Louie Cogburn had spent three days holed up in his apartment, staring at his computer screen. His pounding headache was unbearable-like spikes drilling into his brain. And it was getting worse. Finally, when someone knocked at his door, Louie picked up a baseball bat, opened the door, and started swinging...
The first cop on the scene fired his stunner twice and Louie died instantly. Detective Eve Dallas has taken over the investigation, but there's nothing to explain the man's sudden rage or death. The only clue is a bizarre message left on his computer screen: Absolute Purity Achieved.
And when a second man dies under nearly identical circumstances, Dallas starts racking her brain for answers and for courage to face the impossible...that this might be a computer virus able to spread from machine to man...
About the Author
Date of Birth:1950
Place of Birth:Silver Spring, Maryland
Read an Excerpt
Purity in Death
By J. D. Robb Brilliance Audio
Copyright © 2004 J. D. Robb
All right reserved.
The heat was murder. July flexed her sweaty muscles, eyed the goal, and drop-kicked New York into the sweltering steambath of summer. Some managed to escape, fleeing to their shore homes where they could sip cold drinks and bask in ocean breezes while they did their business via telelink. Some loaded up on supplies and hunkered down inside their air-cooled homes like tribes under siege.
But most just had to live through it.
With humatures into the triple digits, and no end in sight, moods turned surly, deodorants failed, and petty annoyances elbowed even the mildest of souls toward violence.
Emergency medical centers were jammed with the wounded soldiers of summer, 2059. Many who, under normal conditions, wouldn't so much as jaywalk saw the inside of police stations and holding tanks, forced to call lawyers to explain why they had attempted to throttle a co-worker, or shove a complete stranger under the wheels of a Rapid Cab.
Usually, once cooled off, they didn't know why but sat or stood, blank-faced and baffled, like someone coming out of a trance.
But Louie K. Cogburn knew just what he was doing, why he did it, and how he intended to keep right on doing it. He was a small-time illegals dealer who primarily hawked Zoner and Jazz. To increase his profit margin, Louie cut the Zoner with dried grassscored from city parks, and the jazz with baking powder he bought in warehouse-sized bins. His target clientele were middle-class kids between the ages of ten and twelve in the three school districts closest to his Lower East Side apartment.
This cut down on travel time and expense.
He preferred straight middle-class as the poor generally had their own suppliers within the family ranks, and the rich copped to the grass and baking powder too quickly. The target age group fit Louie's brand of logic. He liked to say if you hooked 'em young, you had a client for life.
So far this credo hadn't proved out for him as Louie had yet to maintain a business relationship with a client through high school graduation.
Still, Louie took his business seriously. Every evening when his potential clients were doing their homework, he did his. He was proud of his bookkeeping, and would certainly have earned more per annum as a number cruncher for any mid-level firm then he did dealing. But he was a man who felt real men worked for themselves.
Just lately if there's been a wash of dissatisfaction, a touch of irritability, a jagged edge of despair after he spent an hour running his business programs on his third-hand desktop, he put it off to the heat.
And the headache. The vicious bastard of a headache no does of his own products could ease.
He lost three days of work because the pain had become the focus of his world. He holed up in his studio flop, stewing in the heat, blasting his music to cover up the raging storm in his head.
Somebody was going to pay for it, that's all he knew. Somebody.
Goddamn lazy-assed super hadn't fixed the climate control. He thought this, with growing anger while his beady, reddened eyes scanned numbers. He sat in his underwear, by the single open window of his one-room apartment. No breeze came through it, but the street noise was horrendous. Shouts, horns, squealing tires on pavement.
He turned up the trash rock he played out of his ancient entertainment unit to drown out the noise. To beat at the pain.
Blood trickled out of his nose, but he didn't notice.
Louie K. rubbed a luke-warm bottle of home-brew over his forehead. He wished he had a blaster. If he had a goddamn blaster he'd lean out the goddamn window and take out a goddamn city block.
His most violent act to date had been to kick a delinquent client off his airboard, but the image of death and destruction fueled him now as he sweated ver his books and madness bloomed in his brain like black roses.
