Creation in Death (In Death Series #25)

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The 25th In Death novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author

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Creation in Death (In Death Series #25)

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Overview

The 25th In Death novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
To police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, the corpse seemed like a ghoulish personalized greeting card. Not only was the young brunette victim an employee of Eve's billionaire hubby; products from his company were used in the staged crime scene. Dallas recognizes the slaying as the latest handiwork of "The Groom," an arrogant serial killer just returning from a nine-year break. What she doesn't realize immediately is that she herself is targeted as one of his next victims. Fast-paced thriller.
Publishers Weekly

At 27 books and counting, Nora Roberts is more prolific under her Robb pseudonym than most authors manage in a single career. Yet the latest in her not-so-near-future detective series featuring New York Police Det. Eve Dallas offers a satisfyingly novel mélange of suspense, sex, forensics and heroics. It's 2060, and the serial killer nicknamed "The Groom" is back in town after an absence of nine years, resuming his horrific run of kidnapping, torturing and killing young women. Dallas, who served as a detective in the frustrating first investigation, assumes lead role in this one. This time, not only do the killer's chosen victims have ties to Dallas's husband, Roarke, but Dallas herself may be the killer's ultimate target. Swiftly paced, the story cuts frequently from the investigation to the killer's "progress" with his victims. Dallas works to outplan, outfight and outsmart the killer; to keep her handsome, rich husband happy; and to be ready for the next round after a good night's sleep. Robb's latest is bound to please Dallas fans. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

In 2060, "The Groom" reappears in New York City after a nine-year hiatus. After torturing and killing brunette women between the ages of 28 and 32, he carved the hours and minutes they lasted under torture into their dead bodies. Young Eve Dallas and her partner and mentor Feeney failed to apprehend the Groom in 2051 and are now determined to bring him down. Eve recognizes a startling new element to the murderer's pattern-his current victims are all employees of Eve's billionaire husband, Roark. Hour by excruciating hour, Eve and her special task force follow every lead, and when she finally realizes that she fits the Groom's victim profile perfectly, she gives him the opportunity to kidnap her. Susan Ericksen has Eve's "take no prisoners" attitude down to perfection. While the torture scenes are a little too well done for some squeamish listeners, Ericksen also captures the urgency, frustration, and anger that the whole team feels while making endless phone calls and sifting through huge amounts of data. When Mavis and Trina show up for comic relief, Ericksen relaxes the pace and allows the listener to breathe a little. This is the 25th Eve Dallas mystery by Robb, also known as Nora Roberts. Recommended for all mystery collections.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425221020
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: In Death Series , #25
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 126,834
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times-bestselling author of more than 150 novels, including High Noon, Angels Fall, Blue Smoke, and Northern Lights. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 280 million copies of her books in print.

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

For him, death was a vocation. Killing was not merely an act, or a means to an end. It certainly was not an impulse of the moment or a path to gain and glory.

Death was, in and of itself, the all.

He considered himself a late bloomer, and often bemoaned the years before he’d found his raison d’être. All that time lost, all those opportunities missed. But still, he had bloomed, and was forever grateful that he had finally looked inside himself and seen what he was. What he was meant for.

He was a maestro in the art of death. The keeper of time. The bringer of destiny.

It had taken time, of course, and experimentation. His mentor’s time had run out long before he himself had become the master. And even in his prime, his teacher had not envisioned the full scope, the full power. He was proud that he had learned, had not only honed his skills but had expanded them while perfecting his techniques.

He’d learned, and learned quickly, that he preferred women as his partners in the duet. In the grand opera he wrote, and rewrote, they outperformed the men.

His requirements were few, but very specific.

He didn’t rape them. He’d experimented there, as well, but had found rape distasteful and demeaning to both parties.

There was nothing elegant about rape.

As with any vocation, any art that required great skill and concentration, he’d learned he required holidays—what he thought of as his dormant periods.

During them he would entertain himself as anyone might on a holiday. He would travel, explore, eat fine meals. He might ski or scuba dive, or simply sit under an umbrella on a lovely beach and while away the time reading and drinking mai tais.

He would plan, he would prepare, he would make arrangements.

By the time he went back to work, he was refreshed and eager.

As he was now, he thought as he readied his tools. More, so much more ... with his latest dormant period had come the understanding of his own destiny. So he’d gone back to his roots. And there, where he had first seriously plied his trade, he would re-form and remake connections before the curtain came down.

