Author: J.D. Robb
Title: Delusion in Death
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's sons

It's perhaps the most terrifying tool of terrorism ever dreamed up: an airborne drug that turns normal people into hysterical killing machines. The carnage left behind is bad enough to shock even the experienced Lieutenant Eve Dallas to the core. What caused this? Who caused this? And how long before they strike again? 

And so we're off on another adventure with the caustic but compassionate lieutenant and her crew. As long-time readers have come to expect, Delusion in Death provides edge-of-your-seat suspense with sharp, edgy humor, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at superior police work, and a twisted (in more ways than one) plot that will keep the reader guessing. 

The scene of the crime is a club belonging to Eve's gorgeous, mysterious husband Roarke, who uses his special skills to help the investigation. Roarke is as charming as ever and their relationship is as passionate as always. Part of Robb's genius is her gift for writing steamy love scenes without going into the kind of anatomical detail so many others find necessary. Don't get me wrong, it's still descriptive, but focuses on the emotions more than the choreography of the act. 

While all may be well in the bedroom, the effects of Eve's last case (recapped enough so the first-time reader isn't adrift) are beginning to affect her marriage. She has a lot to deal with, from her childhood with an abusive father to a run-in with her even more horrible mother. Eve is a strong woman and independent to a fault, but she needs to learn to accept help if she and her relationships are going to survive. That's not the easiest thing to do while trying to keep the city safe from a bio-terrorist but, as in real life, issues tend to surface at the most inconvenient times. 

While much of the investigation focuses on a religious cult based on some of the more violent verses of Revelation, this should not be taken as an indictment of Christianity. A couple who profess to be Christians are treated gently and with respect. Eve may not believe in God but she believes she's doing his work: "If God actually took the time to go around smiting anyone, she'd like to see him start with the self-righteous ****** who inflated their own egos in his name. But she supposed that was why God made cops." 

This is not a book for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach) but as authors go it's hard to beat J.D. Robb for fast-paced, suspenseful crime story. The fact that this series is set in the near future just makes it that much more fun. (Non-science fiction fans will hardly notice the difference in this one, at least until characters start discussing history.) The frightening plausibility of the biological weapon will have readers glued to the page as the investigation unfolds. 

Readers new to the "in Death" series may want to start a bit further back as Delusion in Death contains multiple spoilers. There are plenty of titles to choose from; I believe this is the thirty-sixth book in the series. That's an impressive run on its own, but when you consider that J.D. Robb is Nora Roberts under another name describing the author as "prolific" seems like an understatement.

Cautions: Language is occasionally raw, with Jesus' name used as an expletive and multiple uses of the f-word. Sex is both a recurring part of the plot and a frequent topic of conversation. While the crime scene description doesn't linger on the horrors that occurred, there is enough description to paint a vivid picture.  

*This Review First Published 9/21/2012