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RANDOM IN DEATH
by J.D. Robb
St. Martin's Press, January 2024
368 pages
$30.00
ISBN: 1250289548


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

J. D. Robb writes a riveting police procedural with RANDOM IN DEATH featuring Detective Eve Dallas managing her 58th investigation.

Sixteen-year-old Jenna prepares a demo tape of her songwriting and singing to get to Jake Kincade at the concert she attends with friends. Jenna is stabbed with a needle full of poisonous toxins and stumbles out the door to the alley and into Jake himself, saying she is sick. Within minutes, she dies in Jake's arms. Jake's girlfriend, Nadine, notifies Dallas about the death in the alley behind Club Rock It.

Dallas arrives with Roark and immediately takes charge. One of the officers estimates they are controlling an audience of around 200. As it becomes clear that the teenager was murdered, but no one saw who jabbed her, the investigative process begins.

Dallas and Peabody notify Jenna's parents and find no suspects after going through her room and belongings. Dallas wonders if this is a completely random attack. The squad Dallas oversees begins the never-ending task of interviewing audience members, collecting videos from cell phones, and reviewing the footage of the concert and audience. The only clue is the threads on the window frame through which the suspect escaped that go to the Queen of Hair and Fiber for identification.

The very next day at the Battle of the Bands event, the killer strikes again, jabbing Arlie, seventeen years old, who also dies within minutes. The police team begin the overwhelming task of interviews and collecting video that may have captured something useful. Dallas also consults with Dr. Mira to develop a possible killer profile.

As with all Eve Dallas stories, Robb updates readers on what's going on with Mavis and Leonardo, especially since Peabody and McNab will soon be sharing their home.

The real break in the case comes when a third victim survives. The thickness of her jacket is enough to protect her until medical help stops the toxins. And the good news: she got a glimpse of who stabbed her.

Robb plots a complex mystery as Dallas and her team are pushed to find leads that identify a suspect, which is fascinating as the author takes readers through the investigative journey. RANDOM IN DEATH is an outstanding addition to Robb's Eve Dallas series and should not be missed.

Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, December 2023

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