It added so many interesting layers, he mused, as he tested the edge on an antique switchblade with a horn handle he’d purchased while touring Italy. He turned the steel blade to the light, admired it. Circa nineteen fifty-three, he thought.

It was a classic for a reason.

He enjoyed using tools from long ago, though he also employed more modern pieces. The laser, for instance—so very excellent for applying the element of heat.

There must be a variety—sharp, dull, cold, heat—a series of elements in various forms, in various cycles. It took a great deal of skill, and patience and concentration to spin those cycles out to the absolute zenith of his partner’s aptitude.

Then, and only then, would he complete the project and know he’d done his best work.

This one had been an excellent choice. He could congratulate himself on that. For three days and four nights, she’d survived—and there was life in her yet. It was so satisfying.

He’d started out slowly, naturally. It was vital, absolutely vital, to build and build and build to that ultimate crescendo.

He knew, as a master of his craft knew such things, that they were approaching that peak.

“Music on,” he ordered, then stood, eyes closed as he absorbed the opening strains of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

He understood the central character’s choice of death for love. Hadn’t it been that choice, so many years before, that had sent him on this path?

He slipped the protective cover over his tailored white suit.

He turned. He looked at her.

Such a lovely thing, he thought now. He remembered, as he always did, her precursor. Her mother, he supposed.

The Eve of all the others.

All that pretty white skin covered with burns and bruises, with narrow slices and meticulous little punctures. They showed his restraint, his patience, his thoroughness.

Her face was untouched—as yet. He always saved the face for last. Her eyes were fixed on his—wide, but yes, a bit dull. She had experienced nearly all she was capable of experiencing. Well, the timing worked well. Very well, because he’d anticipated, he’d prepared.

He’d already secured the next.

He glanced, almost absently, at the second woman across the room, peacefully sleeping under the drug he’d administered. Perhaps tomorrow, he thought, they could begin.

But for now...

He approached his partner.

He never gagged his partners, believing they should be free to scream, to beg, to weep, even to curse him. To express all emotion.

“Please,” she said. Only, “Please.”

“Good morning! I hope you rested well. We have a lot of work to do today.” He smiled as he laid the edge of the knife between her first and second ribs. “So let’s get started, shall we?”

Her screams were like music.

Chapter 1

Every once in a while, Eve thought, life was really worth living. Here she was, stretched out in a double-wide sleep chair watching a vid. There was plenty of action in the vid—she liked watching stuff blow up—and the “plotline” meant she didn’t have to actually think.

She could just watch.

She had popcorn, drowned in butter and salt, the fat cat stretched across her feet keeping them nice and warm. She had the next day off, which meant she could sleep until she woke up, then veg until she grew mold.

Best of all, she had Roarke cozied up in the chair beside her. And since her husband had complained after one handful that the popcorn was disgusting, she had the whole bowl to herself.

Really, it didn’t get any better.

Then again, maybe it did—would—as she planned to nail her husband like an airjack when the vid was over. Her version of a double feature.

“Iced,” she said after a midair collision of a tourist tram and an ad blimp.

“Seriously iced.”

“I thought this storyline would appeal to you.”

“There is no storyline.” She took another handful of popcorn. “That’s what appeals to me. It’s just some dialogue stitching explosions together.”

“There was brief full-frontal nudity.”

“Yeah, but that was for you, and those of your ilk.” She flicked a glance up at him, as on screen pedestrians ran screaming from falling wreckage.

He was so damn gorgeous—in anyone’s ilk. A face sculpted by talented gods on a really good day. Strong bones laying the excellent foundation under that Irish white skin, the mouth that made her think of poets, until he used it on her so she couldn’t think at all. Those wild Celt’s eyes that saw just who she was.

Then you topped it off with all that black silky hair, added that long, lean body, the sexy Irish accent, tossed in brains, wit, temper, and street smarts and you had yourself a hell of a package.

And he was all hers.

She intended to make really good use of what was hers for the next thirty-six hours or so.

On screen a street battle erupted among the rubble with hurled miniboomers and whooshing blasters. The hero—distinguished by the fact he’d kicked the most ass thus far—burst through the mêlée on the back of a jet-bike.

Obviously caught up, Roarke dug into the popcorn. Then immediately pulled his hand out again and scowled at his own fingers. “Why don’t you just dump salt into melted butter and eat that?”

