Plot SummaryEdit

In the latest novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author J.D. Robb, it is game over for the criminals pursued by NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world, to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king, in his company's latest top-secret project, Fantastical.

The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game....

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a prob­lem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks-as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U- Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death....

- Amazon


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


Story Dates: June 23-29, 2060[1]

Day 1 (June 23, 2060)Edit

A little before 4:30 p.m. — Apartment of Bart Minnock

  • Bart Minnock walks home during a thunderstorm, greets the doorman Jackie and goes up to his apartment.
  • His Princess Leia droid greets him and reminds him he has a date with CeeCee.  After they talk, he tells her to shut down for the night.
  • Taking the disk of Fantastical Bart goes into his holo-room. He plays the game as Tor, rightful king of Juno, and meets the evil Lord Manx.
  • Bart battles Lord Manx, who injures him. For a second, Bart feels surprised by the pain he feels from his injuries. Then Lord Manx delivers a final blow with his sword.
    • Game over for Bart.

Day 2 (June 24, 2060)Edit

Morning — after 9 a.m. — Apartment of Bart Minnock

  • Eve and Peabody enter Bart’s holo-room and see his beheaded body with a gash on the left forearm.
  • Peabody finds that game disk will not run.
  • Eve talks to CeeCee Rove, who found Bart’s body when she came to confront him after he didn’t show up for their dinner date.  CeeCee says Bart was well-liked and can’t think of anyone who would want to kill him.
  • Eve begins a search of Bart’s apartment, noticing the adolescent-like colors and furnishings.  
  • Peabody reports that the droid reactivated automatically at 9 a.m., and that she has sent for sweepers and EDD to remove the disk from the holo-room.
  • Eve notifies victim’s parents by link.
  • Feeney, McNab, and Callendar come onto scene and are excited by the e-toys and gaming equipment.  They go up to work in the holo-room.
  • Medical Examiner Morris arrives to examine body.
  • Eve notes that CeeCee didn’t have enough muscle to kill the victim and that the holo-room logs show that no one else entered or left after Bart went in to play.

Later that morning –offices of U-Play

  • Eve and Peabody get their first look at the converted warehouse offices of U-Play. They are struck by the noise and activity.  Eve calls it “Nerd World in the Geek Galaxy.”
    • When they ask for the person in charge, they’re directed to Benny Leman, one of U-Play’s four partners.
    • After Eve tells Benny about Bart’s death, he collapses onto the floor. 
  • Another partner, Cilla Allen, (also called Cill or Cilly),  joins them. Her immediate reaction to the news is denial, but then she recognizes Eve as “Roarke’s cop.” She finds LeVar Hoyt (called Var), the third partner, and the three meet with Eve and Peabody in the break room.  Var also expresses disbelief that Bart is dead.
  • The partners learn that Bart was beheaded in the holo-room.
  • At Eve’s request, they provide their whereabouts between 3 and 6 p.m. the previous day. Cill left at 6 p.m., Var at 6:30 and Benny worked late and spent the night in the office.
  • They tell Eve that Bart probably took a copy of their new game home to play and test the previous day, but Var is unable to find a record of it.  
    • Var is reluctant to give Eve copies of the program the company has been working on; he asks her to wait until the remaining partners have talked among themselves and with their lawyer. She agrees to wait for a little while.
  • Var tells Eve that Benny, Cill and Bart were friends before he met them in college.
  • Feeney calls Eve and tells her the name of the game in Bart’s holo-unit was Fantastical, but the game disk was destroyed as they tried to take it out. She asks Feeney to send a team to pick up Bart’s work computer.
  • Since U-Play has over 70 employees who need to be interviewed, Eve calls in Feeney, McNab and Callendar to assist her and Peabody with the interviews. 
  • Eve returns to talk with the three partners. They describe Fantastical’s unique sensory and interactive capabilities, and tell Eve it will make U-Play a major player in the gaming world, on par with SimUlate. If word gets out prematurely about its capabilities, however, it could ruin the company.
    • During the discussion, Eve discovers that Roarke had wanted to recruit Bart and his friends to work for him, but failing that, helped them with some advice as they built their company. 
  • Eve calls Roarke to tell him about Bart’s death. Roarke, upset, offers his assistance.
  • Eve checks in with Morris, who tells her that Bart seems to have been killed with a stroke from a large sword. Morris also detected some kind of electrical burns along the wound.
  • Eve speculates that the murder was done by one of Bart's partners, or by some other e-geek whom he trusted with information about the game.
  • During Eve’s interviews with U-Play employees, she questions Roland Chadwick, who eventually admits to sharing some information about Fantastical with his part-time co-hab Milton Dubrosky, who has done time for e-theft. 
  • Eve sends Chadwick into Central for further interview and orders that Dubrosky be picked up as well.
  • Roarke comes in to U-Play and Eve comforts him. They discuss Fantastical and the fact that Roarke’s companies are developing similar technology.  Before Eve leaves, Roarke offers to work with Feeney.

