Book: Sacred Sins

My wife introduced me to J. D. Robb, and I have been enjoying Eve Dallas ever since. Occasionally she and I exchange books, though to be honest, our reading lists don’t overlap all that much, either in fiction or in non-fiction. A few days ago she handed me a couple of Nora Roberts books (I’m sure most readers know that Nora Roberts writes also as J. D. Robb), and said she thought Roberts was warming up for the Dallas books with these.

The first I read was Sacred Sins, which I have just finished. I will read the next book which she also gave me. I don’t like these as well as the J. D. Robb books, and a little look at the types of things I do read would probably tell you why. I’m not long on books with a great deal of characterization, and romance normally has to be kept to a minimum.

At the same time, this book would make an excellent place to discuss the difference between a mystery, and a romance that has some mystery in it. I think this is a romance with a touch of mystery. The male lead character is a homicide detective, and thus it is natural that police procedure and investigation would be involved. But Roberts doesn’t dwell as much on crime scene issues and the investigation as she does when writing about Eve Dallas, for example.

The female lead is a psychiatrist, contracted to provide a profile of a serial killer. There <em>is</em> action of the normal crime type, but the <em>real action comes between those two characters, whose nature, background, and training makes them see things differently. They are nonetheless attracted to one another. As someone married to a woman with a very different personality than mine, I can empathize.

I was surprised by the quality of the portrayal of the thinking of the characters throughout. I was also surprised by the ending, though I thought of it a few pages before it happened and then dismissed it as impossible. As soon as I had done that, it happened. So much for my guessing abilities. I’ll blame it on the romantic nature of the book, and the unsystematic presentation of evidence, and go on.

I’m not going to make a habit of reading romances, but if I were to do so, this would be the kind I’d go for. I rate this a 4.