“The corn makes a nice vehicle for it. Aw, what’s the matter? You get your pretty hands messy?”

He wiped his fingers down her face, smiled. “Clean now.”

“Hey!” She laughed, set the bowl aside. It would be safe, she knew, as even Galahad, the cat, wouldn’t eat it her way. She poked a finger hard into Roarke’s ribs, rolled until she was on top of him.

Maybe they’d just have a sneak preview of tonight’s second feature.

“Going to pay for that one, pal.”

“How much?”

“It’s going to be the installment plan. I figure we’ll start with ...” She lowered her mouth to his, nipped that excellent bottom lip. She felt his hand move over her. Lifting her head, she narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you feeling my ass or wiping the rest of the butter and salt off your fingers?”

“Two birds, one ass. About that first payment.”

“The interest is going to be7mdash;ha-ha—stiff.” She went for the mouth again, started to sink in.

And her communicator signaled.

“Goddamn it.” She pulled up. “This is crap. I’m not on call.”

“Why is it in your pocket?”

“Habit. Stupid. Damn it,” she spurted as she dragged the communicator out, checked the display. “It’s Whitney.” Sighing, she shoved a hand through her hair. “I have to take it.”

“Pause vid,” Roarke ordered, then rubbed the butter off her cheek. “Lights on, seventy percent.”

“Thanks.” Eve clicked on. “Dallas.”

“Lieutenant, report to East River Park, at Second Street and Avenue D, as primary.”

“Commander—” “I understand you were neither on duty nor on call,” he interrupted. “Now you are.”

The word why went through her head, but she was too well-trained to verbalize it. “Yes, sir. I’ll contact Detective Peabody en route.”

“I’ll see you at Central.”

He clicked off.

“Unusual,” Roarke commented. He’d already turned off the vid. “For the commander to contact you personally, and to yank you in this way.”

“Something hot,” Eve replied and shoved the communicator back in her pocket.

“I’ve got nothing hot open. Not that it would have him tagging me directly when I’m not on the roll. Sorry.” She glanced over. “Screws vid night.”

“It’ll keep. But as my evening is now open, I believe I’ll go with you. I know how to keep out of the way,” he reminded her before she could object.

He did, she admitted. And since she knew he’d changed his own schedule, possibly postponing acquiring a small country or planetoid, it seemed only fair.

“Then let’s get moving.”

He knew how to stay out of the way when it suited him. He also knew how to observe. What Roarke saw when they arrived at the park were a number of black-and-whites, a small army of uniforms and crime scene techs.

The media people who had a nose for this sort of thing were there, firmly blocked by part of that army. The barricades had been erected, and like the media and the civilian gawkers, he would have to make his observations from behind them.

“If you get bored,” Eve told him, “just take off. I’ll make my own way back.”

“I’m not easily bored.”

He watched her now, observed her now. His cop. The wind kicked at her long black coat, one she’d need as this first day of March was proving as brutal as the rest of 2060 had been. She hooked her badge on her belt, though he wondered how anyone could mistake her for anything other than a cop, and one with authority.

Tall and rangy, she moved to the barricades in strong strides. Her hair, short and brown, fluttered a little in that same wind—a wind that carried the scent of the river.

He watched her face, the way those whiskey-colored eyes tracked, the way her mouth—that had been so soft and warm on his—firmed. The lights played over her face, shifting those angles and planes.

She looked back at him, very briefly. Then she moved on, moved through the barricades to do what, he supposed, she’d been born to do.

She strode through the uniforms and techs. Some recognized her; some simply recognized what Roarke had. Authority. When she was approached by one of the uniforms, she stopped, brushed her coat back to tap her badge.

“Sir. I was ordered to look out for you, to escort you. My partner and I were first on scene.”

“Okay.” She gave him a quick once-over. On the young side, cut as clean as a military band. His cheeks were pink from the cold. His voice said native New Yorker, heading toward Brooklyn. “What have we got?”

“Sir. I was ordered to let you see for yourself.”

“That so?” She scanned the badge on his thick uniform coat. “All right, Newkirk, let’s go see for myself.”

She gauged the ground covered, studied the line of trees and shrubs. It appeared the scene was well secured, locked tight. Not only from the land side, she noted as she glimpsed the river. The water cops were out, barricading the riverbank.

She felt a cold line of anticipation up her spine. Whatever this was, it was major.

