26 April 2013

Calculated in Death (JD Robb)

Available from all good bookstores and on the Kindle

Hmmm. I’m a long-term fan of JD Robb (even though I hate the writing of her alter ego, Nora Roberts). To prove to you the extent of my fandom, here’s the evidence: I named my cat Dallas, after Lieutenant Eve Dallas, Robbs’ protagonist.

Buuut… Robbs’ writing is starting to annoy me lately, for four reasons:

a)    It’s getting very formulaic.

Something bad and bloody happens, in one of Hot Hubby’s empire of locations. Eve, despite constantly battling her own inner demons, enlists Hot Hubby, her faithful sidekick Peabody, the tea-drinking Dr Mira and the usual assortment of allies. She then allows Hot Hubby to choose her clothes/deck her out for a function she doesn’t want to go to, force her to eat and sleep, have jaw-dropping sex with her on the shower floor/in the pool, and provide genius assistance in catching the bad guy. Whose ass she (literally) hands to him before sending him off-planet for, like, ever.

b)    The sex scenes are dreadful.

“When she rose over him, her skin gleaming in the last red lights of the dying sun, he was beyond speech. Now her fingers linked with his, and she took him in. She bowed back, her body a slim and lovely arch of energy, and it shuddered, shuddered, as his did. Then she shifted her gaze, fixed her eyes on his. And rode.” – Portrait in Death
Seriously? It’s all getting a bit 50 Shades for me. And before you ask, no, I haven’t read it. But I’ve been told that there’s lots of “She shattered into a million pieces.”

c)    Eve Dallas thinks in phrases.

“Six hours before, she'd killed a man, had watched death creep into his eyes. It wasn't the first time she'd exercised maximum force, or dreamed. But it was the child that haunted her. The child she hadn't been in time to save. The child whose screams had echoed in the dreams with her own.” – Naked in Death
I’m getting a bit bored with the way Eve’s inner monologue moves; specifically, the constant and repetitive use of sentence fragments to add drama. She grumps, grumbles, whines, deflects and generally behaves like a massive curmudgeon, only showing a small sense of humour while being ravished by Hot Hubby. Boring.
d)    The futuristic stuff is dwindling.

The early books had great detail about cars that fly and weird GM foods and crazy fashion. The later ones, specifically Calculated in Death, is a bit short on it. Which is a pity. Because if I’m going to read 37 books set in and around the year 2060, you’d better believe I’m going to need some awesome tech stuff to keep me interested.

If you’re going to read this book, despite my indictment, you should know the plot:

A dead woman lies at the bottom of the stairs. Mugged, apparently. But Eve and Peabody find blood inside the apartment building, and evidence of a hit. Problem is, Marta, the vic, isn’t the ‘sort’ to be on a hit list. She’s a boring, well-to-do accountant. Eve enters Roarke’s world of big billionaire business to find the money trail.

I’d love to know what you think -> tiffany@tiffanymarkman.co.za

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