(Preamble: Despite what the picture above states, I did read the physical book - I just couldn't find a good copy of the hardcover picture to post.)
When I opened up Strangers in Death I was amazed at just how many In Death novels there are now - I believe I counted 27. And even better, the stories are still able to draw me in and hold me there until I flip past that last page. I can think of precious few other serials that have Roberts' staying power.
The story begins with a sports mogul/philanthropist found in a very compromising position... and also very dead. Eve is brought in to find out who killed the man who did so much good for everyone. The grieving widow with the airtight alibi and lots of friends rubs Eve the wrong way from the start and Eve makes it her mission to untangle all the lies. In doing do, she reveals a spiderweb with tendrils reaching in every direction and a sociopath willing to manipulate everything and everyone.
Yes, these books are a bit formulaic: Murder - Eve/Roarke backstory and sex - Characters in Danger - Eve solves the mystery and - Saves the day (and often gets beat up in the process) - but I love these stories! Why? As I mentioned above, it has everything to do with Roberts' secondary characters. They seem like real people - even more so than Eve or Roarke. Personally, I would love it if Roberts spun off some stories with Peabody as the main character. I have come to the conclusion that it is not Eve not Roarke who draw me to Nora Roberts' "In Death" series... it is Peabody. I want Peabody to be my friend! I want to smack Eve every time she rebuffs Peabody's attempts at a meaningful conversation.
Why did I let this On the Prowl sit on my shelf for so long? I bought it when it first came out and it sat on my bedside table for ages. This is a book of short stories, and with the exception of Eileen Wilks, all authors I have read and enjoyed before.
I had assumed Patricia Briggs' "Alpha and Omega" story was to be a continuation of her Mercy Thompson novels. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that while the story takes place in the Mercyverse, the story concerns a peripheral werewolf character, Charles - the native son and enforcer/executioner for the Marrok. Charles travels from Montana to Chicago to investigate rumours of pack members going missing and being sold to research houses. He meets Anna, the lowest of the submissives in her pack and with her help discovers and takes care of what has been happening to her pack. I was sad when their story ended, but was cheered up by the fact that Anna and Charles will be continuing in their own book, Cry Wolf. Anna and Charles' story seems a bit gentler than Mercy and her cohorts, and was a great read.
As I mentioned above, Eileen Wilks was an author I had never read before and I could kick myself for having made that mistake. "Inhuman" is the story of Kai, a young woman with empathic powers and her neighbour, a cop named Nathan. Kai knows Nathan is different but she is not sure how, and she has had a crush on him for a long time. A murder occurs in their town and all fingers point to Kai - however, there was no way she could have committed the crime as she was helping to patch Nathan up from a bullet wound at the time. The general population is not receptive to people with powers and this puts both Kai and Nathan in danger. I feel that this was the strongest story of the quartet and was also heartened to see they will be getting a story of their own as well.
Karen Chance's "Buying Trouble" was the most amusing of the short stories. Claire is a mage who has a strange reaction to the Fey and Heidar is a half-fey lord with whom she inadvertently ends up on the run. What happens to Claire while on the run and in the heat of passion is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. I have read Chance's Touch the Dark and Claimed By Shadow (and bought the third book, Embrace the Night today) and I have come to the conclusion that I will read anything that comes out with her name on it.
Sunny's "Mona Lisa Betwining" was the last story in the book and my least favourite. It seemed pointless. I have read the previous Mona Lisa novels and short stories and am also part way through Lucinda, Darkly - but I liked Mona Lisa better when she was more vulnerable and less certain of her powers and who she was. If she only exists to have sex with multiple men and pick up powers with every go around... let's just say that I've read that before and wasn't impressed.