Most reviews for Apprentice in Death start out by talking about how it is the 43rd book in the series. Mine will start something like that but more focusing on how J.D. Robb can continue to come up with such diabolical plotlines and such awful bad guys. Every book, all 43 of them, has a new murder and they are so intricately plotted out. There is no skimping in the details and each time I’m left amazed at the stuff she comes up with.
Apprentice in Death is one where we meet the bad guy, or guys in this case, rather quickly. Two people in a small room with a long-range weapon, one of them using the weapon to kill three ice skaters over a mile away. The impression is given that one is old and one is young, sort of like a master/apprentice type relationship, with the younger one being the shooter. The old one praises the younger shooter for their accuracy and efficiency in carrying out the kill.
Eve and team are called in to work the scene. It doesn’t take long for Eve to realize what they are dealing with, a LDSK (long-distance serial killer) and she calls in Lowenbaum, a member of the tactical team and someone she has recently worked with. Eve enlists Roarke for help and he designs a fancy new computer program which takes into account distance, wind speed, height, obstacles, type of building and so many other things and they are able to find the location where the shots came from. A desk clerk with an excellent memory is able to describe both witnesses and with Yancy’s brilliant drawing they match the killer up with a former police officer. The second killer is found to be his 15-year-old daughter.
Less than 24 hours after the first kills the LDSK’s hit again. This time they take out 4 people, injuring one other. It becomes clear the 15 daughter, Willow, is enjoying the killing a little too much. She asks her father if she take out more people this time and he says only the one more but she does two more. Once again, Robb has written some real winners for killers.
The rest of the story progresses with Eve and team taking Mackie in custody and then trying to use him for information to find Willow. In an interview with Eve, he talks about how she is his eyes and ears and how the plot all came around. Eve had already connected some of the victims and knew they were dead because of their connection to the death of Mackie’s second wife and son. Eve is able to convince Mackie Willow has gone off the rails and he makes a deal. Information on where she could be in exchange for her being charged as a minor.
Apprentice in Death will have you on the edge of your seat. Robb does a chilling portrayal of a psychopathic 15-year-old that will make even the strongest of readers cringe. Willow likes to kill and does it in large numbers. There is a part where she takes out concert goers at Madison Square Gardens and somewhere at the concert are people Eve and Roarke love dearly- Somerset, Mavis, Leonardo, Nadine, Dickhead and Trina were all in the crowd and could have been victims. I don’t believe Robb would have killed any of them off but I did hold my breath until they were found to be safe.
Overall, this is a great installment in this series. It brings thought to the nature versus nurture question and which is stronger. Eve wraps up Willow with several chapters left and we get to see everyone attend Bella’s first birthday party. After such a brutal case, I appreciated this slice of life with the characters we love so much. Also, I have to say I was glad they didn’t kill Willow because reading her get her comeuppance was very satisfying. I can’t wait for the next one! Final grade- B
After thoughts- I missed the button! Roarke didn’t feel for the button! And the candy thief didn’t strike…
“Wherever you came from, however you grew up, it always came down to the choices you made.”