Thursday, 29 March 2012

Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb / Nora Roberts

Celebrity in Death (2012)
J. D. Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts
Grade: B
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: hot for NR, but mild for In Death - not very clear if you're not a regular Roberts reader, I know, but this is just how I'm used to thinking of them now.
Source: library
In Death: (1) Naked in Death

It was cute. Not amazing, but cute. I realise that I've used this word to initially describe a lot of the pitiful number of reviews I've actually written, but cute is the first word to come to mind here. I realised that I haven't actually written any reviews for March. Of course, it would help if I had actually read any books in March, and I'm pretty sure that this is my first, so I thought it would be nice to have some down before March is over.

The Icove case (Creation in Death) was one of Eve's biggest. Nadine Furst, well-known face of Channel 75 and one of the few Eve can call her friends, even when she's hounding her for an exclusive interview or new information about a case, wrote a book about the Icoves, father and son who were cloning people or something. I forget. That book has been adapted for the big screen because even in 2060, the public still love a good murder mystery and excitement.

The cast are in their last stages of filming when Eve finally can't find any more excuses to head over to the set and show her face. She's forced to admit that the actors and set are surprisingly good and accurate and the actors treat her as if she's the celebrity instead of the other way around - not that Eve would suck up, which presumes that she's heard of these people. New York's top homicide cop she might be; if you want up-to-date current gossip, Eve's definitely not your girl.

So everyone on set is nice to Eve, which, considering the hostility of her profession is both surprising and in other circumstances, probably something to be suspicious of. Everyone but Peabody, that is. Or rather, K.T. Harris who is playing Peabody. Eve might put on the tough-cop-bitch facade when the situation requires it but K.T. is the real thing: whiny, bitchy, mean, vindictive, thinks-she's-superior, alcoholic-and-druggie spoiled actress but really fucking good at her job which is the only reason the others continue to tolerate her.

Anyway, a dinner party is hosted by Connie, former actress and wife of Roundtree, the director of the film. All the main actors are invited as well as their real counterparts with the exception of Mavis who plays herself - really, no one could ever play Mavis as well as Mavis. Everyone is enjoying themselves through dinner and drinks and the sneak-peak trailer that Roundtree has put together for the occasion showing the gags during filming - everyone but K.T.. Her altercation with Eve during dinner was one of my favourite scenes:

K.T.: "You act like you (Julian, playing Roarke) and Marlo (playing Eve) are the only ones in this goddamn vid, and the two people you're trying so hard to mimic are the only ones who count. It's insulting. So why don't you give it a fucking rest, set up your threesome with Marlo and Dallas on your own time? Some of us are trying to eat."
Eve: "Peabody?"
Peabody: "Yes, sir."
Eve: "You know how I occasionally mention the possibility of kicking your ass?"
Peabody: "I'd term that as reguarly, but yes, sir, I do."
Eve: "You may get the chance to watch me kick your fake ass while you sit comfortably on your own. That's an opportunity that doesn't come around every day."
K.T.: "You don't worry me."
Eve: "I ought to. Anybody who shows their ass that big in public's just asking to have it kicked. But maybe it's better to just leave it hanging out there, all pink and shiny while the grown-ups talk."

So that was longer than I thought it would be, but isn't it awesome?

So apart from that temporary dampener, everyone has forgotten about it and tried to enjoy themselves, until Marlo and Matthew (playing McNab) find K.T. floating in the roof-top pool (looking eerily like Peabody) puts a permanent dampener on the evening. Dead, of course.

Eve's intial survey of the crime scene sheds little light with the odds split pretty evenly between an accident and murder. All of the dinner party guests had some reason or other to want to off K.T. despite her talent and Eve finds herself faced with a murder that took place right under her unsuspecting nose, the killer being one of her dinner companions.

