Review: Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted June 4, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 29 Comments

Review: Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb
Ceremony in Death

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: In Death #5
Genres: Futuristic Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on May 28, 1997
Pages: 310
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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The Delight

Eve encounters evil and stares it in the eye.  One thing I can always count on when I pick up the next book in the series is a growing appreciation and respect for this tough as nails cop who takes the hard hits each case brings and gets right back up to fight some more.


Ceremony in Death is the fifth installment of the series.  There is a subtle series arc running through where characters have been introduced and become fixtures, private development between friends and romance has developed, and a couple reference back to stuff that happened on certain cases.  I say all that to advice readers to get these in order, but also to acknowledge that a person can read them standalone or out of order to a certain extent.

In this latest, Eve is up against a personal conflict because her commander is ordering her to work alone and tell no one- even Feeney who will never forgive her if he learns she hid this from him.  But, she is also up against a killer who doesn’t hide evil, but embraces it.  Satanists, Wiccans, and a trail of bloody death.

I appreciate how the author not only delivers a good murder mystery, but many times infuses thought-provoking aspects that challenge Eve to analyze what she thinks about a philosophical, cultural, social, or religious more.  In this case, its religion and superstition.  Eve deals in facts and won’t countenance the idea that the spiritual or beliefs are real.

I want to say that I found this a powerful story and really loved it.  I’m going to bring up a few things that may make it sound like I didn’t, but I really do- in spite of these issues, shall we say?  So, I was totally into this one and it was on its way to five stars, but I couldn’t do it.
The mystery in this one was obvious from the beginning and it frustrated me to no end that Eve latched onto every theory, but the right one.  In fact, one of her arrests drove me nuts because I felt she wasn’t even looking beyond the pat set up.  She’s shown more intuitiveness in the past and just flat out shut that stuff down in this book.   I felt she was so fixated on sneering and denying these folks- the Wiccans in particular- because they had beliefs that made her uncomfortable that she really didn’t stay objective enough and got downright mean and cruel to the suspect and to her co-workers.  She recognizes that she owes poor Peabody and Feeney apologies and delivers them which is something I really love about the way the author wrote her.  She screws up, but she owns it and owns it to others.  It was a nice touch to see her struggle with this as the book progressed, but then I felt it ended abruptly without her actually coming to terms with this issue.  Maybe it will be brought out and addressed in a later book.

And, it will be no surprise that Roarke is was magnificent in this one.  He does his usual stellar job of forcing Eve to take care of herself and he has her back during her work and private moments of pain.  I enjoyed seeing a different side of him when he is more open about the spiritual.

The author continues to write superbly and with each case Eve and her tough cop, gritty determined, flawed, wry, and vulnerable character grows on me and I fall more deeply in love with she and Roarke’s romance.


Romance Roundabout #181 RS
Mt. TBR #70
Series that Never Ends #5




About J.D. Robb

With a phenomenal career full of bestsellers, Nora Roberts was ready for a new writing challenge. As her agent put it, like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and caffeine-free Pepsi, a pseudonym offered her the opportunity to reach a new and different group of readers. The first futuristic suspense J. D. Robb book, Naked in Death, was published in paperback in 1995, and readers were immediately drawn to Eve Dallas, a tough cop with a dark past, and her even more mysterious love interest, Roarke.

The series quickly gained attention, great reviews, and devoted readers. Since the debut of Loyalty in Death (the ninth In Death book) on Halloween 1999 on the New York Times bestseller list, every J. D. Robb title has been a New York Times bestseller. While fans had their suspicions, it wasn’t until the twelfth book in the series, Betrayal in Death (2001), that the publisher fully revealed that J. D. Robb was a pseudonym for bestselling powerhouse Nora Roberts. Unmasked, Nora Roberts fans who hadn’t yet picked up one of the Robb books were quickly playing catch-up.

Robb’s peers in the mystery world are fans as well, with accolades for the In Death series from such blockbuster authors as Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Dennis Lehane, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, Linda Fairstein, and Andrew Gross.

