What if your virtual reality was able to kill you, not only in virtual time but also in real time? This is the problem NYPSD Lt. Eve Dallas is confronted with in this work.

Author J.D. Robb sets her mysteries in the future when people have droids, can travel between planets, and have access to voice recognition and video scan security. Using details linking the book to today’s reality, she makes it easy for the reader to suspend their disbelief, which is the main goal of any writer.

The usual group of characters is here; there is Peabody, Dallas’ assistant; Dallas’ husband, Roarke, who provides the computer know-how and sometimes even goes around the law to get the information needed; McNab, Peabody’s lover and Summerset, Roarkes’ butler.

All good mysteries can be divided into three parts: the beginning gambit, the middle, and the end. Also, as in games of logic, the clues are well laid out. Robb handles all these areas well. She has offered us a world that we soon accept.

The first emotional impact will determine the reader’s involvement in the story. As the story opens up, a young and eager video game player, Bart Minnock, founder of the computer giant U-Play, takes home a game he is developing. He plays it, and something in the game kills him. This offers a locked room motif; only he entered the game room and the door was locked behind him. Yet someone killed him just as the character in the virtual reality game killed his character. Dallas sends two of her top NYPSD undercover agents to a virtual reality convention to try to locate the weapon, a sword that can cut a person’s head clean off.

All good fiction writing offers the reader an illusion which they accept as fact. Mysteries are a form of escape. Where else can we read about good versus evil where (hopefully) good wins? Mysteries can be thought of as modern day morality play.

J.D. Robb is a very prolific author in this genre, having done over 30 episodes in the “In Death” series. Under her real name of Nora Roberts, she is also a prolific romance author, J. D. Robb being a pseudonym used to write in the mystery genre.

This book is recommended for lovers of fine mysteries.

Contact Dane at smdp_review@yahoo.com.

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