Apprentice in Death (In Death Series #43)

Apprentice in Death (In Death Series #43)

by J. D. Robb

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Lieutenant Eve Dallas must hunt down the deadly snipers terrorizing Manhattan in this fast-paced In Death thriller from J. D. Robb.

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101987988
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Series: In Death Series , #43
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 4,045
File size: 788 KB

About the Author

J. D. Robb is the pseudonym for a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including the bestselling In Death series. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


Keedysville, Maryland

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt


When Lieutenant Eve Dallas strode into the bullpen of Homicide after an annoying appearance in court, she wanted coffee. But Detective Jenkinson had obviously been lying in wait. He popped up from his desk, started toward her, leading with his obnoxious tie of the day.

“Are those frogs?” she demanded. “Why would you wear a tie with piss-yellow frogs jumping around on—Christ—puke-green lily pads?”

“Frogs are good luck. It’s feng shui or some shit. Anyways, the fresh meat you brought in took a pop in the eye from some chemi-head down on Avenue B. She and Uniform Carmichael hauled him and the dealer in. They’re in the tank. New girl’s in the break room with an ice patch. Figured you’d want to know.”

Fresh meat equaled the newly transferred Officer Shelby. “How’d she handle it?”

“Like a cop. She’s all right, LT.”

“Good to know.”

She really wanted coffee—and not crap break-room coffee, but the real coffee in her office AutoChef. But she’d brought Officer Shelby on board, and on her first full day she’d taken a fist in the eye.

So Eve, tall and lanky in her black leather coat, walked to the break room.

Inside, Shelby sat drinking crap coffee, squinting at her PPC while wearing a cold patch over her right eye. She started to get to her feet, but Eve gestured her down.

“How’s the eye, Officer?”

“My kid sister hits harder, Lieutenant.”

At Eve’s finger motion, Shelby lifted the patch.

The bloodshot white, the black and purple raying out from it had Eve nodding. “That’s a nice one. Stick with the patch awhile.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good work.”

“Thank you, sir.”

On the way to her office, she stopped by Uniform Carmichael’s cube. “Run it through for me.”

“Detectives Carmichael and Santiago caught one down on Avenue B. We’re support, just crowd control. We spot the illegals deal going down, five feet away. Can’t just ignore it, but since we’ve got a body coming out, we’re just going to move them along. Dealer? He’s hands up, no problem. Chemi-head’s jonesing some, and he just punched her. Sucker punch, sir. She took him down, and fast, I’ll give her that. A little bit on the reckless side, maybe, but it’s her eye his fist punched. We hauled them both in, with assaulting an officer added to the doper.

“She can take a punch,” Uniform Carmichael added. “I’ll give her that, too.”

“Keep her tight for a few days, and let’s see how she rolls.”

Before somebody else wanted her for anything else, Eve cut straight through to her office. She programmed coffee, black, without bothering to take off her coat.

She stood by her skinny window drinking the coffee, her whiskey-­colored cop’s eyes scanning the street traffic below, the sky traffic above.

She had paperwork—there was always paperwork—and she’d get to it. But she had just closed an ugly case, and had spent the morning testifying over another ugly case. She supposed they were all ugly, but some twisted harder than others.

So she wanted a minute with her coffee and the city she’d sworn to protect and serve.

Maybe, if she was lucky, a quiet night would follow. Just her and Roarke, she thought. Some wine, some dinner, maybe a vid, some sex. When a murder cop ended up with a busy, billionaire businessman, quiet nights at home were like the biggest, shiniest prize in the box.

Thank God he wanted those quiet nights, too.

Maybe sometimes they did the fancy bits—it was part of the deal, part of the Marriage Rules in her book. And more than sometimes he worked with her over pizza in her home office. The reformed criminal with the mind of a cop? A hell of a tool.

So maybe a quiet night for both of them.

She set the coffee on her desk, took off her coat and tossed it over her deliberately uncomfortable visitor’s chair. Paperwork, she reminded herself, and started to rake her hand through her hair. Hit the snowflake hat she tried not to let embarrass her. After tossing that on top of the coat, she finger-combed her short, choppy cap of brown hair, sat.

“Computer,” she began, and her desk ’link sounded.


“Dispatch, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve.”

Even before the rest, she knew the shiny prize would have to stay in the box for a while.

With her partner, Eve walked from Sixth Avenue where she’d double-parked her DLE.

