BYE, BYE BABY
Natalie Copperfield and Bick Byson are both employees at the same high-powered accounting firm in NYC. They are both young, intelligent, capable and more than well thought of by the management of the firm. They are both engaged to be married, to each other, as a matter of fact. And they are both dead within an hour of each other.
Natalie is beaten almost beyond recognition, tortured by fire and strangled with her own belt. Bick is not tortured, but he is just as dead, beaten to a pulp and strangled with packing cord. Their computers and discs are gone; however, a deleted but recovered transmission from Natalie’s personal ‘link indicates that she found some massive irregularities with several accounts at work. Eve Dallas has discovered a motive for the murders. What she needs now is the nature of the irregularities and the companies involved.
Murder investigation notwithstanding, Eve is being forced to contend with the fact that Mavis Freestone’s baby is due in just a couple of weeks. There are birthing coach classes to attend with Roarke, a baby shower to give in three days and presents to buy for Mavis and the baby. Since Eve hates hospitals with a passion, despises giving and attending parties and definitely abhors shopping, trying to find a murderer who tortures people by burning their bare feet is a walk in the park, by comparison.
And then the clerk from the baby store who sold Eve the presents disappears. An unwed pregnant mother, Tandy Willowby met Mavis at their birthing center several months prior. While Mavis and Leonardo co-hab, the father of Tandy’s baby is no longer in the picture, so Mavis has taken extra time to give Tandy friendship and support. When Tandy fails to show at the baby shower and Eve finds the wrapped baby gift, the packed maternity bag and bone dry plants in Tandy’s apartment, Eve suspects that Tandy has been snatched.
Eve is a Homicide cop, not Missing Persons, but she has made a promise to Mavis to find Tandy. When a spate of similar disappearances is turned up by the MPU, disappearances that ended with murdered bodies of mothers or babies, Eve is allowed to become primary investigator on this second case.
Those readers who are this far along into the In Death series know how Robb writes. They know that she does not identify anyone by both first and last names and provide their physical description unless that character is either intended as a victim, a perpetrator, a witness or a person possessing a piece of the puzzle.
And the experienced In Death reader knows to watch for Robb’s slithery coincidences of times, places and names. Thus, two seemingly innocent and descriptive paragraphs, placed early in the novel and pages apart, alert the reader to the very real probability that Tandy’s baby’s life and Natalie Copperfield’s death are but two sides of the same murderer’s coin.
As usual, Robb uses the entire team across the two cases. Eve, Roarke and Peabody are center stage. Mira and Feeney are further in the background than usual, with McNab and Baxter picking up a little airtime in their place. Whitney and Nadine Furst have little more than cameo roles this go round, with Trueheart more mentioned than seen. But each one pulls their weight, serves their purpose, and progresses both the cases and the storyline satisfactorily.
As an aside, it might be good to have a few tissues close at hand as you read. And it’s not that you will need them to wipe your eyes as you cry over the circumstances that Eve must face. Quite frankly, the tissues are to swipe the tears of laughter from your face as you read the scenes with Eve and Roarke in the birth coaching class, at the shower for Mavis and in the hospital during the actual births of Mavis’ and Tandy’s babies. J. D. Robb has absolutely outdone herself this time in both Eve’s and Roarke’s dialogues with each other and in Eve’s sections of what-she-thinks versus what-she-says.
And, for once, the title of the book, Born In Death, is more than a play on words or a psychological insight. Quite literally, a baby lives to know its mother only because another innocent dies.
Cover Art From Goodreads