The lights the techs had set up washed white over the shadows. Through them, she saw Morris coming toward her. Major, she thought again, for the chief medical examiner to be called on scene. And she saw it in his face, the tightness of concern.

“Dallas. They said you were on scene.”

“They didn’t say you were.”

“I was nearby, out with friends. A little blues club over on Bleecker.”

Which explained the boots, she supposed. The black and silver pattern she assumed had once belonged to some reptile wasn’t the sort of thing a man would normally sport on a crime scene. Not even the stylish Morris.

His long black coat blew back to reveal a cherry-red lining. Under it, he wore black pants, black turtleneck—extreme casual wear for him. His long, dark hair was slicked back into a tail, bound top and tip with silver bands.

“The commander called you in,” she said.

“He did. I haven’t touched the body yet—visual only. I was waiting for you.”

She didn’t ask why. She understood she was meant to form her own conclusions without any outside data. “With us, Newkirk,” she ordered, and walked toward the lights.

It might have been a sheet of ice or snow. From a distance, it might appear to be. And from a distance, the body arranged on it might appear to be artful—a model for some edgy shoot.

But she knew what it was, even from a distance, and the line of cold up her spine took on teeth.

Her eyes met Morris’s. But they said nothing.

It wasn’t ice, or snow. She wasn’t a model or a piece of art.

Eve took a can of Seal-It from her kit, set the kit down.

“You’re still wearing your gloves,” Morris told her. “That stuff’s hell on gloves.”

“Right.” With her gaze steady on the body, she pulled the gloves off, stuffed them in her pocket. Sealed up. She hooked her recorder to her coat. “Record on.” The techs would be running one, as would Morris. She’d have her own.

“Victim is female, Caucasian. Did you ID her?” she asked Morris.

“No.”

“As yet unidentified. Mid- to late twenties, brown and blue. Small tat of a blue and yellow butterfly on left hip. The body is naked, posed on a white cloth, arms spread, palms up. There’s a silver ring on the third finger of her left hand. Various visible wounds indicating torture. Lacerations, bruising, punctures, burns. Crosshatch of slash wounds on both wrists, probable cause of death.” She looked at Morris.

“Yes. Probable.”

“There’s carving in the torso, reading eighty-five hours, twelve minutes, thirty-eight seconds.”

Eve let out a long, long breath. “He’s back.”

“Yes,” Morris agreed. “Yes, he is.”

“Let’s get an ID, TOD.” She glanced around. “Could have brought her in through the park, or by water. Ground’s rock hard, and it’s a public park. We may get some footprints, but they won’t do us much good.”

She reached in her kit again, paused when Peabody hustled up. “Sorry it took me so long. Had to come crosstown and there was a jam on the subway. Hey, Morris!” Peabody, a red cap pulled low over her dark hair, rubbed her nose, looked at the body. “Oh, man. Someone put her through it.”

In her sturdy winter boots, Peabody sidestepped for a better view. “The message. There’s something about that. Dim bell.” She tapped at her temple. “Something.”

“Get her ID,” Eve ordered, then turned to Newkirk. “What do you know?”

He’d been standing at attention, but went even stiffer, even straighter. “My partner and I were on patrol, and observed what appeared to be a robbery in progress. We pursued a male individual into the park. The suspect headed in an easterly direction. We were unable to apprehend, the suspect had a considerable lead. My partner and I split up, intending to cut off the suspect. At which time, I discovered the victim. I called for my partner, then notified Commander Whitney.”

“Notifying the commander isn’t procedure, Officer Newkirk.”

“No, sir. I felt, in these circumstances, that the notification was not only warranted but necessary.”

“Why?”

“Sir, I recognized the signature. Lieutenant, my father’s on the job. Nine years ago he was part of a task force formed to investigate a series of torture murders.”

Newkirk’s gaze shifted to the body, back to Eve’s. “With this signature.”

“Your father’s Gil Newkirk?”

“Yes, sir, Lieutenant.” His shoulders relaxed a fraction at her question. “I followed the case back then, as much as I could. Over the years since, particularly since I’ve been on the job, my father and I have discussed it. The way you do. So I recognized the signature. Sir, I felt, in this case, breaking standard and notifying the commander directly was correct.”

“You’d be right. Good call, Officer. Stand by.”

She turned to Peabody.

“Vic is ID’d as Sarifina York, age twenty-eight. Address is on West Twenty-first. Single. Employed at Starlight. That’s a retro club in Chelsea.”