With a scarf of purple-and-green zigzags wrapped around her neck, Peabody clomped along the path, shooting unhappy looks at the snow blanketing everything else.

“I figured, hey, we’ll be in court, and we got temps in the forties, I can wear my cowgirl boots no problem. If we’ve got to go tramping through the snow—”

“It’s January. And what cop wears pink to a murder trial?”

“Reo had on red shoes,” Peabody pointed out, referring to the APA. “Red’s just dark pink when you think about it.”

When Eve thought about it, she wondered why the hell they were talking about footwear when they had three DBs on tap. “Suck it up.”

She flashed her badge when they came to the first police line, kept walking—ignored reporters who pushed against that line and shouted questions.

Somebody had their head on right, she decided, holding the media hounds back out of sight of the rink. That wouldn’t last, but it kept what was bound to be complicated a little simpler for the time being.

She spotted more than a dozen uniforms coming or going and at least fifty civilians. Raised voices, a few edged with hysteria, carried clearly.

“I thought we’d have more civilians, more witnesses.”

Eve kept scanning. “Bodies drop, people run. We probably lost half of them before the first-on-scene got here.” She shook her head. “Media doesn’t need to get within camera range. They’re going to have dozens of people sending them vids.”

Since nothing could be done about that, Eve set it aside, flashed through the next barricade.

As she did, a uniform peeled off, lumbered toward her. She recognized the thirty-plus-years vet, and knew the relative order established was due to his experience and no-bullshit style.


He gave her a nod. He had a dark bulldog face on a broad-chested bulldog body. And eyes of bitter chocolate-brown that had seen it all, and expected to see worse at any moment.

“Hell of a mess.”

“Run it through for me.”

“Got the first dispatch at ’round fifteen-twenty. I’m baby-walking a rook, and had him doing some foot patrol on Sixth, so we hotfooted it. Had him start a line back aways, keep people out. But Christ on a crutch, you can’t block the whole freaking park.”

“You’re first-on-scene.”

“Yeah. Nine-one-ones started pumping in and so did cops, but people were already running from the scene when I got here. Had to work with park security to hold what we could. Had some injuries. We got MTs in to treat the minors, but we had a kid, about six, broken leg. The way the wit reports shake out—once you cut through the crap—is the first vic collided with him and the kid’s parents, and the kid’s leg got broke in the fall. Got their contact info, and the hospital for you.”


“I’ll take that information, Officer.”

He reeled it off without pulling out his notebook.

“Sweepers aren’t going to be happy about the state of the crime scene. People all the fuck over it, and the bodies’ve been moved around. Had a medical on the ice, and a vet—an animal doc—and they worked on the vics, and the injured.

“First vic took it in the back. That’s the female out there, in red.” He turned, gestured with a lift of that bulldog chin. “Wit statements aren’t clear about which got hit second, but you got two males, one gut shot, one between the fucking eyes. Looks like a laser strike to me, LT, but I don’t wanna tell you your job. And you’re going to hear from some of these wits about knives and suspicious individuals, and the usual crap.”

You didn’t make lieutenant without wading through, and learning to cut through, the usual crap.

“All right. You got the doctors on tap?”

“Yeah. Got them inside the locker room, got another couple in there, too, who claim they were the first to reach one of the male vics. And the wife of one of the male vics. She’s firm he was the last hit, and I lean toward that.”

“Peabody, take them, and I’ll start on the bodies. I want the security discs, and I want them now.”

“They got them ready for you,” Fericke told her. “Ask for Spicher. He’s rink security, and not altogether a dickhead.”

“I’m on it.” Peabody headed off, careful to avoid the snow.

“Gonna want some grippers for your boots,” Fericke told Eve. “Pile of them up there. Hotshot murder cop face-planting on the ice wouldn’t inspire confidence.”

“Hold the line, Fericke.”

“It’s what we do.”

She walked around to the rink’s entrance, strapping on a pair of the toothy grips before opening her field kit and sealing her hands and boots.

“Hey! Hey! Are you in charge? Who’s in fucking charge?”

She glanced over, locking eyes with a red-faced man of about forty who was wearing a thick white sweater and black skin pants.

“I’m in charge.”

“You have no right to hold me! I have an appointment.”

“Mister . . .”

“Granger. Wayne Granger, and I know my rights!”

“Mr. Granger, do you see the three people lying on the rink?”

“Of course I see them.”

“Their rights trump yours.”

He shouted after her as she worked her way across the ice to the ­female victim, something about police states and lawsuits. Looking down at the girl in red—couldn’t have been more than twenty years old—Eve didn’t give him another thought.

