Book Review: J.D. Robb’s Betrayal in Death

Posted August 18, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: J.D. Robb’s Betrayal in Death

Betrayal in Death


J.D. Robb

romantic suspense that was published by Berkley on March 1, 2001 and has 372 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Treachery in Death, Kindred in Death, The Other Side, New York to Dallas, Unquiet, Celebrity in Death, Delusion in Death, Calculated in Death, Thankless in Death, Mirror, Mirror, Festive in Death, Obsession in Death, "Wonderment in Death", "Possession in Death", Down the Rabbit Hole, "Midnight in Death", Devoted in Death, Brotherhood in Death, Apprentice in Death, Echoes in Death, Secrets in Death

Twelfth in the In Death romantic suspense series that takes place in a futuristic 2059 New York City and revolving around Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her gorgeous husband, Roarke.

In 2002, Betrayal in Death was tied for the All About Romance Annual Reader Poll for Best Hero award.

My Take

I do adore how Robb ends her stories with that twist, that high note, and yet she manages to tuck in a grinding need for me to hurry up and get on to the next story in the series to find out what happens next. And on the reverse, I like that Robb never starts her stories the same way every time. Sometimes they open with Eve, sometimes the murder, sometimes the murderer.

There’s a believability to how Robb develops Eve and Roarke’s relationship and how Eve’s past continues to slowly rise up. It’s a great background conflict that weaves throughout the series, tying in with Eve and Roarke building that relationship. I do adore how terrified this whole relationship thing makes Eve, lol. The “rules” she’s always worrying about *more laughter*. And Roarke…Roarke is the man I suspect we all wish was in our lives. Oh, yeah, the money is nice, but what’s more important, more impressive, more appealing (!), is how supportive he is. How he takes care of his wife *and more laughter*. The twist in his character is his past, his very criminal past. One which Eve has a difficult time reconciling with the cop in her.

“‘Hey! That makes you sort of like Summerset’s daughter-in-law.’

‘Jesus, I feel sick.'”

Of course, those e-skills of his are most impressive, and it’s his sense of humor that I absolutely adore. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the face of a fallen angel that God created on his best day. And those snarky comments Eve zings his way about his buying planets and countries * snicker *.

“‘What do I look like, the bimbo secretary?’

‘…that might be fun. I’ll be the horny executive … Let’s hear you say: “Oh, Mr. Montegue, I couldn’t possibly!” And make it breathy.'”

More of Eve’s soft spots that crack me up include this tough, kick-ass cop who gets inside the head of the criminal — and who practically cowers in fear at Trina’s approach; her and Feeney’s horror at what McNab and Peabody are up to, LMAO; and, the non-working relationship between her and her department-issued car AND computer *lots more laughter*.

As for the sex, well, it’s hot, steamy, and so very well done without resorting to vulgar language. No, I have no objection to the “vulgar”, but I can appreciate when a writer creates the same effect without even using it. Roarke’s consideration for others is another draw. He doesn’t sweat the money — yeah, he’s rolling in it, but it hasn’t made him miserly — and he cares for those he employs. He cares even more for those he considers friends. And, ROFLMAO, he cares yet more for his Eve, in ways she absolutely hates.

In this particular story, it’s amazing the number of twists and turns Robb slips in, and it’s fun to read all the stories Mick relates about his and Roarke’s activities from the past. Poor Roarke. He’s kept pretty busy redirecting the conversation, lol. On the negative side, I veer toward thinking children who torture and kill pets should be gassed. As for that little weasel! I need it. She owes me. *eye roll*

Oh, yeah, you can’t help but feel proud that Dallas manages to find Yost within a week when the FBI has been searching for years.

It’s a curious future Robb has created, one that feels like normal every day stuff, even the Auto Chef (I WANT one of these!!), but are so futuristic: voice-operated computers and cars that also fly; way too much soy food (ick); the mix of clothing that ranges from what we wear today to the cloaks, skinsuits, and hairdos that boggle my mind; the medical (and personal care) advances; those wrist units(!); the approach to marriage that combines our own morality with a futuristic one; the attitude toward gay people (and marriage!); and, then there’re the costs (!) — $12 for a pound, a pound!!, of grapes.

I’m looking forward to finding out what Roarke buys, what “stuff” he brings home.

The Story

Detective Eve Dallas investigates a homicide on familiar grounds: her husband’s hotel — and finds herself up against a murderer with a passion for the finer things in life — and death.

It all begins with Magda Lane’s party to introduce the auction she’s organized to fund her new passion, The Magda Lane Foundation for the Performing Arts, and the billion dollars’ worth of art, jewelry, and costumes up for bid.