Later that day — Cop Central

  • Eve and Peabody take Chadwick in Interview, with Eve playing bad cop. He faints when he sees a picture of Bart after his murder, and Peabody plays good cop as he comes around.  Eve storms out of the interview room.
  • Eve takes Milt Dubrosky in interview. He tries to flirt with her.  He eventually admits that he’s seeing one woman and living with another part time while also living part time with Chadwick.  Dubrosky admits to selling information he’s gained from Chadwick, but denies any involvement with Bart’s death.  
  • Peabody reports that Chadwick has admitted sharing all the information he had on Fantastical with Dubrosky.
  • Eve sends Peabody out to talk with Dubrosky’s two female friends.
  • When Eve calls Roarke to ask him about Lane DuVaugne, vice president of Synch Entertainment, he comes down from EDD to talk with her.  She does a run on DuVaugne and Synch.
  • When Roarke comes in, he tells Eve he wants some of her candy.  She retrieves it from her new hiding place, the front panel of her recycler.  Roarke, after considering where it came from, decides to eat it anyway.
    • Roarke tells Eve he thought about buying Synch the previous year, but decided against it because the company was in trouble.
    • Eve says that DuVaugne, a vice president at Synch, paid Dubrosky $150,000 for information on Fantastical. Roarke says that would make him a hero at his company.
    • They discuss the fact that DuVaugne has just married a new, young wife, and Eve tells Roarke to remember that she carries a gun if he ever gets a similar idea.
    • Although Roarke wants to come with Eve to interview DuVaugne, she tells him he cannot because he is a competitor.  She agrees that he can go with her to Bart’s apartment later, however.

Still later on Day 2 – At the morgue

  • En route to the morgue, Peabody talks about Dubrosky’s three lovers and starts speculating on whether or not men’s penises and women’s vaginas ever get tired.  Their conversation plants some interesting images in Eve’s mind.
    • At the morgue, Morris shows Eve the burns that were found along the various wounds on Bart’s body, telling her that they became increasingly severe.  The longer Bart played, the greater the electrical shock as he was wounded. Eve says that the sword itself must have carried a charge.  

At DuVaugne’s home

  • On their way to the DuVaugne residence, Peabody tells Eve about game cons (conventions) and the weapons (play, prop and virtual) sold there.  Eve realizes an electrified sword would be very popular there. 
    • They arrive at DuVaugne’s ultra-modern, three-story building.  After a brief hassle with the computer/security system, Eve and Peabody are admitted into DuVaugne’s residence, where they are met by a droid, Derby, who looks like Summerset’s brother.  They are asked to wait in an uncomfortable, trendy antechamber.
    • DuVaugne and his wife come out and Eve tells them she is investigating Bart’s murder.. DuVaugne is brusque, but his wife Taija, whose Bronx accent betrays her background, tries to be more hospitable.  
    • DuVaugne is insulted when Eve asks his whereabouts at the time of the murder, but Taija tries to soothe him. She goes to get him a martini. During her absence, Eve tells DuVaugne that they know he has bought information from Dubrosky.  After they read him his rights, he says he wants a lawyer. 
    • Taija reenters briefly with drinks, but DuVaugne tells her to go upstairs because he’s talking business.
    • He denies having anything to do with Bart’s murder.  Eve says since he paid for information, he could have paid to have Bart killed. 
    • DuVaugne says that Dubrosky originally told him he was developing the game technology himself, and much later admitted it was stolen from U-Play. He says Dubrosky then blackmailed him, since it would look as though he had hired Dubrosky to steal the information.
    • When Eve and Peabody both express disbelief in this story, DuVaugne says it’s just business.  Eve says it’s theft, and arrests him.