Blood pooled under her, spreading more red on the ice. She lay on her side, and Eve could clearly see bloody marks where other skaters, and the medicals, had gone through.

Her eyes, a bright, summer blue already glazed with death, stared, and one hand lay, palm up, in her own blood.

No, Eve didn’t give Granger and his appointment another thought.

She crouched down, opening her field kit, and did her job.

She didn’t rise or turn when Peabody came out.

“Vic is Ellissa Wyman, age nineteen. Still lives with her parents and younger sister, Upper West. TOD, fifteen-fifteen. ME will determine COD, but I agree with Fericke. It looks like a laser strike.”

“The doctors—both of them—agree. And the vet? He was an Army corpsman, so he’s seen laser strikes. They didn’t do more than look at her—she was obviously gone. One tried working on the gut shot, and the other examined the head shot—but they were all gone. So they ­focused on the injured.”

Eve rose with a nod. “Security discs.”

“Right here.”

Eve plugged one of the discs into her own PPC, cued it to fifteen-­fourteen, and focused first on the girl in red.

“She’s good,” Peabody commented. “Her form, I mean. She’s building up some speed there, and—”

She broke off when the girl shot through the air, form gone, and collided with the young family.

Eve rewound it, backed up another minute, and now scanned the other skaters, the onlookers.

“People are giving her room,” Eve murmured, “some are watching her. I don’t see any weapons.”

She let it play through, watched the second victim jerk back, eyes widening, knees buckling.

Ran it back, noted the time. Ran it forward.

“Less than six seconds between strikes.”

People skated to the first vic and the family. Security came rushing out. And the couple skating—poorly—along the rail—slowed. The man glanced back. And the strike.

“Just over six seconds for the third. Three shots in roughly twelve seconds, three dead—center back, gut, forehead. That’s not luck. And none of those strikes came from the rink or around it. Tell Fericke, when he’s got all names and contacts, that anyone who has given a statement can go. Except for the medicals and the third vic’s wife.

“Get a full statement from all three of them, and contact whoever the vic’s wife wants. The female’s cleared for bagging, tagging, and transpo to the morgue. And we need park security feeds.”

“Which sector?”

“All of them.”

Leaving Peabody gaping, Eve crossed the ice to the second victim.

When she finished with the bodies, she went inside.

The two medicals sat together on a bench in a locker area, drinking coffee out of go-cups.

Eve nodded to the uniform, dismissing her, then sat on the bench across from them. “I’m Lieutenant Dallas. You’ve given statements to my partner, Detective Peabody.”

They both nodded, the one on the left—trim, close-shaven, mid-­thirties—nodded. “Nothing we could do for the three who were killed. By the time we got to them, they were gone.”


“Sorry. Dr. Lansing. I thought, I honestly thought the girl—the girl in the red suit—had just taken a bad spill. And the little boy, he was screaming. I was right there, that is, right behind them when it happened. So I tried to get to him, first. I started to move the girl, to get to the little boy, and realized she wasn’t hurt or unconscious. I heard Matt shouting for everyone to get off the ice, to get clear.”


“That’s me. Matt Brolin. I saw the collision—saw that girl go into her turn for a jump, saw her propelled forward into the family. I was going to go help, then I saw the guy go down, saw him drop. Even then I didn’t put it together. But I saw the third one, I saw the strike, and I knew. I was a corpsman. Twenty-six years ago, but it doesn’t leave you. We were under attack, and I wanted people to get to cover.”

“You two know each other.”

“We do now,” Brolin said. “I knew the third guy was gone—hell of a sniper strike—but I tried to do what I could for the second one. He was still alive, Lieutenant. He looked at me. I remembered that look—and it’s a hard one to remember. He wasn’t going to make it, but you’ve got to do what you can do.”

“He shielded the guy with his own body,” Lansing put in. “People panicked, and I swear some would’ve skated right over that man, but Matt shielded him.”

“Jack had his hands full with the little boy, and the parents got banged around some, too. Right?”

“They didn’t have time to break their own fall,” Lansing explained. “The father’s got a mild concussion, the mother’s a sprained wrist. They’ll be all right. The boy, too, but he got the worst of it. Security had a first aid kit. I gave him a little something for the pain. The MTs were here inside of two minutes. You have to give them credit. I went to help Matt. And we had to try on the last one. But like Matt said, he was gone. Gone before he hit the ice.”

