Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by J.D. Robb

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-15830-8
Publisher: Putnam

A Hollywood party at which Lt. Eve Dallas and Det. Delia Peabody get to spend quality time with the actresses playing them in a new movie is interrupted by what turns out to be only the latest in a long string of murders.

Now that potty-mouthed journalist Nadine Furst has sold her book about still another of Eve’s innumerable triumphs (Treachery in Death, 2011, etc.) to Joel Steinburger’s Big Bang Productions, the cameras are rolling on Marlo Durn, playing Eve; K.T. Harris, playing Peabody; and Julian Cross, playing Eve’s husband Roarke, the world’s sexiest millionaire. But the onscreen mayhem is topped by the news that K.T. has stepped out of a dinner party bringing the lead actresses together with the two detectives they’re playing, gone upstairs for a smoke and ended up dead in a rooftop swimming pool. K.T. is soon unmasked as a conniving blackmailer who’ll be missed mainly by her bewildered parents back home. With so many potential victims of her craft—director Mason Roundtree, his wife Connie Burkette, publicist Valerie Xaviar, Marlo’s lover, actor Matthew Zank—literally in the same room, how can Eve and Peabody possibly spot a killer who’s already moved on by eliminating a potential witness? Only by getting a hunch to dig deeper into one suspect’s background and find a trail of homicide leading back from the future to the early 2020s. Their discovery leads to a long, long wrap-up—leaning on possible accomplices, inducing one of them to wear a wire, trapping the killer into another attempted murder, parading the array of evidence after a high-profile arrest—all of it eminently routine.

Robb does all too little with the promising notion of doubling the cops with the actresses who play them, or indeed with any other elements of this futuristic, but surprisingly retro, closed-circle game of Hollywood squares.