Late afternoon - Cop Central

  • Eve tags Roarke to let him know she’s back, then writes her report.  She sets up her murder board and does some thinking.  She and Roarke then leave for another walk through of the murder scene.

Late afternoon - Bart’s apartment building

  • Roarke drives as Eve calls the lawyer who represented both Bart and U-Play.  Eve notes that Bart’s share of U-Play will be divided among his partners.  They discuss the impact Bart’s death will have on the company—more attention for it short term, but a loss in the long term.
    • They discuss game weapons.  Although Eve likes playing and competing, she doesn’t understand the need to take the fantasy further through costumes, game weapons and recreating game settings. 
    • Roarke tells her there’s no electrified game sword on the market that would cause the kind of injury that Bart suffered.
    • Eve says there was gamesmanship involved in the murder and she has to figure out what the murderer gained by winning the game.
  • At Bart’s apartment, they are greeted by the doorman. In answer to Eve’s questions, he tells her that Bart was close to the Sing brothers and the Trevor boy. 
  • Eve and Roarke go to the Sing’s apartment, where they talk with David Sing and are served tea by the children’s nanny, Min.  Sing tells them that the children are upset by the death of their friend.
    • As Sing goes upstairs to get his wife and children, Eve tells Roarke she wants him to talk to the children, but he says he’s just a civilian.
    • Susan Sing and the Sing children Steven and Michael come in with David Sing.
    • The children tell Eve they used to go up to play games with Bart.  They say that Bart had told them there would be a new game to play soon, the best game ever. 
  • Eve and Roarke go to Bart’s apartment and Eve tries to recreate Bart’s movements the previous evening. She speculates he may have let his killer in to play.
    • Eve says the Sing children could not have been involved in the murder. She and Roarke talk about them, and about children like Bart who have grown up in loving homes.  It makes them trusting—too trusting.
    • Roarke asks if she is worried about the kind of family that they-a cop and a criminal-would have.  She says she worries about having more rules to learn, since she hasn’t mastered the marriage ones yet.
  • Moving on, Eve continues to speculate on who was playing with Bart and narrows it down to someone at U-Play. She believes the killer brought the weapon in. She believes that the motives were passion and ego more than money.

Early Evening – Roarke’s Mansion

  • On the way home, Eve and Roarke discuss fantasy weapons and Roarke offers to try and find the special sword that Eve believes killed Bart.
    • After Eve’s usual run-in with Summerset, Eve and Roarke change clothes then briefly separate.  Eve gets dinner while Roarke makes some private calls and sets up the sword search.
    • Roarke reflects privately on why he liked Bart—his openness and honesty—and why Bart’s death has touched him so deeply. 
    • Eve and Roarke eat dinner and discuss Bart. They end up irritated with each other after Roarke tells Eve that he’s running level three searches on his employees who have been involved in developing the holo-game that would be in competition with U-Play’s Fantastical. Eve says he is violating his employees’ privacy and that it’s her job.  She didn’t tell him she was doing the same thing because she was trying to shield him.
  • Roarke, annoyed, goes into privacy mode in his office. Eve, also annoyed, works at her desk running probabilities and checking Bart’s and U-Play’s financials.  She programs a reproduction of the murder.
  • To answer questions about Bart’s game play, Eve asks Roarke to set up a similar sword-play program in the holo-room.  They end up fighting with broadswords in Tudor-era Ireland and speaking Gaelic. 
    • After several minutes of evenly-matched sword play in which both Roarke and Eve sustain minor injuries (in the program only) they toss aside their swords and make passionate love.  
  • Afterwards, still in the game, they discuss its illusions (blood, wounds, Eve’s long hair) and reality and how the killer could have combined them in Bart’s game to kill him.