Eve crouched down. “She wasn’t killed here, and she wasn’t wrapped in this cloth when she was brought here. He likes the stage clean. TOD, Morris.”

“Eleven this morning.”

“Eighty-five hours. So he took her sometime Monday, or earlier if he didn’t start the clock. Historically, he starts on the first very shortly after he makes the snatch.”

“Starting the clock when he begins to work on them,” Morris confirmed.

“Oh, shit. Oh, crap, I remember this.” Peabody sat back on her heels. Her cheeks were reddened by the wind, and her eyes had widened with memory. “The media tagged him The Groom.”

“Because of the ring,” Eve told her. “We let the ring leak.”

“It was, like, ten years ago.”

“Nine,” Eve corrected. “Nine years, two weeks, and ... three days since we found the first body.”

“Copycat,” Peabody suggested.

“No, this is him. The message, the time—we didn’t let that leak to the media. We closed that data up tight. But we never closed the case. We never closed him. Four women in fifteen days. All brunettes, the youngest twenty-eight, the oldest thirty-three. All tortured, between a period of twenty-three and fifty-two hours.”

Eve looked at the carving again. “He’s gotten better at his work.”

Morris nodded as he made his study. “It appears the more superficial wounds were inflicted first, as before. I’ll confirm when I get her home.”

“Ligature marks, ankles, wrists—just above the slashes.” Eve lifted one of the hands. “She didn’t just lie there and take it, not from the looks of this. He used drugs on the others.”

“Yes, I’ll check.”

Eve remembered it all, every detail of it, and all the frustration and fury that rode with it. “He’ll have washed her, washed her clean—hair and body—with high-end products. Wrapped her up, probably in plastic, for transport. We never got so much as a speck of lint off any of the others. Bag the ring, Peabody. You take her, Morris.”

She straightened. “Officer Newkirk, I’m going to need a full and detailed written report, asap.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Who’s your LT?”

“Grohman, sir. I’m out of the one-seven.”

“Your father still there?”

“He is, yes, sir.”

“Okay, Newkirk, get me that report. Peabody, check Missing Persons, see if the vic was reported. I need to contact the commander.”

By the time she exited the park, the wind had died down. Small mercy. The crowd of gawkers had thinned out, but the media hounds were more dogged. The only way to control the situation, she knew, was to meet it head on.

“I won’t answer questions.” She had to shout to be heard over the questions already being hurled at her. “I will make a brief statement. And if you keep shouting at me, you won’t get that either. Earlier this evening”—she continued through the shouts and the noise level dropped—“officers of the NYPSD discovered the body of a woman in East River Park.”

“Has she been identified?”

“How was she killed?”

Eve simply stared holes into the reporters who attempted to break rank. “Did you guys just drop into the city out of a puffy cloud, or are you just running your mouths to hear your own voice? As anyone with half a brain knows, the woman’s identity will not be given out until after notification of next of kin. Cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner. And anyone stupid enough to ask me if we have any leads is going to be blocked from receiving any ensuing data on this matter. Clear? Now stop wasting my time.”

She stalked off, and was halfway to her own vehicle when she spotted Roarke leaning against the hood. She’d completely forgotten about him.

“Why aren’t you home?”

“What? And miss the entertainment? Hello, Peabody.”

“Hey.” She managed to smile even though her cheeks felt like a couple of slabs of ice. “You’ve been here the whole time?”

“Nearly. I did wander off.” He opened the car door, took out a couple of insulated takeout cups. “To get you presents.”

“It’s coffee,” Peabody said, reverently. “It’s hot coffee.”

“Should thaw you out a bit. Bad?” he said to Eve.

“Very. Peabody, track down contact info on the vic’s next of kin.”

“York, Sarifina. On it.”

“I’ll get myself home,” Roarke began, then stopped. “What was that name?”

“York,” Eve repeated, “Sarifina.” Something sank in her belly. “You’re going to tell me you knew her.”

“Late twenties, attractive brunette?” He leaned back against the car again when Eve nodded. “I hired her a few months ago to manage a club in Chelsea. I can’t say I knew her other than I found her bright, energetic, capable. How did she die?”

Before she could answer, Peabody stepped back up. “Mother in Reno—that’s Nevada—father in Hawaii. Bet it’s warm there. She has a sister in the city. Murray Hill. And the Missing Person’s data came through. The sister reported her missing yesterday.”