His face was pale as wax, rivulets of sweat pouring down from his matter brown hair, streaming down his narrow cheeks. His ears rang and what felt like an ocean of grease swayed in his belly. Heat was making him sick, he thought. He got sick, he lost money. Ought to take it out of the super's hide. Ought to.
His hands trembled as he stared at the screen. Stared at the screen. Couldn't take his eyes from the screen.
He had an image of himself going to the window, climbing out on the ledge, beating his fists at that hot wall of air, at the noise, at the people below. A blaster in his hands, doling out death and destruction as he screamed a t them. Screamed and screamed as he leaped.
He'd land on his feet, and then-
The pounding on his door had him spinning around. With his teeth bared he climbed back in the window.
"Louie K., you asshole! Turn that fucking music down in there!"
"Go to hell," he muttered as he hefted the ball bat he often took to recreation areas to insinuate himself with potential clients. "Go to hell, go to hell. Let's all go to hell."
"You hear me? Goddamn it!"
"Yeah, I hear you." There were spikes, big iron spikes drilling into his brain. He had to get them out. On a thin scream, he dropped the bat to tear at his own hair. But the pounding wouldn't stop.
"Suze is calling the cops. You hear me, Louie? You don't turn that shit down Suze is calling the cops." Each word was punctuated with a fist against the door.
With the music, the pounding, the shouts, the spikes all hammering in his head, the sweat drowning him, Louie picked up the bat again.
He opened the door, and started swinging.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas loitered at her desk. She was stalling, and she wasn't proud of it. The idea of changing into a fancy dress, driving uptown to meet her husband and a group of strangers for a business dinner thinly disguised as a social gathering had all the appeal of climbing in the nearest recycler and turning on Shred.
Right now Cop Central was very appealing.
She'd caught and closed a case that afternoon, so there was paperwork. It wasn't all stalling. But as the bevy of witnesses had all agreed that the guy who'd taken a header off a six-story people glide had been the one who'd started the pushy-shovey match with the two tourists from Toledo, it wasn't much of a time sucker.
For the past several days, every case she'd caught had been a variation on the same theme. Domestics where spouses had battled to the death, street brawls turned lethal, even a deadly combat at a corner glide-cart over ice cones.
Heat made people stupid and mean, she thought, and the combination spilled blood.
She was feeling a little mean herself at the idea of dressing up and spending several hours in some snooty restaurant making small talk with people she didn't know.
That's what you got, she thought in disgust, when you marry a guy who had enough money to buy a couple of continents.
Roarke actually liked evenings like this. The fact that he did never failed to baffle her. He was every bit at home in a five-star restaurant-one he likely owned anyway-nibbling on caviar as he was sitting at home chowing down on a burger.
And she supposed as their marriage was approaching its second year, she'd better stop crabbing about it. Resigned, she pushed back from the desk.
"You're still here." Her aide, Peabody, stopped in the doorway of her office. "I thought you had some fancy dinner deal uptown."
"I got time." A glance at her wrist unit brought on a little tug of guilt. Okay, she was going to be late. But not very. "I just finished up on the glide diver."
Peabody, whose summer blues defied all natural order and managed to stay crisp in the wilting heat, kept her dark eyes sober. "You wouldn't be stalling, would you, Lieutenant?"
"One of the residents of our city, who I am sworn to serve and protect, ended up squished like a bug on Fifth Avenue. I think he deserves an extra thirty minutes of my time."
"It must be really rough, forced to put on a beautiful dress, stick some diamonds or whatever all over you and choke down champagne and lobster croquettes beside the most beautiful man ever born, on or off planet. I don't know how you get through the day with that weight on your shoulders, Dallas."
"And here I am, free to squeeze into the local pizza place with McNab where we will split the pie and the check." Peabody shook her head slowly. The dark bowl of hair under her cap swayed in concert. "I can't tell you how guilty I feel knowing that."
"You looking for trouble, Peabody?"
