Concealed in Death
Putnam Adult / February 18, 2014 / $27.95 print, $11.99 digital
In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.
The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.
Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.
J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts) has given us such dynamic characters in her In Death series, featuring the ass-kicking, killer catching, Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPSD, and her multi-billionaire husband, Roarke. Since this series began, this pair have lived their lives far from their very impoverished and harsh beginnings.
Roarke grew up in the slums of Dublin, Ireland, with a brutal father who used his fists to keep his kids in line. Roarke learned at a young age to pick pockets, finagle locks and eventually to seduce his way to valuables that would fetch a good price. Eve was abused and raped by a father who kept her locked away from the world, dehumanizing her to the point where she wasn’t even given a name and after escaping his hold, she was tossed around the system until she was old enough to be tossed out of it.
Although Roarke has created a business empire using a different set of cutthroat skills, and Eve uses her badge to bring people like her father and Roarke’s to justice, they are not so far removed from the poor victims of this latest killer.
When they got out of the car, he took her hand. “I asked myself today what might have happened if I hadn’t bought that place. Those girls might have been there years yet. Then I thought, no, not at all. It was meant to be now, and me, and you.”
“You’re awfully damn Irish sometimes.”
“Meant to be,” he said with a shrug. “We know those children, and aren’t so far from being them once. So we’ll neither of us stop until we find who they are, what happened to them, and who took the rest of theirs from them.”
Roarke’s latest endeavor is to rehab an old building and turn it into a safe haven. But unlike his women’s shelter, Dochas, this place would be for kids like he and Eve once were—-kids that needed a safe place from the parents that were supposed to protect them from the evil that lurks in the dark.
“I like to know what I’m about. The plans are to build a proper facility for children, whose who get sucked into the system through no fault of their own, but are mistreated or neglected by those who should tend to them.”
As she had been, Eve thought.
“And the others—the lost, you could say—who end up on the street trying to find a way just to survive.”
As he had.
During the initial demolition, Roarke finds bodies encased behind the walls. Wrapped carefully in plastic are the bones of young girls long dead. When records show that the building was once used as a shelter for young kids in trouble, Eve goes searching for a long cold trail of a killer. They were brought there to be safe, to be taken care of, and someone took their futures away. Unlike Eve and Roarke, these girls didn’t get the opportunity to walk away from their mistakes and create a new life for themselves away from the abuse. It is not too much of a leap for Eve to realize how close she came to ending up like one of these girls.
“A case. Your case. But I know them. This one, and this one. This one, too.”
“What?” Eve gripped her shoulder. “What do you mean?”
“I knew her.” She gestured to Shelby. “And her.” Now Mikki. “And her.” And lastly LeRue Freeman. “I knew them, Dallas. Before you. I knew them before you.”
“Yes. You don’t forget…They’re dead. They’ve been dead all this time. That’s why they never came back.”
Where once Eve was a victim, she has become a force to right the wrongs done to others. Now it is up to Eve to find justice for these troubled girls tossed away by those who should have taken care of them, and then forgotten for the last fifteen years. There is no statute of limitations on murder and Eve is determined to finally bring them peace.
Learn more or order a copy of Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb, available February 18, 2014:
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.