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Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb

Delusion in Death (In Death, #35)


ORDER A COPY: Delusion in Death

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: September 11, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages

Rating: 4 1/2 stars


It was just another after-work happy-hour bar downtown, where business professionals unwound with a few drinks . . .until something went terribly wrong. And after twelve minutes of chaos and violence, eighty people lay dead.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is trying to sort out the inexplicable events. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things—monsters and swarms of bees. They describe sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear and rage and paranoia. When forensics gives its report, the mass delusions make more sense: It appears the
bar patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone to temporary insanity—if not kill them outright.

But that doesn’t explain who would unleash such horror—or why. And if Eve can’t figure it out fast, it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. Because it’s airborne.


In Delusion in Death, we are immersed in everyone’s secret fear, an unprovoked terrorist attack against innocent people which could hit anytime, anywhere, and which could turn your best friend into your killer.

As the series brings us to the Fall of 2060, hard working New Yorkers are stopping on their way home for a little Happy Hour, a quick meeting with friends or a drink after a long day before heading home.  But what no one realizes when they walk in, is that they won’t be going home tonight…most not ever again.  Someone has released a toxic brew of chemicals and hallucinogenic drugs into the air which has caused these unsuspecting citizens of New York to lose their minds and go on a killing spree.  

Although the effects of the drugs are short term, when released into a packed room of people, such as a bar full of patrons, the mix of drugs causes delusions and feelings fear, anger, and outright rage, and anything from a fork to a piece of furniture becomes a weapon of death.  By the time the effects of the drugs wear off, the carnage caused by friends, lovers, co-workers or strangers is staggering. The few survivors describe a sudden headache and then an overwhelming fear and a need to destroy the danger that is attacking them.  

Just like those responsible wanted, the people of New York are terrified.  Nowhere is safe.  The violence begins with no warning, and can hit anytime of the day, at a bar, a crowded café, or a favorite restaurant.   While the citizens of New York cower in their homes, Dallas and her task force needs to work fast to locate and shut down those responsible before they strike again or before Homeland Security comes in and takes matters into their own hands.  

This is J.D. Robb’s (a/k/a Nora Roberts) 35th In Death novel.  You would think by now we would have had enough of Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, McNab, Feeney and the rest of the crew, but even after 35 books and 9 novellas, she can still bring new, fresh ideas and a terrifying new story with a frightening new twist.  

I always enjoy the In Death stories, while some of the novels are more Dallas-centric (New York to Dallas), others are more focused on moving forward the relationships between Dallas and her husband, Roarke (Innocent in Death), or her partner, Peabody (Vision in Death), and still others focus the interest on the science fiction aspect of the novels (Fantasy in Death).  At 400 pages, Delusion in Death has a great deal of investigation going on (so much that a good deal takes place “off page” with just a synopsis of the new findings during briefings.  Although Dallas is still recovering both physically and emotionally from her trip to Dallas and there are moments with Roarke, Mira and Peabody, this book focuses mostly on the investigation with Dallas’s relationships staying status quo.  I missed that personal aspect of the story this time as much as I missed, Feeney, Peabody and the crew in New York to Dallas.

To me there is no question that as long as the cases and life of Eve Dallas and crew continue to intrigue and excite, I will continue to read and enjoy the stories of NYPSD’s top cop.

Received an ARC from Penguin books.  Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“You don’t think it’s anything like that. A jealous boyfriend, an abusive husband, an angry sister or daughter.” 

“Probability’s low, but everyone has to be checked out.  The whole thing could have been a cover for a single target.”

Who would do that? She wondered.  Kill dozens for the one?

Then shaking her head she answered her own question.  “People are fucked up, Roarke.  Your spouse leaves you, or has you tossed in jail for smacking her around?  Go big.  Take her out, and take her friends or her new lover out too.  Take a shitload of people out, and more, you’ve got a way to make em do it to themselves.”

“Striking or raping your mate doesn’t say controlled to me.”

“Sure, it can be.  My father was controlled, in his way.  He kept me isolated and afraid for the first eight years of my life.  He did whatever he wanted to me.”

“You were a child.”

“Not the point.  It’s not,” she insisted. “He controlled Stella, too, again in his way.  Convincing her to get pregnant, give birth, deal with me.  If Mira were to profile him, he’d fit this pretty well.  Except there’s no payday here—not that I can see, and that was the driving force with him.”

“He’s on your mind,” Roark stated.  “Him, McQueen, Stella.”

“Not up front.  They destroyed lives, and these are a lot of lives destroyed.  So…I thought of Cassandra, too, how that group targeted New York landmarks, taking out innocent lives in the bargain.  That was obsession as much as terrorism.  And this doesn’t strike me the same.”

Understanding how she worked, Roarke gave her a springboard.  “How is it different?”

“He wants blood, but he doesn’t want to get bloody.  He wants death, but doesn’t want to kill—not directly. He doesn’t need to watch the lights to out, to smell the fear, to taste the pain.  Playing God, yeah, but playing God with science.”

“The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

“No, but some insist they are.  Like God’s all, zip, pow and creates an orangutan out of thin air.”

“I simply adore your mind.”

“Well, that’s the nutshell from one side, and the other far end’s all, no uh-uh.  No higher power out there. What happened was basically a giant fart in space, and boom.”

“Absolutely adore it,” Roarke repeated. “A space fart to orangutans?”

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