FANTASY IN DEATH by Nora Roberts
J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) opens up a new murder book when New York Police Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates a homicide involving a top video game designer in Fantasy in Death. The year is 2060 and the world is just enough different than ours to be interesting, although the chase for the murderer seems very familiar.
I enjoyed the idea of the entertainment available that late in the 21st century, but after seeing all the entertainment dollars that get spent every month and how much technology seems to jump every three or four years, I think Robb may have seriously underestimated where video gaming and virtual reality may be in the next 50 years.
Robb is a virtuoso at getting a story underway, though. Within just a few pages, she’s introduced us to the murder victim, a new way of gaming, and a host of other SF elements that mesh really well in her story.
As usual, Dallas and her ex-criminal husband Roarke end up chasing the same murderer for different reasons, and they end up at cross-purposes now and again. It’s a formula, but it’s a formula that works and has worked for over 30 novels in this series so far.
Eve Dallas’s family and circle of friends has grown exponentially over the books. Each of them show up for cameo bits pretty much as their lives continually get tangled with each other’s.
For the most part, I enjoyed Eve’s pursuit of the murder investigation. Robb has the procedure down pat, and she’s got her characters firmly in place as she marches them forward.
However, the plot in this one seemed to spiral for a while and become repetitious in the middle. And there was no real reason to expand Eve’s suspicions past the three surviving partners. The false leads weren’t developed quite as expertly as Robb normally does. And the revelation of the killer’s identity wasn’t astounding in any way.
I did like the fact that Eve and Roarke ended up fighting alone in the virtual reality world, and that Eve “cheated” the perverted system for the win. Fantasy in Death might not be anything new for long-time readers, but it’s a solid entry into the long-lived series.