J.D. Robb’s series about New York City homicide detective Eve Dallas is formulaic as hell, but this one reminded me why I’m still reading. It hit every single checkmark on my previously written bullet list, plus a couple I had forgotten, but it was still a fine read. In this one, Eve’s partner Peabody stumbled across a ring of corrupt cops, and the two have to work together with Internal Affairs to take down a wicked lady cop. There’s lots of trap-setting and secret-keeping, but I think what made the story more compelling was Eve’s new habit of self-reflection. She, the daughter of a horrible abusive jerk, survived and overcame her upbringing to make herself into the strong, worthwhile citizen that she is. The crooked cop, however, is the daughter of a retired police commander, who took her privileged upbringing and all her opportunities and used them to line her own pockets, quietly having anyone who got in her way (including cops in her own squad) bumped off. Eve sees their similarities and differences and reflects on how differently her life could have gone, and she takes a step back and sees how the people she has come to depend on have made her a better person and a better cop. Kind of smarmy, sure, but it’s a nice change from the usually tough-as-nails, “I’ll do this my way, on my own” detective. There’s not much a mystery to this one, since we know who the bad guy is right away, but it’s cool to watch them gather evidence and build the case without alerting any of the bad guys that they’re on to them.