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    Review of DIVIDED IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (see the Nora Roberts website)

    G. P. Putnam's Sons, January 2004

    The unfaithful husband and his lover are murdereed and the angry ex-wife is nearby. Somehow, though, Lieutenant Eve Dallas finds the whole thing a little to easy. Especially when her husband, Roarke, tells her that the woman is completely trustworthy and involved in one of his most important projects. Dallas decides to investigate further and finds subtle fingerprints of the Homeland Security Organization everywhere. Computer genius and billionaire Roarke finds out something else--Homeland Security stood by while Dallas was being raped by her father because they didn't want to compromise an investigation. Roarke may not be able to protect Dallas now, but he needs to go after those who messed with an innocent young girl.

    Although Roarke and Dallas work together on the case, Dallas doing the legwork while Roarke leads the investigation into a strangely destructive computer virus that has the earmarks of one rumored to be created by a terrorist organization, the knowledge of Homeland Security's failure to protect Dallas lays heavy on their relationship. Dallas is a cop--she can't take revenge for a long-ago mistake. And she can't let Roarke take justice into his own hands. But Roarke knows that there is no justice when government agencies can use top-secret classifications to cloak their mistakes in national interest jargon.

    Author Nora Roberts (see more reviews of romances by Roberts), writing as J. D. Robb (see more reviews of mysteries by Robb) writes a fast-moving and exciting story. The damaged Dallas makes an intriguing character with her strong interest in the law and a sometimes battling interest in true justice. Dallas's decision to solve the mystery regardless of overblown claims about national security is strong stuff in an era where governments regularly ignore constitutional rights. Secondary characters like Peabody, Dallas's assistant and newly promoted detective are also charming and add a comic touch.

    It's hard to go wrong with any book by Nora Roberts and DIVIDED IN DEATH is an enjoyable treat. I found the romantic conflict between Roarke and Dallas an occasional distraction from the mystery and Roarke is just a little too perfect to be sympathetic, but Robb/Roberts' writing is so strong you hardly notice.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/14/04

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