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    Review of ORIGIN IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (see her website)

    G. P. Putnam's Sons, July 2005

    While investigating another case, police Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her partner, Detective Peabody, are summoned to the site of a murder. A Nobel-prize winning scientist and reconstructive surgeon has been killed by a medical scalpel through his heart. The crime has earmarks of a professional kill, but to Eve, it seems personal as well. Why not take him out on the street, where security was lighter? Why a scalpel? But the victim seems such a saint that Even can't think of any reason anyone would want to kill him. A second death only muddies the water. Eve can only conclude that appearances are deceiving, and that the doctor was doing something a lot less perfect than anyone knows.

    As Eve and her husband Roach investigate, they are also preparing for a 'family' Thanksgiving celebration. Since neither Roach nor Eve had families (or rather, Eve had a father who abused her and Roach lost his family), the time is one of stress. Feelings about family, though, come to play an important role in getting to the truth. At the same time, the facts that Eve finally begins to discover make the abuse she suffered as a child seem like small-scale stuff.

    Author Nora Roberts, writing as J. D. Robb, uses her futuristic police series to probe into ethical questions that already trouble modern science and medicine. What role should cloning have in the reproductive process? What physical traits should be selected for, and which eliminated? To what extent is it appropriate to cure a defect or disease after birth, but forbid the same cure before birth? I thought Roberts blinked when she had a chance to really address the fundamental issues, but she still deserves credit for bringing them to the readers' attention in a popular fiction format.

    Roberts' romance readers will enjoy seeing the relationship between Eve and Roach continue to evolve, as well as the banter between Eve and Peabody (now largely recovered from injuries she sustained in an earlier book in the series). In the second half of the book, Roberts turns up the action, with plenty of danger and a morally complex killer. Fans of this enjoyable series will definitely want to get their hands on ORIGIN IN DEATH.

    See more reviews of novels by Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/25/05

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