J.D. Robb's latest paperback release Salvation in Death was a bit of a disappointment for me. I thought the storyline was rushed and not as well-rounded as past efforts in the series. Holy communion spells death for Fr. Miguel Flores, a popular Catholic priest in New York City's Spanish Harlem, after he swallows wine laced with cyanide during a funeral in bestseller Robb's unusually introspective 27th crime thriller to feature Lt. Eve Dallas (after Strangers in Death). The ensuing homicide investigation suggests that Flores could actually be Lino Martinez, a former member of a disbanded gang, the Soldados, suspected of two bombings before he disappeared. The death by cyanide of another religious figure, Jimmy Jay Jenkins, founder of the Church of Eternal Light, complicates matters. Are the two murders connected? Sussing out the answer to that question involves some serious digging. Dallas's husband, Roarke, and fun sidekick, Det. Delia Peabody, lend support. Robb offers a multilayered solution to several crimes that serves as yet another reminder that wolves sometimes hide in sheep's (or priest's) clothing, but justice, like faith, has no expiration date. Robb often picks elements to further Roarke and Eve's character development, in this case their POV of religion or faith, as well as how gray the line of responsibility. A large portion of the book was focused on these elements at the sacrifice of the development of Eve's friendships...we only get quick glimpses of Mavis, Mira, and Nadine and nothing of Louise & Charles (I was expecting more storyline on their wedding shower that was only briefly mentioned). Sometimes the dialogue and intimacy scenes between Roarke and Eve frustrate me because the writing style is very choppy and abrupt. I wish Robb could spend a bit more time making these more realistic. Roarke's voice sometimes seems Irish and sometimes not...would like more consistency. The story proceeds over a handful of days, although this is usually normal. The concept of a con artist and gang member masquerading as a priest and being murdered during communion in front of his congregation was interesting to me but the killer was not difficult to figure out, not very interesting and the side story of Jimmy Jenkins seemed like filler.
Next in the series, Promises in Death, sounds more promising and was released in hardcover February 24, 2009. Mass market paperback to be released July 28, 2009.My Rating: 3.0