The last two books in the series I rated a 1.5 and a 2.5, so I guess someone in Roberts'/Robb's professional circle saw that the readers of the series are less than impressed with the writing lately and made an effort to actually edit the work Robb is handing in. The quality is so much better than the last few books, so I guess a couple of ghostwriters are out of a job.
This book is a police thriller inside a police thriller - a take on inception a bit. Eve and Peabody respond to a murder that took place at a movie theater...turns out that was murder number two, as a previous unsolved murder her Homicide squad picked up a month ago is somewhat tied into this new murder. And away we go....
So let's talk characterization - seems Peabody is back to being an actual detective again and not the damn airhead who squeals over make up and clothes and hates on her body/weight like we saw in previous books. In fact, Peabody really gets to be Eve's partner in the detective work, and Eve consults Peabody on the craft/supplies/tailoring angle as Peabody's hobbies is all things crafts. Seeing the joy in Peabody at the mega-craft store made her relatable, but her use of terminology and asking the right questions of the craft store personnel made her really a part of the investigation. Roarke had the best one-liners in the book, and thankfully took a back seat in the investigation to handle his own business empire. He showed up when he was actually needed and wasn't around when he wasn't needed. Mira gave a brief profile of the killer, then seemed to vanish. Nadine was helpful as well as Mavis & Leonardo (him more so than her). I feel like the gang is really back to themselves again.
Writing - we got actual humor back, mostly verbal but an actual fight with living garden gnome too. What I really liked in this book was that the drudgery of police work was balanced with the action-adventure of police work. I also liked how Eve got something wrong and got a little frustrated over it, but not enough to stop thinking through and using this failure to tweak her thoughts and actions in the investigation. No sudden brain farts as to who the killer was, it was methodically revealed over the course of the book.
Overall, a really good read that shows the great parts of the series and why so many of us are still sticking it out. I still feel an ending coming soon (maybe #50 will be the last one), but this one I think could go on the In Death re-read pile.