I’m a couple years behind on this series, even though it’s one of my all-time favorites, but that’s mostly because I insist on re-reading before I get around to new ones, and who has time for all that? These books are number 46, 47 and 53, if you trust the In Death Wiki, and count all the short stories, which I certainly do, and I just did a re-read last year, and I didn’t have time for one this year. Plus, I prefer my books in paperback form, so I’m about a year, a year and half, behind current publication on this (which puts me about five books back, apparently, because 53 is the latest story; 54 comes out in February.)
Here’s the thing about being a reader of long-term series: You either love them in the beginning and start to curse them as they become repetitive and fizzle out (For me, this is the Stephanie Plum series, which I still read, but only because Ranger might show up and make it worth my while); You love them in the beginning and then are appalled by the twists they take and either immediately stop reading or hate-read because you can’t help yourself (Stephanie Laurens did this to me a lot when I was a teenager); or you love them so much that you ignore little slights, or when they’re stupid-predictable, because by now the characters may as well be your best friends, and they can do no wrong: Nobody better talk bad about Eve Dallas in my presence, basically.
Does it matter to me that Calculated was eerily reminiscent of another In Death? A little. But it matters more to me that Eve got to poke at Summerset, and that McNab wore fluorescent clothing, and that Peabody got to flirt innocently with Roarke. :Shrug: At this point, I would show up for Brushing Our Teeth In Death, a novel where all the characters get together and have a sleepover and drive each other crazy in the ways I know and love so well.
Thankless was the best book of the bunch, in my opinion. Both for the mostly new take on the killer – a guy who literally just does. not. care. and. will. kill. you. The. End. – and the abundance of minor/returning characters who showed up to make my day. Roarke’s Irish family hustling in for Thanksgiving; victims’ families from past crimes that have somehow been absorbed into Eve’s tribe (that she would 100% deny having in the first place), and Survivor In Death’s Nixie Swisher, for the win. (Survivor is my all time favorite In Death: it’s devastating and powerful and makes me cry every single time. Nixie Swisher is a kick-ass kid, and Eve and Peabody’s relationship shines. I like to pretend that it never happened, and at the same time, I like to pretend it’s the only canon book that matters.)
As for Wonderment, which is the newest short story in a collection called Down the Rabbit Hole, a bunch of stories that are Alice in Wonderland themed, it was weird. And different – I mean if you’re reading these books for normal, you’re picking up the wrong books, but this is even further outside their norm than usual. Psychics and hallucinogenics, and Roarke pretending he isn’t a cop, for far less than the usual amount of time. Fun, quick, and quirky.