A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Santa was higher than a kite when he called out “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” at the office party. As a matter of fact, he was 36 stories high when he went out the window, screaming “Ho! Ho! Ho!” right to the moment he landed on a pedestrian, killing them both graveyard dead. And one of his elves was very quick in giving up to Eve Dallas the name of the illegals supplier the man had used.
Eve decided to let Peabody take point on the case. Playing the illegals dealer like the proverbial fiddle, Peabody got him to actually incriminate himself – and identify a possibly corrupt cop. Pleased with the results of Peabody’s finesse, Eve leaves the observation room and heads back to her office. Her good feelings are destroyed within moments when she realizes who is sitting in her office waiting for her.
Trudy Lambert was the first foster care parent Eve had been assigned to back in Texas at the age of eight. Verbally sadistic rather than physically abusive like Eve’s father, raping her mind rather than her body, Trudy Lambert was the second living nightmare of Eve’s short life. Forced to clean the kitchen with a toothbrush and locked in a dark room repeatedly, it took a nine-year-old Eve six months and two attempts to escape Trudy successfully.
Now, seeing that nightmare in the flesh after all these years, Eve is decimated. Ordering Trudy out of Cop Central, she tries to flee the station herself but makes it no further than the restroom. Peabody finds her there, essentially incoherent and retching her guts up. When Eve leaves the station, refusing to explain or accept any help, Peabody calls Roarke.
After hearing the whole sordid tale from Eve shortly thereafter, Roarke knows exactly why Trudy has shown up. And sure enough, the next morning, she appears at Roarke’s main office, demanding two million dollars or she will tell Eve’s entire childhood history to Eve’s superiors and to the press.
Bad move on Trudy’s part. Very bad move. Roarke’s self-taught sophistication blends with his innate business acumen and the streetwise skills of his youth to present a “counter offer” to Trudy that only a pig-headed fool would refuse. Well, Trudy is a pig-headed fool, and two days later, Eve and Roarke find her murdered in her hotel room.
Now, Eve and Roarke must walk a fine line between being investigators and being prime suspects. But more importantly, Eve feels nothing when she looks at the body, no drive to speak for this particular dead, no drive to get justice, nothing at all. It is as if her cop instincts have dried up and she is just going through the motions.
Eve was only one of twelve children placed in Trudy’s care over the years. Surely she was not the only one terrorized and traumatized by the passive-aggressive psychopath. And perhaps she was not the first person Trudy had tried to blackmail, as the woman, with no real visible means of support, possessed some very fine jewelry, some quite expensive clothing and was groomed by products costing thousands.
In this 22nd entry in the In Death series, Robb pens gripping emotional upheaval and significant character growth for Eve. Whether it is Eve’s reaction at the first sight of Trudy, the uneasiness of giving and receiving Christmas gifts or the final confrontation with the killer in front of the mirror in the Interview Room, Robb puts Eve’s self-image and her professional self-concept on the line. Even with Roarke and her marriage providing a rock on which to balance, she still struggles to weather the storm, literally and figuratively. And Robb provides Roarke with a few moments of critical self-awareness also.
Thus Robb brings the year 2059 to a close.
Cover Art From Goodreads