Visions in Death (Robb)

Visions in Death - J.D. Robb

This was a light and easy impulse read before I embark again on my more literary projects. I've read a couple of these "In Death" mysteries before; they're set in the 2050s in an entirely recognizable New York City. I had no trouble navigating the relatively minor tweaks that Robb introduces to make her world futuristically fresh while still operating on very familiar patterns. It's a police procedural about tracking a serial killer in a large urban area. Even the introduction of a professional psychic as a civilian assistant - and the various degrees of skepticism she encounters - would be entirely plausible in a present-day setting. It is the presence of this psychic, rebranded in Robb's future lingo as a "sensitive", that gives us the title of the novel. Our tough and sassy detective, Eve Dallas, conducts a fairly flawless case, sorting out the forensic evidence with aplomb, getting the profiling right and eventually tracking the serial killer to a country property where most of his (female, of course) victims are buried. Though the case doesn't echo the Robert Pickton horror in either perpetrator psychology or the low social status of Pickton's victims, nonetheless the timing of publication (2004) leads me to think that sensational case from a couple of years before was at least at the back of the author's mind as she detailed the grim discoveries of the bodies. To keep us all from sinking into despair, perhaps, Robb adds an interesting twist at the end that I will not disclose.

The protagonists - Eve Dallas, her detective sidekick Delia Peabody, and Peabody's main squeeze and computer nerd McNab - are very easy to like and root for. I would add Dallas' wealthy and extraordinarily helpful husband Roarke, but, as in the other books I read, I find him irritatingly just a little too perfect to be true,  and the obligatory sex scene with Dallas annoying - just Nora Roberts the romance writer intruding where she is not needed. However, it's a small flaw in an otherwise enjoyable and undemanding read.