Every so often, I get the urge to read nothing but J.D. Robb books for a while. As Robb (the novelist Nora Roberts) is still writing the ongoing series, and they feature a set cast of characters, it's like watching an entertaining police procedural, only I get it in book form. Just as with a decent procedural, where you can catch an episode now and then and get a decent idea of what's going on between the various regular characters and what their relationships are to one another, you can pretty much pick up any J.D. Robb In Death novel without having read any others first. I find that the reason I enjoy them so much, though, is because I have followed the characters from the beginning, and can see how they've developed and grown over the course of the series. So if you want to start at the beginning, read the absolutely excellent Naked in Death.
Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas has to solve a series of date rape murders, where the women meet their killer in online chat rooms, believe they have found their perfect partner, only to be pumped full of dangerous date rape drugs and murdered. Herself a victim of rape and child abuse, Eve is even more driven than usual to track down the murderer and stop the assaults. As the killer disguises his appearance on each of the dates, uses drugs that are not readily available and also seems to be rather good at hiding his electronic trail, it's quite a challenge to track him. Luckily her husband Roarke, who also owns most of the known world, is a computer genius, who happily lends his assistance.
As well as further glimpses into Eve's childhood through her nasty, recurring nightmare, there is further development for Eve's trusty aide, Delia Peabody and her on-off again flirt, Ian McNab, who works in the police computer division. There is the welcome return of Charles Monroe, a licenced companion who's very close friendship with Peabody caused McNab to dump her in a previous book. Doctor Louise Dimatto from Conspiracy in Death also returns, having witnessed the first victim plunging from her balcony to the sidewalk, and is able to use her medical knowledge to help Eve and her investigative team with their case. A fun installment, especially because McNab is forced to really examine his feelings for Peabody, and Eve is once again mortified at being asked about relationship advice by her assistant.