It’s proof of J.D. Robb’s talent that “Golden in Death” is the 50th novel in this popular series featuring New York Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas, yet one could just as easily pick it up and read it as a stand alone mystery — and enjoy it just as much as a fan who’s read all the previous 49 novels.
In this mystery, a well-liked pediatrician is found murdered by a mysterious substance that killed him in minutes, evaporated almost immediately, and is unknown to the authorities. Soon after, there is another, similar murder. In each case, a package had been delivered to the murdered person with a fake return address. When each victim opened the outer shipping box, there was another box inside — a cheap wooden box — and inside that box was a plastic egg painted gold. When the clasp was unhinged, allowing the egg to open, the murderous substance was released.
With two people dead, Eve must find the link between these seemingly random victims and try to stop the murderer from killing any more people. It’s an interesting method of murder because it’s remote and unseen, and it seems to be lacking any passion. Who could be responsible for it? The manner of murder is also unique in that the chemical agent is not easily created and is extremely lethal. And the deaths are not painless.
With the help of Roarke, Eve’s billionaire husband, and her team at the police department, Eve soon has some clues that will help her track down the devious perpetrator. But the suspects are cunning and confident. Will Eve be able to prove their guilt in time to prevent more deaths?
There are plenty of quirky characters in this novel, and while it’s obvious that faithful readers of the series know them through past books, it’s not terribly difficult to keep them straight. The dialogue between Eve and Peabody, her partner, are delightful as is Eve’s relationship with Roarke, her husband. The tension builds as we find out more and more about who committed the crimes and what Eve must do to uncover the proof of their guilt.
“Golden in Death” is great escapist reading. It’s just what we need right now — to read about a crime in a future setting that is similar to our here-and-now but with a hint of new technology and language. It’s fun, thrilling, and completely satisfying.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for review purposes.