Plot SummaryEdit

When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a fresh body in a seedy alleyway in downtown Manhattan, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—initials inside reading “E” and “D”.

In Arkansas, Ella-Loo and her recently released ex-con boyfriend, Darryl, don’t ever intend to part again. So they hit the road, but then things get a little messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lt. Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And, with her husband Roarke at her side, Eve has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve…


Please reference the Devoted in Death Map for locations or approximate locations of sites listed here.


“The NYPSD identified, located and apprehended the two individuals who cut a bloody swath across the country. Two individuals who took at least twenty-four lives since they began their murderous spree in August of last year. The feds can have their bite of the credit,” Whitney concluded, “but they won’t take the whole pie.” – Devoted in Death[1]

Story Start Date: mid-January 2061[2]


  • Ella-Loo Parsens knew she was made for something more than selling beer and giving blow-jobs in Dry Creek, Oklahoma, and when Darryl Roy James walked through the saloon doors it was love at first sight.
  • They took off together: "drove fast, spent lavishly, stole when the mood struck, and fucked like a pair of rabid minks at every opportunity."
  • The armed robbery he attempted – trying to get Ella-Loo an engagement ring – landed him in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary for four years but Ella-Loo waited.
  • The baby she bore – conceived during the weekly conjugal visit – got dumped on the grandma.
  • When he got out, she was waiting and they were off again. Heading to the Atlantic this time, and New York City.
  • When their stolen truck finally died, she lured a Good Samaritan into stopping. It was the old man's own fault that he resisted and Darryl had to beat him to death. Then they had glorious, feral sex in celebration.
  • "The first kill, mostly an accident, took place on a hot night in August. By the time they arrived in New York, in mid-January, their tally was up to twenty-nine."

Day 1Edit

  • The icy mid-January weather wasn't bothering Dorian Kuper, the dead body wrapped in plastic and dumped in Mechanics Alley on the Lower East Side. Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her partner, Detective Delia Peabody, see plenty of evidence of torture before the long knife-wound across the abdomen killed him. Under one arm, Dallas spots something carved into his skin: a heart enclosing an E over a D.
  • They go through Dorian's apartment "in a tony area of the Upper West Side" but find nothing relevant.
  • They notify his mother, who cannot think of anyone who would want Dorian hurt or dead.
  • At the morgue, ME Morris sums up the injuries over two days of torture.
    • He also suggests that the heart was carved by two people “like lovers carve a heart and their initials into a tree” as foreplay.
  • Detectives interview family, friends, neighbors, and associates from the orchestra in which Dorian played – especially the "E" names – without getting much. Basically, Dorian was a "nice guy, lots of friends, loved his mother", talented musician, no vices, no secrets worth killing over.
  • Mira gives her input as Dallas sets up the murder board in her office. She opines that Dorian was a random choice by a pair of sexual sadists: "The heart symbolizes love, unity. They believe themselves in love, and the victim is a gift to each other."
  • IRCCA yields many crimes like this one but with some narrowing, they identify 20 homicides from Tennessee to New Jersey. The pair are moving northeast and escalating, and no doubt additional victims were not found. Dallas thinks they were heading for New York but she doesn't know why.
  • Detective Baxter is nervous because his trainee, Officer Trueheart, is taking the detective's exam in a few days.
  • Peabody reaches out to the FBI agent on the serial murders, Carl Zweck, but "reams of reports and federal doublespeak" haven't gotten her much. Peabody and Dallas also work through the IRCCA cases, talking to the detectives in charge.
  • Dallas is trying to work out where they started, because it wasn't Tennessee.
  • Dallas figures out the area where Dorian was snatched. She and Peabody find a person who noticed a vehicle that night: the perps had used the classic ploy of a woman trying to get a big chair into the back of a van.
  • At the end of the day, Dallas goes home and has a session with Master Lu in the dojo that Roarke built as a Christmas present while they were on vacation.
  • Over wine and a meal, Eve tells Roarke about the pair: capture a person alone, transport him to a vacant location, torture and kill, wrap in plastic and dump, clean up, take his valuables and vehicle, and move on. A man and a woman, linked sexually and romantically. They're ordinary, young adults, careful, organized, and lucky.
  • Roarke generates three probable routes for the pair to have taken before Tennessee then up to New York. They plug in unsolved cases and missing persons along the routes.
    • As she works, Eve knows that they'll be hunting again soon.