“Let’s take the vic’s apartment first, then the club, then the next of kin.”

Roarke laid a hand on Eve’s arm. “You haven’t told me how she died.”

“Badly. This isn’t the place for the details. I can arrange for transpo for you or—”

“I’m going with you. She was one of mine,” he said before she could object. “I’m going with you.”

She didn’t argue. Not only would it waste time and energy, she understood. And since she had him, she’d use him.

“If an employee—especially one in a managerial position—didn’t show for work a few days running, would you be notified?”

“Not necessarily.” He did what he could to make himself comfortable in the back of the police issue. “And I certainly wouldn’t know her schedule off the top of my head, but I will find out about that. If she missed work, it’s likely someone covered for her, and—or—that her absence was reported to a supervisor in that particular arm of the Entertainment Division.”

“I need a name on that.”

“You’ll have it.”

“Reported missing yesterday. Whoever was assigned to that case would have, or damn well should have, interviewed coworkers at the club, neighbors, friends. We need to connect to that, Peabody.”

“I’ll run it down.”

“Tell me,” Roarke repeated, “how she died.”

“Morris will determine cause of death.”

“Eve.”

She flipped a glance in the rearview mirror, met his eyes. “Okay, I can tell you how it went down or close to it. She was stalked. The killer would take all the time he needed to observe and note her habits, her routines, her mode of traveling, her vulnerabilities—i.e., when she would most likely be alone and accessible. When he was ready, he’d make the grab. Most likely off the street. He’d have his own vehicle for this purpose. He’d drug her and take her to his...”

They’d called it his workshop, Eve remembered.

“...to the location he’d prepared, most likely a private home. Once there he would either keep her drugged until he was ready, or—if she was the first—he’d begin.”

“The first?”

“That’s right. And when he was ready, he’d start the clock. He’d remove her clothes; he would bind her. His preferred method of binding is rope—a good hemp. It chafes during struggle. He would use four methods of torture—physically, we can’t speak to psychologically—which are heat, cold, sharp implements, and dull implements. He would employ these methods at increasing severity. He’d continue until, you could speculate, the victim no longer provides him with enough stimulation or pleasure or interest. Then he ends it by slitting their wrists and letting them bleed out. Postmortem, he carves into their torsos, the time—in hours, minutes, and seconds—they survived.”

There was a long moment of absolute silence. “How long?” Roarke asked.

“She was strong. He washes them afterward. Scrubs them down using a high-end soap and shampoo. We think he wraps them in plastic, then transports them to a location he’d have already scouted out and selected. He lays them out there, on a clean white cloth. He puts a silver band on their ring finger, left hand.”

“Aye.” Roarke murmured it as he stared out the window. “I remember some of this. I’ve heard some of this.”

“Between February eleventh and February twenty-sixth, 2051, he abducted, tortured, and killed four women in this manner. Then he stopped. Just stopped. Into the wind, into the fucking ether. I’d hoped into Hell.”

Roarke understood now why she’d been called in, off the roll, by the commander. “You worked these murders.”

“With Feeney. He was primary. I was a detective, just made second grade, and we worked it. We had a task force by the second murder. And we never got him.”

Four women, Eve thought, who had never gotten justice.

“He’s surfaced again, here and there,” she continued. “Two weeks, two and a half—four or five women. Then he goes under. A year, a year and a half. Now he’s come back to New York, where we think he started. Back to where he started, and this time, we’ll finish it.”

In his well-appointed living room, with the split of champagne he tra-ditionally opened to celebrate the end of a successful project, the man the media had long ago dubbed The Groom settled down in front of his entertainment screen.

It was too early, he knew, most likely too early for any reports. It would be morning before his latest creation was discovered. But he couldn’t resist checking.

A few moments, just to see, he told himself, then he’d enjoy his champagne with some music. Puccini, perhaps, in honor of ... he had to pause and think before he remembered her name. Sarifina, yes. Such a lovely name. Puccini for Sarifina. He really believed she’d responded to Puccini best.

He surfed the channels, and was rewarded almost immediately. Delighted, he sat up, crossed his ankles, and prepared to listen to his latest reviews.

Identification is not being released in order for the woman’s next of kin to be notified. While there is no confirmation at this time that the woman was murdered, the participation of Lieutenant Eve Dallas on the scene indicates foul play is being considered.