"No, sir." Peabody did her best to look pious. "Just offering my support and sympathy at this difficult time."
"Kiss ass." Torn between annoyance and amusement, Eve started to shove by. Her desk 'link beeped.
"Shall I get that for you, sir, and tell them you've gone for the day?"
"Didn't I tell you to shut up?" Eve turned back to the desk, took the transmission. "Homicide. Dallas."
She recognized Officer Troy Trueheart's face as it popped on-screen, though she'd never seen its young, All-American features so strained. "Trueheart."
"Lieutenant," he repeated after an audible swallow. "I have an incident. In response to-oh gosh, I killed him."
"Officer." She pulled his location on-screen as she spoke. "Are you on duty?"
"No, sir. Yes, sir. I don't know, exactly."
"Pull yourself together, Trueheart." She slapped out the order, watched his head jerk as if he'd felt it physically.
"Sir. I had just clocked off shift and was on my way home on foot when a female civilian shouted for assistance from a window. I responded. On the fourth floor of the building in question an individual armed with a bat was assaulting the female. Another individual, male, was unconscious or dead in the hallway, bleeding from the head. I entered the apartment where the assault was taking place, and-Lieutenant, I tried to stop him. He was killing her. He turned on me, ignored all warnings and orders to desist. I managed to draw my weapon, to stun. I swear I intended to stun, but he's dead."
"Trueheart, look at me. Listen to me. Secure the building, call in the incident through Dispatch and inform them that you've reported to me and I'm on my way. I'll call for medical assistance. You hold the scene, Trueheart. Hold it by the book. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir. I should've called Dispatch first. I should've-"
"You stand, Trueheart. I'm on the way. Peabody," Eve commanded as she strode out the door.
"Yes, sir. I'm with you."
There were two black-and-whites, nose-to-nose, and a medi-van humped between them at the curb when Eve pulled up. The neighborhood was the type where people scattered rather than gathered when cops showed up, and as a result there was no more than a smattering of gawkers on the sidewalk who had to be told to stay back.
The two uniforms who flanked the entrance eyed her, then exchanged a look. She was brass, and the one who could well put one of their own rank's balls in the blender.
She could feel the chill as she approached.
"Cop shouldn't get hassled by cops for doing the job," one of them muttered.
Eve paused in mid-stride and stared him down.
He saw rank in the form of a long, leanly built woman with eyes of gilded brown that were as flat and expressionless as a snake's as they met his. Her hair, short and choppy, was nearly the same color and framed a narrow face offset by a wide mouth that was now firmed into one thin line. There was a shallow dent in a chin that looked like it could hold its own against a fist.
Under her stare he felt himself shrink.
"Cop shouldn't slap at a cop for doing hers," she said coldly. "You got a problem with me, Officer, wait until I do that job. Then mouth off."
She moved into the shoe box lobby, punched a finger on the Up button of the single elevator. She was already steaming, but it had little to do with the oppressive heat. "What is it with some uniforms that they want to bite your throat when you're rank?"
"It's just nerves, Dallas," Peabody replied as they stepped onto the elevator. "Most of the uniforms out of Central know Trueheart, and you gotta like him. A uniform terminates on his own like this, Testing's going to be brutal."
"Testing's brutal anyway. The best we can do for him is to keep this clean and ordered. He's already screwed up by tagging me before he called it in."
"Is he going to take heat for that? You're the one who pulled him out of the sidewalk scooper detail and into Central last winter. Internal ought to understand-"
"IAB isn't big on understanding. So let's hope it doesn't go there." She stepped off the elevator. Studied the scene.
He'd been smart enough, cop enough, she noted with some relief, not to disturb the bodies. Two men lay sprawled in the corridor, one of them facedown in a pool of congealing blood.
The other was face up, staring with some surprise at the ceiling. Through an open doorway beside the bodies she could hear the sounds of weeping and groaning.
The door across was also open. She noted several fresh holes and dents in the hallway walls, splinters of wallboard, splatters of blood. And what had once been a baseball bat was now a broken club, covered with blood and brain matter.
