Revenge in Robbs book 50 years in the making

After a short break from grisly crime novels, I decided to select JD Robbs’ “Brotherhood In Death,” and it provided some of the most disturbing scenarios I’ve read in a long time.

Dennis Mira has been assaulted and his cousin Edward Mira is missing. When no ransom arrives NYPD Lt. Eve Dallas fears the worst. She soon learns that Edward may have been rich and powerful, but he wasn’t well liked.

When Eve and Detective Peabody return to the house, they discover Edward’s naked body hanging from a chandelier. He had been beaten, tortured and was alive when he was hanged. This was a very personal attack intended to make the victim suffer terribly.

Even at 70, Edward had regular trysts with various young women. Could an angry husband or boyfriend have done this? An autopsy reveals that some of the bruising was caused by the pointed toe of a woman’s shoe. So Eve must focus on finding one or more women who’d want Edward dead.

Within days, Jonas Wymann is found hanging in his foyer. His body shows the same torture as Edward’s.

The greatest connect is the men attended Yale together. After ferreting out the names of Edward’s most recent conquests, Eve pays each one a visit. While a couple are genuinely shocked, Eve is sure that three of the women are hiding something. Eve’s personal experiences tell her that these women have suffered some type of abuse, probably rape. With no other leads, she has her team focus on them.

When she finds that each of them was once a student at Yale, but dropped out then sought therapy and other forms of emotional support. The two dead men graduated from Yale 50 years ago, yet that was the one common thread. Some key information found during autopsy convinces her that these men were part of a college “brotherhood” — one that had done terrible things to young women and somehow managed to continue their behavior ever since.

Now their victims have turned the tables and are inflicting on them the same horrors they endured. While Eve does understand their deed for “justice” she must stand for those that have been killed. She also understands why the women didn’t seek help from the police. Who would take the word of a few women over wealthy and powerful men?

With a little help from her husband Roarke, Eve finds the evidence she needs to crack the case. The Brotherhood formed at Yale and once a year they would bring a young woman to their house, restrain her, drug her and repeatedly rape and debase her. Then they’d clean her up, dump her on campus knowing that the drugs would leave her with no memory of the attack. They tried to carry on, but the memories surfaced bringing nightmares and social dysfunction, ruining their lives.

Somehow these women had found each other and made a plan to take revenge on the five remaining “brothers.” Eve agrees with Peabody’s comment that their revenge will only widen their wounds, not heal them. Although she wishes she’d been able to intercept them before things got this far, she’ll do what the law demands.

When Fred Betz and Marshall Easterday go missing, Eve knows the odds of finding them alive aren’t good, but pulls out all the stops, including Roarke’s copter.

The ultimate take down was a bit anti-climactic, but the final pages speak volumes about victims, predators and justice.


BOOK: “Brotherhood In Death”



PUBLISHED: Feb. 2, 2016

PAGES: 389