He applauded, lightly, when Eve’s face came on screen. “There you are,” he said. “Hello, again! So nice, so very nice to see old friends. And this time, this time we’re going to get to know each other so very much better.”

He lifted his glass, held it out in a toast. “I know you’re going to be my very finest work.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 132 )
Rating Distribution

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(90)

4 Star

(24)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 133 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant storytelling

    In March 2060, NYPSD Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas watches an action movie with her husband Roarke when an official call comes in from Commander Whitney. He tells her to go to a crime scene without providing her any information as to why he ordered her to do this on her day off. When she arrives at the location and examines the corpse, she knows why her superior provided her with nothing.---------------- Eve realizes that Whitney wanted her to verify independently his theory that ¿the Groom¿ a serial killer who putotures his victims to death and then carves into their bodies how long they lasted under torture. Dallas believes this is the same culprit who she failed to catch nine years ago. He killed four women back then and many others in other states and countries, but apparently he is back in NYC. Eve vows to cage this animal.------------- Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb is at the top of her game in CREATION IN DEATH, the latest exciting entry in her futuristic police procedural series. Even though the tale occurs only five plus decades from now, the audience easily accepts the future ambience as tidbits are blended into the fine story line. This is a terrific cat and mouse thriller with the determined Eve assuming she is the hungry cat on the prowl while her opponent is a master tiger tamer.------------ Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    THE "IN DEATH" SERIES IS A MUST READ

    ONCE YOU READ YOUR FIRST JD ROBB BOOK YOU'RE HOOKED. THE MAIN CHARACTERS, LT. EVE DALLAS AND ROURKE (HER HUBBY) ARE FABULOUS.THIS IS A SCI-FI BOOK SERIES AND I'M NOT A SCI-FI BUFF, BUT I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THESE BOOKS. THE PLOTS ARE FAST PACED, FUNNY, DRAMATIC, AND BEST OF ALL SEXY! ROBB WRITES SO WELL THAT YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE RIGHT THERE WITH THE CHARACTERS, SEEING WHAT THEY'RE SEEING AND LIVING WHAT THEY'RE LIVING.

    GIVE IT A TRY. YOU WON'T BE SORRY YOU DID.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    CREATION IN DEATH is another winner in the Eve Dallas/Roarke series, although it's not one of my personal favorites. This time around, a killer who began his murder spree in New York nine years ago has returned -- same MO, same type of victims, and the same cops, Feeney and Eve, out to catch him.<BR/><BR/>When the team realizes that the first victim has a connection to Roarke and his buisness dealings, he steps up to help with the investigation. And as more women go missing, it's up to Eve to find the killer, before he grabs his final victim -- Eve herself.<BR/><BR/>Overall, another good read in the series, but I didn't find it as emotional as some of the past books. There are some really funny parts in the book, though, especially dealing with Mavis and her baby, a scene between Roarke and McNab, and, as always, the somber yet somehow lovable Somerset.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2008

    Puzzled

    It might be just me, but something was off kilter. As I was reading it, I kept wondering if someone else wrote this book. The rhythm was off, certain things were just plain missing 'like details of what people were wearing, eating, etc.' I just couldn't get as immersed in it like I did while reading the other books in this series. Just started reading the next book, 'Strangers In Death' and it feels 'right'. Did anyone else get the vibes that something isn't quite right with 'Creation In Death'? Love the rest of them, but this one has got me puzzled.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lover J. D. Robb

    As usual this is a great story with great characters. A must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    Boring

    I don't know if I'm just tired of the same formula over and over again, but I could barely make it through this book. It was so boring. I just skimmed to finish it. I think that she needs to add some new elements to the books to differentiate between the last ten!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    I was disappointed!

    I am a big J. D. Robb fan. I¿ve either read and/or listened to every book written about Lieutenant Eve Dallas. I thoroughly enjoy the personality of Dallas. She¿s strong, persistent and determined to be and do her best in a male dominated environment. What always fascinates and impresses me most are the creative plots and clever interplay of dialogue among the central characters. Both were missing in Creation In Death. I missed the emotional connection and interaction among the main characters. The dialogue was labored and the relationships were almost nonexistent. Where were the ¿heart-to-heart¿ talks between Dallas and Mira or the emotional and soul-searching conversations between Dallas and Roarke? What about the clever banter between Peabody and Dallas ¿ definitely few and far between. I felt cheated and very disappointed. And the violence - this was by far the most violent J.D. Robb to date. Why were there so many details of torture and pain? How did those gory details add to the value of this story? I felt Creation In Death lacked the author¿s passion for a well-written story and love for her characters. Is it becoming a case of too many books written in too short a period of time? I purchased the CD version of this book. The best part of this entire experience was listening to Susan Erickson. She is a marvelous actress and storyteller. She absolutely made Creation In Death come alive for me. It¿s amazing how well she gives each character their distinct voice and unique personality. I¿d rather listen to Susan than read the book. I am a great J.D. Robb fan and am eagerly awaiting her next book. I sincerely hope it lives up to her past standards and my high expectations.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    SORRY, I DIDN'T LIKE IT

