Book 23 in the In Death series, published February 2005.
In her newest novel in the number-one New York Times-bestselling series Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb. returns to the New York City of 2059 – where Lieutenant Eve Dallas struggles to solve the murder of a seemingly ordinary family, and protect one small, terrified survivor.
No affairs. No criminal connections. No DNA. No clues. Eve Dallas may be the best cop in the city – not to mention having the lavish resources of her husband, Roarke, at her disposal – but the Swisher case has her baffled. The family members were murdered in their beds with brutal, military precision. The state-of-the-art security was breached, and the killers used night-vision equipment to find their way through the upper middle-class house. Clearly, Dallas is dealing with pros. The only mistake they made was to overlook the nine-year-old girl cowering in the dark kitchen.
Now Nixie Swisher is an orphan and the sole eyewitness to the seemingly inexplicable crime. Kids are not Dallas's strong suit. But Nixie needs a safe place to stay, and Dallas needs to solve this case. Not only because the promise she made to Nixie, not only for the cause of justice but also to put to rest some of her own darkest memories and deepest fears. With her partner, Peabody, on the job and watching her back -and with Roarke providing the kind of help that only he can give-Lieutenant Eve Dallas is running after shadows, and dead-set on finding out who's behind them.
A very normal American family is murdered in their beds. Only the little girl survives, as her sleep over friend is killed instead of she. Nixie went to the kitchen in the middle of the night, to get something to drink, and that saved her life. She saw their maid being killed, and crawled through her parent’s blood. But she survived. Hidden away in the bathtub, until Eve arrives on scene, and deduces there has to be another child, and sets out to find her. Nixie is in shock, and traumatized, but she believes Eve will keep her safe, and find the people who did this. She refuses to go with the woman from Child Services, and urged on by Peabody, Eve decides to take her home. This way she will have full access to the only witness she has. Roarke’s fortress will keep the child save, and Summerset knows how to care for children.
Eve digs deep in the history of both parents and the children. The boy was old enough to be in trouble at school, or with drugs, but she finds nothing at all. She knows when the press finds out Nixie is still alive, she will be in danger. This brutal, military style killing, they will have to kill the child or the mission is not complete. The father was a family lawyer, the mother a nutrionist. Of course there are dissatisfied people with both of them, and she will have to follow all those leads, even though she knows in her guts that it will lead to nothing. It will just have to be done. The woman from Social Child Services is abducted from the street in broad daylight, seen by several witnesses, but it all happened so fast, no valid clue comes out. The murderers are after Nixie’s location, and Meredith would know many safe house addresses. So Eve has them evacuated fast, and guarded by policeman. But it is not enough. Two of her men are killed, guarding an empty house, and Eve feels guilty about that. They didn’t stand a chance. But she got the whole police force behind her now, because nobody takes out one of their own!
And Eve and Roarke dig deeper and deeper. Into Swisher’s case files, and they discover more murders. The judge he shared cases with was killed with his young son in a car bomb. An expert witness was stabbed in the hospital parking lot. Some cases are open without any lead, some are closed but Eve is not satisfied with the solution. So she narrows it down to one suspect, ex military, and with a “wet” history. Now the hunt begins, where to find him and his associates? And another problem to solve: what to do with Nixie? The parents of her best friend were named as her guardians, but they just cannot take her. Their own girl would still be alive instead of Nixie if she wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. They would never be able to look at Nixie and not blame her. The other distant family she has, is not capable or willing to take her in.
It was another great book in the series. I really felt for little Nixie, having lost her parents, her brother and her best friend all in one. But she deals with it. Summerset, Roarke, Eve, dr Mira, they all help her deal with her grief and her survivor’s guilt. But only when Eve closes the case, will she be able to start healing. So every time Eve sees Nixie, she feels another urge to go back to work. And Nixie reminds her too much of herself, even though their situations were not even close.
The ending was full of action, as were some other parts.
Mavis is getting more and more pregnant, and to their mutual horror, she has asked Eve and Roarke to be with her at delivery time, and go to birthing classes with her. They cannot refuse Mavis, but the horror is there all the same.