When a delusional aspiring novelist seeks to prove herself a better writer than her idol, she turns the bestselling author’s work into real-life murder.
In this latest book in the In Death series starring a cast of characters headed by Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPSD in the not-very distant future, the antagonist believes her would-be mentor has stolen her manuscript, and begins a plot of revenge. Taking the penname of A.E. Strongbow, the murderer, who we see only in shadows for the majority of the book, begins to act out the main scenes in her rival’s series, which is a set of bestselling police procedurals with similarities to J. D. Robb, otherwise known as Nora Roberts, own work.
The misguided would-be writer plans to conclude her “series” of murders with the innocent author, Blaine Delano, and Dallas herself, as Dallas forces Strongbow to “write” her in by deliberately antagonizing her during a TV interview.
Unfortunately for our antagonist, Dallas and her team begin to figure out the intent of the criminal and alert her planned victims. Reading, or in the case of some, re-reading the book series that is her inspiration helps the police pinpoint her probable next targets and warn them. A near miss where Strongbow leaves evidence behind leads to a trail of clues that help pin down her identity, and then location.
Still, in the end the fate of the killer comes down to a victim that fights back, and the timely arrival of Dallas, her husband Roarke, and her partner Peabody. Once in interrogation the killer is only too happy to gloat about her success, and can’t comprehend her murder spree is done before she gets to write the final chapter.
Dark in Death, as always with this series, is highly entertaining. One does not need to have read other novels in the series to enjoy it, but prior exposure does help the reader understand the relationships between the vast cast of secondary characters and situations in the series. The story flows even as events become complicated, and the scenes between the principals, Dallas and Roarke, Dallas and Peabody, and Dallas and her police squad and friends serve as relief from the often gruesome deaths that figure prominently in each book.
I award this book 4 stars and recommend it to any readers who enjoy a good police procedural with a side of science fiction and romance.