoilers (no surprises) for the earlier books. Skip to the end if you want just my opinion.
Rapture in Death begins just a couple of weeks after book three ends: Eve and Roarke are on the last leg of their honeymoon at an off-planet hotel. The resort, owned by Roarke, is still being built, and the newlyweds spend some time taking a tour and trying out the facilities. The trip would have been perfect except a young technician was found dead by apparent suicide, and Eve and Roarke are called to the scene.
Once home in New York, the two return to their usual busy schedules. Eve has managed to snag Peabody as her new permanent assistant, and best friend Mavis is working with a publicist to launch her singing and dancing act. On just the second day back on the job, Eve is tagged as the principal in a suspicious death of a famous defense attorney. He was found in his bathtub with his wrists slashed.
Although there is no apparent connection between the lawyer and the technician, Eve can't help but notice that each died with a smile on his face. Furthermore, brain scans indicate a tiny area of damage in both men.
After a third suicide, this time a prominent businesswoman, Eve is convinced she is looking for a serial killer. The problem is, each person seems to have gladly chosen "self-termination," so how could the murders have been orchestrated?
Rapture in Death is a strong entry in Robb's Eve Dallas novels. Although the book takes place in the 2050s, the futuristic or science fiction aspects of the story are matter of fact, and we are not overwhelmed with techo-jargon. The interlacing of the murder investigation with Eve's personal life keeps the reader engaged throughout. Because we are given a few clues that are hidden from Eve, we have the chance to figure out who the bad guy is before she does, and the device adds to the suspense.
Similar to the other In Death novels, this one revolves around Eve, Roarke, and Mavis, although the characters do not grow as much in this entry as they do in the earlier books. On the other hand, Peabody is given a bigger role, and we learn a bit more about some of the minor players. Rapture in Death seems to be a transitional point in the series, settling Eve into her new professional relationship and into her new status as Roarke's wife.
If you like cozy mysteries or romantic suspense you'll like the In Death series. It's important to start from book one, Naked in Death, because the development of the main characters and their relationships make for a continuing story and minor characters reappear.
The audiobook was read by Susan Ericksen, who did a fine job. Unfortunately, the first three books are read by Cristine McMurdo-Wallis, and it took me a third of the way through the audio to get used to the new narrator. Ericksen puts her own spin on the characters' voices, and once I adjusted, I enjoyed the listen. This is a good thing because she narrates the rest of the series.
J. D. Robb is a pen name of Nora Roberts. You can learn more about the author on her website. In November 2009, the 30th In Death book will be published. Robb has also written several Eve Dallas novellas.
Published by Penguin USA, 1996
Challenges: Themed Reading, Cozy Mysteries, 999, 100+