MRS. LIEUTENANT DALLAS ROARKE
Sylvester Yost is a contract assassin, a very expensive assassin with very expensive tastes. For him, killing is a business. But make no mistake – he loves his work. In fact, he is so good at what he does that he has been caught only once in 40 years, back in his early youth. That doesn’t mean that he is unknown to international policing circles. It just means that he hasn’t ever been found.
Yost’s signature is vicious and unwavering. He does not simply dispatch his contract and step away into the shadows. He destroys the victim, body and soul, male or female, with a four-step cocktail of muscle relaxants, battering, rape and strangulation. As the prologue ends, he has just murdered a young woman in his signature manner and has done so in one of Roarke’s most lavish hotels. And the victim is just the first of four people in his current contract, each of whom is progressively more important to Roarke.
Eve Dallas is attending a major function at the hotel with Roarke, when the murder is discovered, making her the primary detective for the case. Unfortunately for Yost, he has over-estimated the resources of his employer. He has also under-estimated the dedication of Eve Dallas in standing for the dead. But most importantly, he has grossly under-estimated Eve’s determination to protect the man whom she so desperately loves and needs. And to do both, Eve must discover who is trying to destroy Roarke’s emotional stability and why.
J. D. Robb has done her traditional finest in crafting this tense and fast-paced story, the 12th entry of her In Death series. But there are differences this time around – differences that are most evident in the emotional exchanges between Eve and Roarke. Gone from this novel are most of the temper tantrums and the other self-defense mechanisms that Eve has repeatedly used in the past. In their place are attempts to be a friend to Peabody when she needs someone to listen and attempts to make small talk at social functions with Roarke. But most importantly are the attempts to reverse the roles that she and Roarke so often play under stress. This time he is the one under emotional duress and she is the one who must psychologically pull him back from the edge.
The identity of the person who has committed the betrayal delineated in the book’s title is relatively easy to determine early in the novel. What is not so easy to determine is “why.” And it is even more difficult to determine if the Judas is also Yost’s employer. Page by page, Robb ratchets up the tension and increases the complexity of the plot line.
And then, another difference from previous entries in the series is presented – the case does not wrap up cleanly. Perhaps we will find these missing pieces revealed in a later book, or perhaps not. But it will be interesting to see what Roarke does if they do reappear.
Cover Art from Goodreads