Friday, April 19, 2024

The Capsule Book Club: Random in Death by J.D. Robb – A Romance-Laced Chick-Crime Novel With a Twist

Welcome back to book club! This month, we’re diving into a romance-laced chick-crime novel with a twist – Kelly Bertrand reviews J.D. Robb’s Random in Death, available at The Warehouse now! 


Oh, how we love a chick-lit crime page-turner, and in J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts) tome, we most certainly have an absolute cracker of the genre. 

You know those books where, at every page, you’re so busy urging the plot on so you find out what happens next that you forget that you poured yourself a wine and laid out some snacks? Yup, this is one of those. 

Random in Death is the 58th – yes, the 58th?! – installment of J.D.’s Random series, centring around Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her super-rich bad-boy-turned husband Roarke. This time, Eve is on the case of the seemingly unconnected attacks on teenage girls who have dropped dead after being injected with a mystery substance. Eve and her partner Detective Delia Peabody have to race to figure out who is next, and why these crimes are happening. 

There’s jack-all evidence or motive, but with a gang of friends from previous novels, Eve closes in on her suspect. But of course, it can’t be that smooth…

I mean, jumping into this series on book 58 seems like a BOLD move, but J.D. Robb does a good job of bringing you up to speed asap, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on years of backstory from the beginning. 

I absolutely love police procedural books. I like the mystery, the thrill, the romance (come on, there’s always romance) and cool female characters that, while being strong confident et all, also have the capacity to fall in love with someone impossibly gorgeous who ALSO loves strong confident women (in my single days I would have added a line in here saying something like ‘THIS IS WHY IT’S FICTION’ but now having found such a man, ladies, they exist! Woo!). 

Random in Death, therefore, is right in my wheelhouse as far as genres go, and this was a super-easy and pretty standard example of it – although this series does take place in the soon-to-be future (2060s), which gives it an interesting lens. This is not the most sophisticated book. It isn’t going to leave you pondering anything particularly deep, or floor you with beautifully-woven prose. This is one for the beach, for the Sunday afternoon where you just want a couple of hours by yourself with your brain engaged only in what’s in front of you, and then you want to put it away and get on with your life. 

There’s a LOT going on – Action! Danger! Suspense! Romance! – and personal threads mean that there’s not a lot of lag time, so if you’re someone who wants immediate payoff in your books (like me – someone who has even been known to read the last few pages first) then it’s satisfying on a lot of levels. Humour is also interwoven throughout; sometimes leaning a bit cheesy at times – kind of like the stuff your mum might find funny if she saw it posted on Facebook (you know, quotes like ‘wine is just a juice box for mom!’ etc). 

The book does keep you guessing until the end – no spoilers, promise – and protagonist Eve is relatable, witty and warm, so you kind of feel like you’re tagging along as your best mate solves some crime and then goes back home to her ‘castle’ in New York City because, you know, she married a billionaire (ah, this is where I’ve gone wrong…). 

I polished this book off in an afternoon because, after a slower beginning, things really did pick up and I needed to know who the hell the murderer was.  

Will it win awards for well-crafted writing? Probably not, and there were times I wished the writing was tighter, or that a corny line was edited out. But hell, it’s all part of the journey with this book, and it’s a tonic for the stressed-out mind when you just want a little bit of a break – think of Random in Death as the Bravo of books. 

Plus, I’m keen to now head back to where it all began and start the series from the beginning! 

Random in Death by J.D. Robb is photographed here with the Monika Tassel Throw; Living & Co Ambience Candle in Waiheke Bay; Living & Co Milford Blue Mug and Living & Co Artificial Hydrangea, all available at The Warehouse.

This story has been produced with the support of our partner The Warehouse. Every click, like, share and comment supports Capsule’s work and our commitment to keeping our content free. Thank you for supporting independent, female-owned media! 💛

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