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Publisher: Berkley Pub Group 
Release Date:  August 26, 2003
ISBN: 0425191583 
Format Reviewed: Softcover 
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Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery / Science Fiction 
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer:  Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes:  Reviewer, Kristin Johnson, is the author of CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.

Imitation in Death
In Death Series, No. 17
By J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) 

     The usual futuristic murder, mayhem, electronic intrigue, and psychological angst familiar to fans of Lieutenant Eve Dallas, the brainchild of Nora Roberts, a.k.a. J.D. Robb, take a back seat, again as usual, to Roberts' ever-evolving characters. Like the tough, courageous, makeup-scorning New York-loving culturally deprived but brilliantly wise Eve, the reader has difficulty selecting a favorite from Roberts' list of "suspects": the stalwart, always-hungry Officer Delia Peabody, Eve's sidekick, fretting over the detectives' exam; Peabody's main squeeze, the ultimate computer geek Detective Ian McNab, whose relationship with Peabody Eve has at last (reluctantly) accepted; Charles Monroe, the smooth-talking but heart-of-gold LC (that's high-class legal prostitute) dating Eve's doctor friend after a tense love triangle with Peabody and McNab; Mavis Freestone, Eve's pregnant but untamed friend; Dr. Charlotte Mira, the razor-sharp-within-velvet-gloves New York police (NYPSD) psychologist who horrifies Eve by inviting her to a family barbecue; Eve's mother and father, who would make Susan Smith's blood run cold, glimpsed in Eve's nightmares; and Roarke, Eve's wealthy, romantic, utterly sexy (his attempt at a private barbecue is adorably botched) husband who, like her, emerged from a rough childhood as a productive if not always law-abiding citizen, and learned in the last book, Portrait in Death, that his mother loved him.

     Eve doesn't have the same comfort: Through her nightmares she sees her mother abuse her for playing dress-up---a possible explanation for Eve's perennial aversion to fashion and lip dye, as well as having children of her own. It would be interesting, now that Mavis is pregnant, to see how Eve and Roarke deal with a pregnancy of their own while solving crimes.

     Motherhood and family, including the extended family Eve has put together (her relationships with Peabody, Roarke and Mira in particular become richer), form the heart of this thriller, from the twisted mother hatred of Eve's quarry who imitates psychopaths such as Jack the Ripper, to Eve's big-sister encouragement of Peabody becoming detective, which is more of a triumph for Eve than solving a case. Sharp police work and hot loving sex make this latest outing, in Roberts' vernacular, iced.