Day 2Edit

  • During breakfast, Dispatch calls Eve: Jayla Campbell has been reported missing. Eve had flagged missing persons over age 16, in the hopes that she'd get a head start on the perps when they take another person.
  • Dallas drives through the January snow to interview Jayla's roommate. McNab determines where Jayla was when she last called her roommate.
  • Beat droids start canvassing the highest probability area, looking for businesses that might have served the unsubs and buildings they might be using.
  • McNab begins a map of places where the killing pair are operating.
  • Deputy Sheriff Will Banner has come all the way from Arkansas to talk to Dallas. He has a case he's been trying to work on with FBI agent Zweck but the FBI doesn't agree that it fits in. He hopes Dallas will see it his way – and she does.
    • He has a list he's been working on since August. His list and Dallas's list look a lot alike.
    • Banner talks relatives into exhuming bodies in two cases that he and Dallas agree are the E-and-D killers.
    • Dallas clears the cooperation with Commander Whitney.
  • There's a two-day deadline to find Jayla, so Dallas brings in Detectives Carmichael and Santiago. She sends them down to the Arkansas-Oklahoma border to investigate what she and Banner think is the first killing.
  • Dallas solicits Mira's advice on where the killers might be holed up – location and type of unit.
  • Banner is going to bunk at Eve's house, but on the way home they eliminate two locations that the unsubs could be using, based on the missing persons list.
  • Eve has a spat with Roarke – he was not happy to find an armed cop unexpectedly wandering around his house, because Eve kept forgetting to text him about putting Banner up. Then the team brainstorms angles.
  • Jayla, in pain, hears the two monsters talk of grabbing another victim and bringing rape into the mix. When she next wakes up, Reed Aaron Mulligan is unconscious on the floor.
  • Preliminary reports from DeWinter and Morris agree that the two exhumations fit the profile of the devoted killers – extended torture, death was not natural.
  • Well after 1am, Eve and Roarke make love and fall asleep.

Day 3Edit

  • At 4:18 am, Dispatch awakens Eve with another missing persons flag: Reed Aaron Mulligan.
    • Dallas and Roarke talk to his mother and friends, and discover that the female unsub's voice was recorded during a link transmission.
    • On foot, they trace Reed's likely movements and find the loading dock where they must have gotten him. The loading dock camera gives them some physical descriptions and a line on the van.
  • Banner starts working on souvenir shops, pawnshops, and takeaway restaurants inside the probable operation area.
  • Jayla and Reed are doing what they must, to stay alive.
  • The case is starting to break: a beat droid finds a coffee shop the male used, the NYPSD detectives in Arkansas get a lead on the broken-down truck found at the first death site, Roarke gets the data on the (stolen) van at the loading dock so an APB goes out.
  • Carmichael and Santiago have a name to go with the broken-down truck: Darryl Roy James. That leads to his child, which yields another name: Ella-Loo Parsens. The detectives head to Oklahoma.
  • For Jayla, time is an agonizing blur but she and Reed are still alive.
  • Positive IDs at a pawnshop and a pizzeria help them narrow the map. “Getting closer, you fuckers. Getting closer every minute.”
  • Mira has the final report on the two exhumations: murder by the spree killers. An exhumation request is in process for another from Banner's list.
    • Dallas wrestles with a decision: to release Ella-Loo's and Darryl's pictures and risk them running, or hold the information back and risk missing data from witnesses who have seen them?
    • Mira agrees with Dallas's wish to delay sending information to the FBI, because that will just slow everything down.
  • More sightings in the area: Chinese take-out place, a hardware store, a couple of clothing shops.
  • Eve drags herself home, craving the quiet. Roarke can see the weight she carries, for the two people they're looking for so hard. They take an hour together in the pool and lagoon, to decompress, as Mira had suggested.
  • The FBI is dragging its feet on the data from Dallas's team, which steams Special Agent Zweck.
  • After a briefing with deep background on Darryl and Ella-Loo, the team divides up tasks.
  • Dallas and Roarke go out to drive around the sector where she thinks they're "nesting".
    • Bella's first birthday is coming up. Eve is a little scared at the thought of Mavis planning a party.
    • They investigate parking lots in that area, looking for the van and the suspects.
  • They find the van, and it's full of evidence tying the couple in.
  • That parking lot services three apartment buildings, and cops go door-to-door on the pretense of looking for a missing toddler. All tenants accounted for, but they're close.
  • At 3:30 in the morning Roarke carries Eve into the house. They find Banner, Peabody, and McNab asleep in the home office and send them to bed.

