Book 25 in the In Death series, published January 2006.
Eve Dallas is one tough cop. She's got no problem dealing with a holiday reveler in a red suit who plunges thirty-seven stories and gives new meaning to the term "sidewalk Santa." But when she gets back to the station and Trudy Lombard shows up, it's all Eve can do to hold it together. Instantly, she's plunged back into the past, to the days when she was a vulnerable, traumatized girl - trapped in foster care with the twisted woman who now sits in front of her, smiling.
Trudy claims she just wanted to see how Eve was doing. But Eve's husband, Roarke, suspects otherwise - and his suspicions prove correct when Trudy arrives at his office demanding money in exchange for keeping the ugly details of his wife's childhood a secret. Barely restraining himself, Roarke shows her the door - and makes it clear that she'd be wise to get out of New York and never bother him or his wife again.
But just a few days later, Trudy's found on the floor of her hotel room, a mess of bruises and blood. A cop to the core, Eve is determined to solve the case, if only for the sake of Trudy's bereaved son. Unfortunately, Eve is not the only one to have suffered at this woman's hands, and she and Roarke will follow a circuitous, dangerous path to find out who turned this victimizer into a victim.
When Lieutenant Eve Dallas sees a strange woman in her office, she doesn’t recognize her. But when the woman claims to be her mother, memories come screaming back at her. Horrible memories from her first foster home, and the woman before her tormenting her. And she feels ill, made into nothing again. She denies the woman, throws her out of her office, and gets horribly sick. There is only one thing she wants: home. A scared Peabody warns Roarke, who hurries home to be with his wife. Eve is still in shock when he arrives, and he bullies her into telling him what happened. And he just knows this is no coincidence. This Trudy Lombard is after his money. And of course he is right, even though Eve doesn’t see it yet. He could not kill her father for her, but he can slay this dragon! And it costs every ounce of his considerable will power to not just do that, but instead send the woman on her way, scared of her life.
But Trudy doesn’t give up easily, o no. She has already another plan in place, and she will get her money or go to the press to tell her story. Eve is hot news with the Icove case still on everyone’s mind. But before she can strike, Trudy is killed. And Eve is determined to find out who did it. Ruling out a stranger, because Trudy was not afraid of the intruder, Eve stars digging in her past. Of course there were other foster children for Trudy after she herself ran away, and perhaps other woman she has black mailed since she lost her professional mother status when Bobby became 18. How else could she afford the nice clothes and jewelry?
Eve and Roarke find out there have been more girls in Trudy’s “care”. Treated to cold baths every night, locked in dark rooms, scrubbing the kitchen with their toothbrushes, being told they are nothing but filth, and should be grateful to her for putting up with them. Trudy moved around a lot, never keeping a job for long, but she seems to have money enough to indulge herself. Eve knows deep in her gut who the murderer is from the beginning but she has to prove it, and find a motive. Digging deep, she finds it, and now she has to break her, before there will be more victims.
Even for the second time, this is a good story. I really felt for Eve, and all those other children who ended up with Trudy. Even though I know it is fiction, I know those things happen in reality all too often. Traumatized children taken advantage off for a profit, and for pure evil.
This meet throws Eve right back in her past, and she needs all her strength to come out of it again. She is angry somebody has killed Trudy before she could tell her off, stand up to her. Now she will have to stand for her, to find the killer.
She throws a fight with Roarke, surprising her self with what comes out of her mouth, and is deeply ashamed by that.
A lovely scene with mister Mira, on who she has a light crush happens, but she also reconciles with dr. Mira. Peabody drives her crazy with her worries about meeting McNab’s parents so she gives her Christmas gift early just to ease Peabody’s fears. No Trina this time, but a very pregnant Mavis and all her other friends are at the Christmas party she and Roarke are throwing.
But still, not really an exciting, suspenseful story this time. No danger. Just how love can blind you to the truth. Or just open your eyes.