The In Death books are perpetual bestsellers, and frequently share the bestseller list with other Nora Roberts novels. J. D. Robb publishes two hardcover In Death books per year, with the occasional stand-alone original In Death story featured in an anthology.

Forty books later, there is no end in sight for the ever-popular In Death series.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • I think there is a decided decline in beta heroines because writers have jumped on the openly bold and strong woman bandwagon not realizing that a well written woman of quiet strength can be just as engaging. I’ll have to think about some good ones to recommend for you.

    Enjoy the rest of your Monday, Alyssa!

  • This series sounds so good, but sadly it’s probably one I’ll never read. My library doesn’t have these on the audio app, and my Audible credits would never catch up. 🙁

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one despite the issues.

    • My library only has the ebooks and paper copies. I’m working through the ones I bought in paper copy and filling in with library ecopies. I don’t blame you for not wanting to jump in on a series in its forties. My plan is to go to book twelve, and if I still like them, I’ll come back to them later or a few here and there as I catch up on other ones.

      Yes, these stories are really good even if I pull out a few nitpicky things. 🙂

  • Debbie Haupt

    I’ve got to get back to this series Thanks for the super review

    • You bet! Wishing you luck depending on where you stopped. There are so many. LOL

  • I’ve been wanting to read this series forever now, need to buy book 1. Oh, so glad to hear they can be read as a standalone, but I’ll be definitely following the characters from beginning. Looks like a must

    • That was me for the last few years. I finally took the plunge and made them my series challenge read for this year. So far soooo good. 🙂 Yes, the mysteries are all standalone and its the character and relationships that progress through the series.

  • Love Roarke. Maybe I should just re-read the the ones I have read and just keep going.

    • Maybe. Depends on where you left off. Sooo many of these. I’m hoping to get through the first dozen this year and we’ll see if I keep going or focus on others. I do love each one so that will be a tough call. 🙂

  • Oh that sounds really good. I love a character who will make their wrongs, right and apologize.

    • I agree. I can tolerate when someone screws up b/c that makes them more relatable, but I don’t respect them if they can’t apologize or right the wrong afterward. This is a great series and I love the characters. Hope you get the chance!

  • one day I’ll read the!!!!

  • Northwomn

    I love these. I have read them all. Anne – Books of My Heart

    • Really? That’s amazing. I’m hoping to get through a dozen or so this year. Glad they stay good and you’re still in love with the series all the way through, Anne. 🙂

  • I hope to start this series soon.

    • I’ll look forward to what you think of them, Nadene. 🙂

  • Every time I read one of your reviews it makes me want to jump back in.From where I am sitting, I can see the next one I need to read in paperback sitting here. I loved them for so many years. One day!

    • Haha! Glad I can help bring them back for you. I think I’ll end up reading a half dozen more and then switching to another series focus for a while and then coming back to them. Hopefully…

  • This sounds like it would be a great to read! thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

    • Oh yes! I think you’d have a good time with these, Jenea!

  • I haven’t read a JD Robb in ages. Glad you’re enjoying Eve and her adventures 🙂

    • Yes, its been great picking up about one a month, particularly, the few I had languishing on my own shelf. I try to get to one a month. I like how she develops the regular characters along with a good twisty mystery each book.

  • Isn’t he the best hero? I just adore Roarke. He’s tied in my top three, I think. Yes, they do screw up sometimes but I do like that they own up to it as well. Makes them feel more real as the series goes along that they aren’t always perfect or “right” with the things they do.

    • I think you’re right about what makes both of them great characters and also what probably made this a strong series for so long. They are flawed, but they figure it out, own up to it, and move on.

  • I think I’m on book #9 of this series. I was kind of lukewarm on this one but I thought the next few, Vengeance in Death and Conspiracy in Death were amazing because of all the internal conflict Eve has to face.

    • Oh cool, Jess! I’m hoping to get to book nine this year. I just finished Vengeance in Death and I would have to agree with you there. That one was my favorite so far b/c it did go deep for Eve and Roarke.