Straight as a soldier, pale as a ghost, Trueheart stood at the doorway. His eyes still held the glassy edge of shock.
"Hold it together, Trueheart. Record on, Peabody." Eve crouched down to examine the two bodies. The bloodied one was big and beefy, the kind of mixed fat and muscle build that could usually plow through walls if annoyed enough. The back of his skull looked like an egg that had been cracked with a brick.
The second body wore only a pair of grayed Jockey shorts. His thin, bony frame showed no wounds, no bruising, no damage. Thin trickles of blood had seeped out of his ears, his nostrils.
"Officer Trueheart, do we have identification on these individuals?"
"Sir. The, um, initial victim has been identified as Ralph Wooster, who resided in apartment 42E. The man I-" He broke off as Eve's head whipped up, as her eyes drilled into his.
"And the second individual?"
Trueheart wet his lips. "The second individual is identified as Louis K. Cogburn of apartment 43F."
"And who is currently wailing inside apartment 42E?"
"Suzanne Cohen, cohabitation partner of Ralph Wooster. She called for aid out the window of said apartment. Louis Cogburn was assaulting her with what appeared to be a club or bat when I arrived on-scene. At that time-"
He broke off again when Eve held up a finger. "Preliminary examination of victims indicates a mixed-race male-mid-thirties, approximately two hundred and thirty pounds, approximately six foot one-has suffered severe trauma to head, face, and body. A bat, apparently wooden, and marked with blood and brain matter would appear to be the assault weapon.
Excerpted from Purity in Death by J. D. Robb Copyright © 2004 by J. D. Robb. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I completely disagree with the critic that wrote that this book in her JD Robb series is sluggish. It's one of the best of the series in my opionion. I loved it. It is fast paced and fun. She throws in just enough humor to off-set the grimness of the murders. I don't know if it's the best of the 15, but it's definatly in the top 3. If you like any of the Eve Dallas books, you will certainly like this one. I love these books so much that I keep them and re-read them when I run out of good books to read. The only problem I have with these books is they keep disappearing as people want to borrow and read them all the time..:) It's another Nora Roberts winner. It is worth buying...:)
I don't understand how Nora Roberts just keeps getting better and better. This is the 15th book in this series and I have/love them all. I've been saying that everytime I get a new book I will read it slowly. I will savor it. This time I read the whole book in less than 24 hours, one big gulp! I don't care. It was worth it. I can read it again and again and still have so much to savor. I really hope the publisher lets her come out with more than two a year. I get edgy towards the end of the six months waiting for the next book to come out. What will Mavis and Leonardo's baby be like? When will Eve and Roarke start on their own bundle of joy? When will Ian and Delia get married? Oh, just get all 15 books, start with number one and by the time you've read all the way through to this one, you will be as hooked as any Eve and Roarke fan. I loved it!
I love this series. They never fail to capture me and I can't put them down.
The book's plot was so very different but very engrossing. Always enjoy reading about Roark and Eve and this was no different. Very enjoyable read.
The book's pretty cool but somehow lacks some pizzaz, unlike some of her earlier ones. The marriage between Dallas and Roarke is explored further. The one I'm interested in is the adding of Jamie Lingstrom into the picture. Hopefully some new developments there. I like how she brings old characters into the new books. Jamie as J.D Robb fans know, was introduced in Ceremony in Death. For old-time fans, the book's great! But if you wanna introduce a friend to the book, maybe Naked in death is the best way to go. Or Seduction in Death. One of my faves. =)
If you have ever read any other of her In Death series you will already know this is an excellent book. The story was captivating because computer viruses can happen in today's world. All in all the characters of Eve, Roarke and Peobody were realy great! I was sad to see it end.
I absolutely loved this book. I have read the entire series, and I have to say that this is my absolute favorite yet. And they just keep getting better and better!! Can't wait for the next one. A definite read!! Keep up the good work Nora!!!!!
