NESFA Members' Reviews

Origin in Death

by J. D. Robb, a.k.a. Nora Roberts

Putnam, 2005, ISBN 0-399-15289-X

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

Eve Dallas and Delia Peabody are at the Wilfred B. Icove Center for Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery to investigate one killing—a vid star has been beaten and killed her attacker in self-defense—when the retired founder, Wilfred B. Icove Senior, is killed. Icove is widely admired, loved by all who know him, has no possible enemies. Clearly, no one had a motive to kill him, and the woman who did the actual deed, his lunchtime appointment, apparently doesn't exist.

But, since someone obviously did, Dallas starts digging into his work and his past, to the great annoyance of his son, Wilfred B. Icove Junior. Everywhere she looks, she finds more evidence of his wonderfulness. Icove Senior's medical relief working during the Urban Wars helped many people and made him beloved. Both Somerset and Mira are admirers, and Somerset, who knew him during the Urban Wars, is deeply pained by the fact that Dallas is investigating Icove in order to find his killer. It's a painful and awkward investigation—and it gets worse when there's another killing, this time of Icove Junior, and evidence begins to accumulate of research interests the Icoves definitely never advertised.

Kazuo Ishiguro reassured a presumably nervous literary world that his new novel, Never Let Me Go, was not science fiction because it's not about human cloning, but rather about the social consequences of human cloning. Roberts, like many a scruffy genre writer before her, demonstrates that she has probably devoted more serious thought to that subject in five minutes while brushing her teeth than the distinguished Mr. Ishiguro has in his whole life—and she's more fun to read, too.


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