Lt. Eve Dallas (Echoes in Death, 2017, etc.) investigates the murder of a gossip columnist whose death answers a thousand prayers.
Eve’s already-fraught meeting with irritating forensic anthropologist Dr. Garnet DeWinter at the fashionable watering hole Du Vin turns abruptly worse when a woman staggers out of the ladies’ room and bleeds out under her eyes. The victim, self-styled social information reporter Larinda Mars, had dirt on just about everyone who mattered—including, as it awkwardly turns out, the owner of Du Vin, who just happens to be Roarke, Eve’s billionaire husband—and wasn’t shy about digging under every rock and paying off or blackmailing possible informants for more. So although several witnesses and the security cameras so ubiquitous in 2061 swiftly identify a likely suspect, it’s impossible to distinguish that well-muffled figure from dozens of other wannabe Mars-slayers. Following their noses, Eve and her partner, Detective Amelia Peabody, focus on three of Larinda’s marks: talk screen queen Annie Knight, baseball star Wylee Stamford, and teenage actress Missy Lee Durante. Larinda was indeed blackmailing them all over secrets worth killing to preserve, sparking the moral outrage Eve’s never shy about revealing on behalf of blackmail victims “mostly trying to protect loved ones as much, maybe more, than themselves.” But the nominal victim’s insatiably feral nature makes it hard to work up an equal level of outrage over her murder or to feel much of a sense of closure when Eve plucks the perp from a crowded field of suspects who would all have been perfectly within their rights in shutting down the blackmail factory by fair means or foul.
The 45th entry in this fleet, easy-reading series provides a dramatic opening scene, a second act guaranteed to raise your most self-righteous hackles, and a denouement even Robb must have recognized as an anticlimax.