I am disappointed...disappointed that I have to wait another six months for another awesome J.D.Robb book. I loved this book, and it definitely tugged at my heart, as all of these books do. I love how Robb introduces her characters. Hint for people who aren't familar with this series: start with the first one and continue.
This is an entertainment piece the likes of which I have not seen since '1984'. The book speeds up after a child molester is killed leaving the message on him, revealing the theme of the book which clues the reader very well and draws you in. By no means is this a dark or morbid piece, very gripping read.
The summer of 2059 in New York is brutal and tempers are flaring over trifling things. The New York Police and Security Department are kept busy leading to Lieutenant Eve Dallas reaching the end of her rope. When Louis Cogburn, a low level drug dealer who sells to children, suddenly goes berserk killing someone and injuring another person before he dies Eve catches the case. At the scene of the blood bath she notices that on Louis¿s computer is the message ¿ABSOLUTE PURITY ACHIEVED¿. She orders the computer brought to headquarters where an officer specializing in computers examines it. Eight hours later the officer goes berserk, killing a peer and injuring another before he¿s killed. Eve immediately realizes that a virus on the computer is being passed on to humans, causing them to die. The Purity Seekers, an organization dedicated to destroying those who hurt the innocents takes credit for Louis¿s death. When a pediophile is found dead with the same message on it as Louis received, Eve realizes she has to smoke out the terrorists fast before they mete out their own brand of vigilante justice. This is the fifteenth in the Death series and it is as fresh and innovative as the first book in this ongoing saga. The characters are growing and evolving with readers liking even the secondary cast almost as much as they adore the hero and heroine. In PURITY IN DEATH, the heroine¿s husband provides technical advice to Eve, but this time she figures out who the terrorists are and brings them to justice. J.D. Robb has written another fantastic futuristic romantic thriller. Harriet Klausner
This book in far enough into THE series that we are dealing with well established characters and relationships but the case is compelling and believable as is feelings it evokes in the characters as well as the readers. The plot twist comes out of left field and hits home.
Summer in New York is a sweltering, gritty mess of short tempers and hot pavement. The first death is bloody, violent, and impacts one of Eve's own. She knows somethings off, but what? As more of the city's best known deviants start going messily crazy and offing themselves, Eve finds herself bucking public opinion and political maneuvering as she and her team track a group of killers intent on purifying the city.Fast and furious with a couple of interesting twists.
My ticket for entry into The Dirty Secrets Club is that I am totally addicted to the Eve Dallas ¿in Death¿ series. This one continued the roller coaster ride we always have with all our favorite characters on hand including a brief ¿cameo¿ with Mavis who has astonishing news! The story is an intriguing one¿if somewhat far-fetched. But hey, this should probably be classified as fantasy, anyway. Or would that be Science Fiction? We learn more about several of the characters in the process of watching Eve Dallas pursue the bad guys¿even though these bad guys seem to be targeting other bad guys. This is a satisfying entry in the series that gives a whole new meaning to the term ¿Computer Virus.¿ Recommended, especially for fans-- IMO this series benefits from being read in order because of the dynamics of the characters.
This is, if I'm not mistaken, the 17th in the series. I could very well be mistaken, however, since I messed up the order. The last book I read in this re-read was Seduction in Death. For some reason, I put Portrait in Death on my TBR pile as the next one. I started reading it, found a reference to something that happened in Purity in Death, so I put it down and picked this one up. I completely forgot about re-reading Reunion in Death. I'm not sure I will, now that I'm already out of order. I'm getting a little tired of re-reading them, to tell you the truth.But not this one. This, I think, is one of the best of the series.Purity in Death starts with a panicky call from Trueheart saying he's killed a man. Turns out the man had actually been killed by a computer virus--infected deliberately by a vigilante group called The Purity Seekers.Ignoring the mechanics of how the computer infected his brain, this book is just jam-packed with good stuff. There's a good mystery, with some unexpected twists, there are developments in the ongoing relationships (including announcement of Mavis's pregnancy), there's an injury--possibly permanent--to one of the team, life-and-death danger to another, political intrigue, and the thought-provoking question of vigilantism.I loved the intensity of this book, both the tension resulting from the mystery plot, and that resulting from Eve's emotions. She's come a long way in 17 stories, going from being mostly a loner with all emotions kept tightly under lock & key to a person with a lot of people in her life who she cares about.