The Characters

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is the top Homicide cop in New York City, and she’s married to the richest man on earth, Roarke. He’s gorgeous, intelligent, with a great sense of humor, and an all-nonsense approach to his focused wife. Summerset keeps their home and lives running smoothly, including that special moment at the end of the day when Eve comes home and they have their nightly snarkfest. Caro is Roarke’s admin. Galahad is the cat Eve inherited from a victim in Naked in Death, 1.

“‘…and Galahad just copped your bacon.’

She strode down the hall, but caught the mild exasperation in Roarke’s voice. ‘Haven’t we discussed that sort of behavior?'”

New York Police and Security Department (NYPSD)
Officer Delia Peabody is her aide and in two relationships. One with Detective Ian McNab with the Electronic Detective Division whose boss was Eve’s mentor, Captain Ryan Feeney. The other is with Charles Monroe, an easygoing LC, who enjoys Dee’s company. And calls Eve “Sugar”, lol.

Dr. Charlotte Mira is the police department’s chief profiler and very highly respected. She sees Eve as a daughter with a mother’s sense of protectiveness, and it baffles Eve. Commander Jack Whitney is Eve’s boss and very proud of Eve. Dickie “Dickhead” Berenski is the brilliant and flawed chief lab tech. Officer Troy Trueheart is an up-and-comer. Lenick is another of the cops.

Mavis Freestone is Eve’s best friend and a rising star in the music business. She’s involved with Leonardo, a rising fashion designer (whose story is told in Immortal in Death, 3). Trina is the beauty consultant who handles Eve’s hair and body. Not that she gets to do much of that, for she terrifies our intrepid Eve, lol. The clever and tenacious Nadine Furst is the star of Channel 75 and a friend who manages to combine both sides very well. The Down and Dirty is a nasty strip club run by Crack who gives Mavis a hand. The Blue Squirrel is another nasty club where Mavis used to sing.

Mick Connelly is an old mate from Roarke’s Dublin days. A best friend who helped Roarke survive his old man.

Magda Lane is a legend, an actress who first introduced Roarke to film and helped him survive his childhood with a look into another world, so different from his own. Vince Lane is her ne’er-do-well son who tries and fails at everything he does. Liza Trent is Vince’s girlfriend, an adoring giggler. Carlton Mince is Magda’s business manager and very old friend. Minnie is his wife.

The Palace Hotel is…
…Roarke’s. Naturally. John Brigham is its heady of security; he’d been on the job in Chicago in its Anti-Crime Division. Honroe and Billick are with special security. Natalie Hilo is head of housekeeping. Darlene French and Sheila Walker are two of the maids; Barry Collins is Darlene’s boyfriend. Harry D. French is Darlene’s dad; Sherry Tides French is her mother who runs a candy store. James Priory was a hotel guest at the time of the murder.

Paradise is…
…the salon which first appeared in Naked in Death. Denise is the snooty receptionist. Still. Martin handles the retail side of things. Letta and Nina are the consultants who have waited on Yost.

Special Agents James Jacoby and Karen Stowe strong arm their way in with quite differing results.

John Talbot was an editor who worked for Starline, one of Roarke’s companies. Dana is his girlfriend, a literary agent with Creative Outlet. Justice Thomas Werner, who I think got his just deserts for what he did to Mollie Newman, his niece through marriage. Freda Newman is her mother. DS Fortique is a Cornish cop. The New Savoy hotel is one of Roarke’s managed by Ms. Clydesboro. Britt and Joseph Hague are a couple of smuggler friends of Mick’s. Winifred C. Cates is a speech writer and special assistant to the ambassador in Paris. She was also Stowe’s best friend. Monique Rue was a female entertainer in Paris. Nigel Luca was employed by Naples.

Sylvester Yost is an assassin-for-hire. He has his style: a silver wire, beatings, rape. All of which occurs to his favorite classical and opera music. He really enjoys his work. Jacob Hawthorne is a computer analyst. Martin K. Roles is waiting in the wings.

The smugglers include Francolini, Lafarge, Franz Hornbecker of Frankfort, Hinrick is a German gentleman, and Dominic J. Naples. Kilcher’s son will be the driver. Michel Gerade is a diplomat and the French ambassador’s son. He’s also friends with Dominic J. Naples II, Naples’ son and the U.S. liaison to Delta Colony.

An LC is a licensed companion; prostitution is a legal profession with licenses and health requirements. A very practical approach. Olympus is a satellite station being built as an entertainment resort with Roarke as one of the major backers.

The Cover and Title

The cover is dark, the dark of betrayal and death with its deep violet undertones. The sides are a frame of dark skyscrapers silhouetted against a sky highlit by the old-fashioned park lanterns flanking the statue at the top of the stairs, a fountain in the forefront with a bloody thumbprint on a scrap of white paper, paperclipped on top of it all.

The title is something of a misnomer as it refers to a two-part action. First there is Betrayal [which ends] in Death.