Yay... another J. D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) novel... Calculated In Death. This time, Dallas is tagged on a woman's death that looks to be a mugging gone bad. Her body is found on the street at the base of a set of stairs leading up to a building in the midst of remodeling. But Dallas and Peabody find evidence that she was actually killed inside, and the street scene was staged as a diversion. Further investigation reveals that in her job as an auditor, she had just been given three new cases due to an accident with the original auditor. Dallas wonders if perhaps she was killed to cover up fraudulent activity that an audit would reveal. Roarke finds proof of the cover-up, and a couple more deaths related to the audits confirms that Dallas is on the right track. But she needs to figure out who is calling the shots before she becomes the final victim.
Calculated started off slower than I'm used to for an In Death novel. In fact, I was thinking this might be the first non-five star review for a Robb novel I've had. The pace picks up as the story moves on, and by the end it's back on track for the type of writing I've come to expect from Roberts. I like how she's taking some of the edges off of Dallas via her relationship with Roarke, but not so much that she loses the essence of what makes her who she is.
When there are 36 titles in a series, it's not a surprise that one or two don't quite work as well as the rest. Actually, I'm more surprised that Roberts has been able to keep the quality so high for so long. Calculated In Death may not have been one of my favorites, but it's nowhere close to making me reconsider my priorities in wanting to read every new installment as soon as it's available. In fact, I'm already waiting for Thankless In Death due in September. :)
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more