I really enjoyed the storyline and found it to be quite an interesting take on taking the law into your own hands. I continue to enjoy the relationship between Eve and Roarke as well as Eve's ability to accept the idea of family. I can't wait to see how a baby will work into future books.
I'm beginning to have a harder time reviewing these books as I read farther along in this series. This review is probably going to be spoiler-heavy so for those of you who haven't read this series or aren't as far into this series: STOP HERE!Okay in this latest installment Eve is up against something completely new to her. A computer virus is killing people by causing their brain to swell and expand until it basically pops. Gruesome, I know. This was such a strong book in this series because again we see Eve grow plus we also get to see Peabody and McNab's relationship grow. Awwww! I love that these two are together and like their sidestory just as much as I enjoy the main relationship between Eve and Roarke. Robb continues to keep me hooked into the mystery that is going on as well as keeping my sucked into Eve's world. I can just picture this futuristic world that Eve has created. I love going to "visit" because it feels like I get to see old friends with each books in this series. I'm looking forward to the next one but I probably won't get to it for awhile as I have a bunch of other books on my plate. As they say, "So many books, so little time." That's the truth especially when you have a toddling or running (whichever she seems to prefer) almost 1 year old. It is amazing that I can do any reading at all :)
Purity in Death by J. D. RobbThe not too distant future is the setting for Lt. Eve Dallas and her adventures. The entire series I have read so far is focused on homicide and the mystery that surrounds each murder. A vigilante group decides to cleanse the lurid streets of NY of what they consider predators. The trouble is they have substantial collateral damage. Dallas is a firm believer is justice. Roarke, her husband, feels that justice may often be served by those outside of the judicial process. He may be influencing Dallas. She uses his considerable talent and expertise in socially unacceptable skills to help her solve this mystery. I do like the loyalty that Dallas shows to her staff and the resultant loyalty that is returned. The emotional interplay is the key to success in this series. I recommend the book and the series.
This is one of the more interesting installments of the In Death series because Robb takes readers more emphatically into the future and more serious topics than before. Though the books take place about 50 years or so from now, most of the world is still familiar. But in this case, a clever computer virus actually infects people - and kills them. Naturally, the computer aspect of the case draws Roarke in, and gives some limelight to Peabody's beau, McNab. The high profile of computer technology showcases the future more than in previous novels.Robb also tackles an issue that is quite relevant today - terrorism. A group of radicals, fighting for a cause, has unleashed the virus to kill criminals. But, while investigating the case a police officer is unintentionally killed by it. The media jumps into the fray condemning the group and following Eve in her pursuit. The case raises questions about the morality of vigilantism, the use of a "cause" to cover criminal activities and collateral damage. Robb has gone way beyond your typical romance novel. The ever-evoloving relationship between Roarke and Eve provides some lighter moments, as well as some steamy scenes, to a darker mystery. Highly recommended.
Just the right amount of the team in it. What a association of pure sociopaths for some of the upper crust ha. Great job.
As usual a great plot.
. . . and this time is my third expedition into reading all the IN DEATH books in order. When I like a book and take time to review it, I will usually call to the copy editor's attention one of the little mistakes in the book that cause attentive readers and English majors to grind their teeth. The following error was made in both this book and the one that precedes it. The words cache and cachet are not interchangeable. A CACHE is a secret stash. It is pronounced "CASH." The floorboard under which a bank robber hides his stolen money is his CACHE. CACHET is a French term meaning a certain distinction or flair. It is pronounced "cash-SHAY." When a society matron manages to snare a popular celebrity for her soiree, it lends the evening a certain CACHET. Okay, my English teacher instincts have been sated.
Always excellent. Enjoyed reading it.
Always enjoy this author for easy but thoughtful reads.