J. D. Robb. Rapture in Death. New York: Berkley, 1996. Print.
J. D. Robb is a pen name for Nora Roberts, such a prolific writer that she is a novel-producing industry. I had never read anything by her before. This was a gift. Why not?
The titles ending in “in Death” feature a New York City homicide detective in the middle of the 21st century. Rapture in Death takes place in 2058. There is a smattering of science fiction added to a pornographic police procedural. It tries to do it all.
Travel in 2058 is much faster. Cities on earth are seriously polluted. Other moons and planets have been colonized. People go to space station resorts for vacations.
Still, people get murdered and someone has to figure out whodunit. In this case, there are a series of suicides that Detective Eve Dallas believes are really murders. She comes to suspect subliminal messages have been encoded into virtual reality games that drive the victims to happy suicides.
Det. Dallas is no techie, but her husband is a Trump-like tycoon who owns a company that makes VR games. The mystery has a connection with her husband’s work just as the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys’ stories usually connect with a case their fathers are working on. One could call this a futuristic Nancy Drew with sex.
Rapture in Death is a quick read. The sex is annoyingly steamy, but since it is all between a man and woman who are married, I suppose it is moral. Without the explicit sex, it would be an entertaining TV show not unlike Law and Order or Castle. I am glad that it did not take too long to read, but I cannot say I will be looking for another Robb or Roberts book any time soon. Still, it is a fast-paced mystery and Roberts sells, so how can an American criticize something that makes money?