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Apprentice in Death (International Edition) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another good one. This book had a better ending than the last book-- more comprehensive. We got to hear the perps get their due, and we got to see some off-duty events, too. I'd like to see a story where Baxter is a little more central to the main plot. Maybe get him a girlfriend, too. Morris needs some happiness, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall another good JDRobb, but I don't think Evers character is developing any longer. I have read them all and throughout the series Eve grew as a person. From such a horrible beginning Eve had to struggle in her dealing with people, especially those she became close to, Mavis, Peabody, Mira and especially Roarke. The problem is that less & less of these interactions have been happening in the last books. This is what made me stick with this series! I live hearing Peabody & McNab and their silliness, about the Midas and all the rest of the gang that make these books not just a series of grisly murders. While there is a tiny bit in this book, I don't feel Eve's connection to them nearly as strongly as in some of the previous books. Please develope this character! She is a hard shelled, soft center cop, let more of her softness & the other characters through, please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally love J D Robbs In Death Series. However, i do agree with another reviewer; this book does not have the same family feel between the characters as the previous books did. That's what kept me a captive audience and had a sista digging deep to pay $14.99 for this book. I miss reading about the interaction between Peabody , Nadine, Mavis, Finney, Dickhead, Morris, McNab Summerset, Roark ans Roarks' family. If having a kid is not in her future; at least keep the family dynamics within the book. Please. That along intertwined with muder is what makes your books a joy to read, and a sista paying $14 bones for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's amazing that this author can write over 40 books with the same characters and each boom be better than the one before it. This is truly THE best series I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is outstanding. Nature vs nuture-theories of why we become what we are. Cold blooded apprentice sniper. The main characters are fantastic along with the story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always look forward to new In Death books . This book was longer than I expected with some characters that I didn't remember from previous books Eve's character seems slightly softer than in previous books but she still kicks butt! Not as much sex, either. All in all a wonderful read. I'm looking forward to the next novel in February. I rarely buy books but I couldn't wait for my library to stock this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all J.D. Robb !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
. . . But still not completely genuine Robb. If you compare with earlier works up to the one that included Rourke's last Christmas party, the differences in style are apparent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eve rides again with all of her crew. Nicely plotted and tightly paced addition to the series, with the added bonus of Bella's first birthday party looming over the murder and mayhem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love catching up with E&R...Everyone else is bonus
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole cast shows up in this novel set in New York in 2016. I don't know how Nora Roberts manages to produce so many and keep the quality up, but this book's plot is engaging and the police work credible. Read the 42 others before you read this, you'll get the most pleasure from it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Death has been one of my favorite reads. Certainly best prolonged series ever. But maybe it's time for it to end. Connections to characters outside of Eve, Roarke and Peabody are slipping away. This series was made by Its magnificent characterizations, and there is little of it left. Even Summerset takes a leave. Galahad is now just a fat cat. Where is Nixie or Jamie, are they ever coming back? Where is real interaction among Feeney, Mavis & Leonardo, Witney, Nadine, Caro, Charles & Louise, Tibble, Morris, Harvo, DeWinter... or even Dickhead Berenski or Trina, etc, etc. Roarke's Irish relatives. Why aren't Peabody and McNab married yet? How about some Baxter & Trueheart action? Why can't Eve be a captain and still go out on cases, Feeney does. And "Hello!" why the hell can't Eve have a baby? The potential for real character development would be amazing! There are lots of slash/maim/rape/torture books out there, in this series there is still the potential for so much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Eve & Roarke?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She never disappoints. Was happy to see all of my favorite people in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks again, J.D. Robb.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emotional and twisted, touching and full of love. As usual, a very good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best one in a while.... Love Dallas and Roarke. Good, gripping storyline and characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JD Robb delivers another page turner. Could not put down the book. Read straight through the night until I finished the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can harldy wait until February for the next in Death book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next book !
neilmak 16 days ago
A cracking, hard-to-put-down read. A text book example of first class thriller writing, where the reader is drawn in and kept captivated by the fast pace of the story. A minor quibble is that the author is not fully conversant with her weaponry: she writes of adjusting the aim of a laser rifle to allow for wind. Not so. A laser is a beam of monochromatic light and as such is not affected by wind. Allowing for windage only applies to the conventional sniper rifle which has a physical bullet...
Anonymous 5 months ago
Love all of Robb's books. Can't be beat.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Nora does it again with a thriller you can't walk away from