Day 4Edit

  • Eve tries to sleep, but her restless dreams are filled with the dead.
  • Peabody is up early, too. She has a John Doe floater that might be relevant, and Dallas asks Morris to expedite DNA testing for identification.
    • Dallas thinks the spree killers are using the John Doe's house for their nest. This buzzes for her, "right down to her fingertips."
    • She starts putting together an op, so they'll be ready when the ID comes in.
  • Morris has an ID and what remains of a half-eaten-by-fish heart on the John Doe. That means they now have a possible address for the nest.
  • Reed is awake and trying to keep Jayla from slipping away.
  • The police hit the door in a coordinated attack.
    • Peabody and Uniform Carmichael locate and secure the victims.
    • Ella-Loo attacks Dallas with broken bottle and a knife, but ends up cuffed and screaming for Darryl.
    • Darryl takes on Roarke, with similar success: unconscious and restrained on the floor.
    • The MTs race away with Jayla and Reed.
    • The sweepers move in on the apartment and its motherlode of evidence.
  • Zweck, obviously "steamed", tells Dallas that he knows "who balled things up" at the FBI and there will be trouble. He will ensure that Dallas and Banner both get shots at the pair, although he is sure they will end up in federal cages "for the rest of their sick, twisted lives".
  • Dallas, Banner, and Peabody destroy them in interview, then Zweck steps in for the federal arrest.
  • Jayla and Reed are going to survive, and they are surrounded by family, friends, and professionals who will help them live with what happened.
  • Dallas breaks the news: Trueheart passed the detective's exam with flying colors. Drinks at the Blue Line bar!

Memorable QuotesEdit

Dallas, on symbols that are misused:

  • [Dallas:] “People defile and despoil what’s good and pure and special every single fucking day. We see it, we know it, we deal with it.”
  • {Peabody:] “I know, but —”
  • [Dallas:] “Shut up. You think about this. When some sick fuck uses what’s good and pure and special in his sick-fuck way, it just makes the symbol stronger and more important. It doesn’t lessen it one damn bit, unless you let it.” [3]

Dallas, on a sleezy, nasty witness:

  • “A skeeze (she kind of liked the word), a fuckhead, a dickwad. He’s all of that and a bag of rice cakes.”
  • “Chips. It’s a bag of chips,” Peabody told her.
  • “Chips are good. Rice cakes are crap. He doesn’t get chips.”
  • “Oh.” Peabody frowned over it before she nodded. “That makes sense.”[4]

Roarke, on Eve's Marriage Rules:

  • “You’re fond of your Marriage Rules, so add this to them. If and when you’ve the inclination to host a complete stranger to me, you don’t forget to let me know. As the next time, I might stun first, ask questions later. I’m firm on that one.”
  • “I suck at it, you know I do. I don’t get why you keep getting pissed that I suck at it.”
  • “You don’t, so when you do something that sucks, as you say, it’s very annoying.”[5]

Roarke, on how the Earth moves around the Sun:

  • [Roarke, to Eve:] “Who are you tagging at this hour?”
  • [Eve:] “Carmichael. She and Santiago can get started.”
  • “Eve, it’s still shy of five in the morning there.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Well, the magic elephant who carries the wide dish of the planet on its massive back moves ponderously on its daily trek around the sun.”
  • “Oh, bite me.” But the image he’d painted made as much sense to her as the scientific one. She decided to give her detectives another thirty minutes in the rack.[6]

Character ListEdit

List of Main Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

List of Secondary Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

List of Recurring Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

List of Minor Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

  • William T. Banner – deputy sheriff of Silby’s Pond, Arkansas
  • FBI Special Agent Carl Zweck

Footnotes Edit

  1. Devoted in Death, Chapter 22.
  2. Devoted in Death, Chapter 1.
  3. Obsession in Death, Chapter 3.
  4. Devoted in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27914-4), p. 120.
  5. Devoted in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27914-4), p. 164.
  6. Devoted in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27914-4), p. 189.
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