    This was my first J.D. Robb book. The more I read, the more I hated the main character, Eve. Additionally, I don't think there was enough conflict or action to keep my attention. I would read another of her books, but with a different main character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Always a good read

    The JD Robb books are always a good read. I'm never sure who "Did It" till the end and the characters are right on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    HAD ME GOING, AGAIN, FROM THE START!!!

    A fantastic regression with Eve's case of nine years yearlier. The groom's return is the best yet. Great read packed with suspense and heart stopping forensics. Nora Roberts Remains one of my favorites in romance, mystery, and suspense. Warning! there is gore. Well worth the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2014

    Creation in Death is the twenty-fifth book in the In Death serie

    Creation in Death is the twenty-fifth book in the In Death series written by Nora Roberts (writing as J.D. Robb). I've been slowly reading all the books in this series (and some of the novellas in between numbers) for over a year now.

    The characters are real and engaging. They have grown and changed through the whole series. I enjoy how Roarke and Eve support and care about each other, even though they tend to fight a lot. Most of the characters have some snarkiness to them, and the sarcastic jibs help lighten the story which is about torture and murder.

    The book is written well, the action is fast paced. It's hard to put this book down once you start reading it! Even though this book is later in the series, you can read it as a stand alone if you wish. But to get the full background on the characters and their stories, start from the first one, Naked in Death.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 8, 2014

    Another great case and I liked seeing how Eve handled both the

    Another great case and I liked seeing how Eve handled both the case and Roarke being involved with the victims. I liked seeing this different side of Roarke, because we can see he always help with the investigation, but this time he was more worried than anything. Eve made a huge decision in the end and we could see the way things would be different if she chose to let it all go.

    To me this book was more about the investigation and we lost a few of those hilarious scenes. Mavis made an appearance, but things were too tense and it didn’t really mattered. I love seeing Eve more human with friends and having problems dealing with normal situations, but I understand things should go different for this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Good one

    Couldn't put it down!!

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What happens when you can't save everyone? When you couldn't bri

    What happens when you can't save everyone? When you couldn't bring justice to every single
    soul you meet? What happens when the something so evil comes back to haunt you?

    To us mere mortals, we would be screaming and trying to leave town!

    To Dallas...catch the SOB and send him to jail!

    When a young brunette is found in the East River park, artfully positioned and
    marked by signs of prolonged and painful torture, Eve is catapulted back to a case
    nine years earlier. The city was on edge from a killing spree that took the lives of four
    women in fifteen days, courtesy of a man the media tagged &quot;The Groom&quot;-because he
    put silver rings on the fingers of his victims.

    Looks like &quot;The Groom&quot; is back in business and he has his eye on the finishing touch: Eve.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    Awesome

    This is my all-time favorite series and this installment did not disappoint!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    GREAT !

    really good book. Great series !

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    This one was great!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    JD Robb Lt. Eve Dallas Series

    This is a wonderful an addictive series. I'm not a Sci-fi person but the way it is written I can not get enough of this story line. The main characters Eve (cop) & Roake(hubby & billonarie) can't go wrong . Onceyou read read the 1st book you will be hook. Great reading promise.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2008

    Couldn't Put It Down

    It was so good. It started me on a process I haven't been able to finish just yet. I'm truly addicted. I've limited myself to buying only 2 of the series a week, because once I start I can't quit reading, and I don't want to have to wait till November to have another one to read. It's a truly great series, and I'm hoping it lasts a LONG time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    JD Robb never disappoints!

    And excellent read!!! Unlike many of my favourite authors (Patterson - as another review mentioned) J.D. Robb stays on top of her game! This book was one of the best! I never hesitate to buy her books because I know it will be a good read. Time and money well spent.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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