I have to say straight off that this wasn't one of my favourites. I would definitely read it again if I got my own copy and I would still enjoy it but I still maintain my position that the most recent In Death books (the last half-a-dozen or so) haven't been as good as the ones before them. [I generally mark this as starting with Salvation which coincides with the change in British covers, and so this dislike may be based a tad on my absolute pet-hate of publishers changing the covers of books in a series mid-way through as has just happened with the In Death UK editions AGAIN. Seriously: what the HELL is wrong with these people? Do they have no care for my poor sensibilities???] Celebrity was definitely a nice light relief from the dense and seriousness of the last few books, New York to Dallas and Treachery. The fact that Eve was literally investigating herself and other close friends produced some laughs and lines where NR's brilliance shine through.

I would have loved to see a lot more of the secondary characters. I know this book shifted the focus onto the mirror images, but it wasn't the same. Peabody and McNab had a memorable scene and I feel like McNab faded away afterwards for the rest of the book. Same with some of the other characters. The dinner party was really the height of the novel, the 'big reveal,' as it were, where we saw all the characters shine and then mostly drift away, which is a shame. I would have like more Mira, Mavis/Leonardo, McNab as mentioned before, Feeney, Summerset, Baxter and Trueheart, though none of the last four were present at the murder. I know that if there's too much focus on these secondaries in every single book, it gets a bit repetitive and trot-out-the-pony-like, but I find that their lack of scenes is clearly noticeable enough for me to remark on it and wish that they had more. Nadine did get a more prominent role here that I liked - if only she could now get with Trueheart ...

There were are few discussions between Eve and Roarke over the state of their relationship. As I haven't reviewed an In Death here before, I'm going to say straight up that Eve and Roarke are my favourite couple EVER. In all of romanceland, there's not going to be another couple who can be portrayed as they have been that I will ever love and want to be more. Seriously. Eve and Roarke are just the couple you wish you were, something that's hard to understand unless you've read the books and experienced their chemistry. Eve remarks in a conversation early on with Peabody that her relationship and marriage to Roarke was rushed (married by the end of book 3!) definitely not normal, but Peabody in her insightful way contradicts Eve and gets the final word:

Eve: "Nothing about me and Roarke was smart. Nothing about us should've worked, when you look at it close."
Peabody: "You're wrong about that. The closer you look, the more it's clear why it worked. Why it works."

Roarke's always buying stuff for Eve and this book in no different. He got her her super-car, the DLE (Dallas Lieutenant Eve) in Kindred in Death (somebody correct me if I'm wrong because I probably am) that was custom-made for her to look ugly on the outside so that no self-respecting thief would even look at it, yet fitted out with a million gadgets and one on the inside. In Celebrity, Roarke gives Eve a mid-length leather coat with a stunner-proof, blade-proof lining to protect her on the job. It may not be diamonds (God knows he gives her enough of those already) but this is more precious to Eve than shiny rocks are.

Anyway, back to Eve and Roarke's relationship which I totally forgot about. They went through some pretty rocky times in New York to Dallas. I'm not going to say anything about it because I want to review all the In Death books on here when I re-read them, so I'd like to reveal Eve's backstory as the books progress, but basically NYTD reveals a huge shocker about Eve's past that impacts heavily on both Eve and Roarke so that they've been a lot more careful around each other than they would normally be and this pisses the both of them off. They might be the perfect, ideal couple, but they have their problems, even more so than normal couples because of their jobs/statuses and I love to watch them fight/yell/hit it out on each other.

Back to the actual murder: it's not often that I manage to guess right. I didn't here, but then I didn't really guess at all because I just didn't have any idea. Once Eve unravels all the clues during the course of her investigation, it all becomes clear, but I don't think here that it's someone that you can guess right after the actual murder itself because you need all the stuff that Eve finds out later on.

I did like this book, really. It's In Death, so I'll always love it just because it's Eve and it's Roarke and you really can't ask for much else. The murders might not be as good as they used to be (in my opinion), but the book(s) still have NR's trademark funny, dialogue and awesomeness. Thirty-three books later (depending on how you count) and they're still going strong. If that alone isn't a reason to start reading, then I don't know what is.

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