I see that more than one reviewer is convinced that J. D. Robb (AKA Nora Roberts) did not write this book. I disagree.
"Concealed in Death" is a departure from many of the books that preceded it in the "In Death" series. It doesn't dwell as much on the future, its technology, fashions and culture, and it doesn't have the biting edge that characterized everything about Eve Dallas since she first appeared on the scene, so many years ago.
But, as far as I can see, that's not about a different writer, it's a brilliant and subtle nod to the growth in the estimable Lieutenant. This story is not about her abhorrent childhood, and all the adults (including Homeland Security) who enabled her horrible abuse, or covered it up, allowing it to continue (shades of the Catholic Church). But her childhood informs everything she does, just not so obviously. When twelve bodies of young (12-14 years of age) street girls are discovered behind a fake wall in what used to be a sanctuary for homeless kids, she dives right in, bringing her own experiences to bear, understanding these kids (and the survivors) in ways that no other policeman or policewoman could. It helps her build a scenario in her head, a story so dreadful that it's almost too much to bear.
Instead of her nightmares being flashbacks to her childhood, they are now dreams of the victims talking to each other and to her, bringing insight and understanding rather than terror.
Eve is growing into her own skin. Still prickly, she has softened around the edges, finally moved by the beauty of what she sees around her, and the spectacular life she is only now beginning to understand and cherish. And Ms. Roberts has outdone herself. She is, of course, a brilliant writer, and this new direction for Eve Dallas allows her the freedom to weave exquisite emotion into events and words that once might have been exciting, but not moving like they are in "Concealed In Death". She moved me to tears more than once. Her incredible respect, no love, for Mavis and Leonardo and Mira and Dennis fills her heart, and the reader's. One of the best lines about love I've ever read was in this book:
"Those eyes, those wild blue eyes met hers. He didn't have to say a thing to say everything"
Dallas has gotten beyond her surprising discovery that she was worthy of love, and that love is a wonderful thing. She has learned to accept it, and revel in it. The byplay between her and her husband, Roark is peppered with "he understands" and "he gets me", the acknowledgement of two souls deeply entangled, all flaws exposed, all things open and vulnerable and the sheer luck (or fate) that has put her with someone whom she knows loves her, without having to hear the words. Just think of it, she even likes Christmas now.
This is where Eve Dallas needed to grow to. And, though the cases and the culprits may be a little less vicious (and less cartoonish), her relationships with others, including her victims, are deeper, more knowing, and more compassionate. It's a wonderful thing to see. Ms. Robb has done well.
I commend her, just as I recommend this book without reservation.