Day 3 (June 25, 2060)Edit

Morning -  Roarke’s mansion

  • Eve and Roarke compare the results of their searches on Roarke’s employees—nothing was found.  They discuss partners and love and talk about why they were irritated with each other and about why Roarke has been so upset by Bart’s death.  

Offices of Felicity Lowenstein 

  • Eve and Peabody meet at the offices of Bart’s lawyer. She provides them with documents and discusses Bart.

En route to Cop Central

  • Eve tells Peabody that she and McNab are going to the con in East Washington to pick up any information about the special sword Eve is seeking.  
  • Eve drops Peabody back at her apartment.

Cop Central

  • Commander Whitney is waiting by Eve’s office. They discuss the investigation, and agree to keep the details of Bart’s death quiet so that the public won’t panic at the thought of a holo-game causing a death.
    • Whitney cautions Eve to make sure that the development of Roarke’s game is clearly documented to avoid any accusations of unfair competition.

Mira’s office

  • As Mira prepares tea, Eve spends some time thinking about the differences in her style and Mira’s in office décor and clothing.
    • She and Mira talk about how Bart’s clothes reflected his love of gaming, and how he was a happy, well-rounded person. 
    • Mira agrees with Eve’s assessment that the killer is someone Bart knew and trusted.   They discuss the possibility of two killers and of the house droid being used for the killing and reprogrammed or replaced. 
    • Eve says the murderer didn’t like losing, and blurred the line between fantasy and reality.


  • Feeney complains that Eve sent McNab off and now he has to do McNab’s work. Eve points out that he asked him first.
    • Eve and Feeney discuss the possibility of the Princess Leia droid being involved in the murder. Eve asks Feeney to take another look at the droid and at Bart’s gaming records to see his pattern of play: what version of the game he liked, who he played with and who he beat.

U-Play Offices

  • Eve enters a very subdued U-Play office. She talks to Var and Cill separately about their responsibilities at the company, about the development of Fantastical and about the kind of games that Bart liked to play.
    • Eve goes to Benny’s office. He’s not there, but she notices all the images of his partners that he has displayed around the room. After she tracks him down in the lab, they talk about how Bart helped write and program various games.

Late morning/afternoon - East Washington - Game Con

  • Peabody and McNab go undercover at the game con, keeping alert for any mention of game swords.  After stopping by the U-Play booth and talking to many other vendors and attendees about swords, McNab and Peabody meet Razor, who specializes in weapons collecting. McNab describes the kind of electrified sword he’s supposedly heard about. Razor says he hasn’t heard about such a weapon, but promises to let McNab know if he finds one.

Cop Central

  • As Eve finishes her report in her office, Nadine Furst comes in with cookies. She reminds Eve of the launch party for her book about the Icoves and their clones. Nadine is nervous, but Eve tells her why the book is good. Nadine, feeling better, leaves and Eve eats a cookie.
  • On her way to EDD, Eve talks with Reinke who tells her about a case where the wife sent the husband out for a pizza so her boyfriend could attack and kill the husband and make it look like a robbery. 
  • Outside EDD, Eve watches the computer detectives and Roarke. He senses her, comes out and kisses her. She tells him that he gets a checkmark in the friend, lover, and partner column–and that she feels lucky to have let him in her life.
  • Feeney interrupts, telling them to go up to the crib and get it over with.  Eve is mortified, while Roarke laughs.
  • Feeney, Roarke and Callendar report their progress. There was no sign that the droid or the holo-room was tampered with, and security would have shut down and/or destroyed the game if someone tried to break in.  
    • The team identified the scenario that Bart was playing that evening; Eve theorizes that the killer added extra elements to a disk and gave it to Bart, who then played it.  That gave the killer enough time to commit the murder.
  • Eve is back working in her office when Peabody comes in. Eve immediately knows she’s had sex; Peabody says they were doing as ordered, playing games at the con. Eve doesn’t want to know what kind of games.
    • Peabody reports that nobody had heard of the kind of sword weapon that Eve was looking for, and there were no indications that it had been custom made.
    • Peabody presents Eve with a toy derringer that gives out lame insults when the trigger is pulled. Eve is amused. 
  • Roarke makes his way to Eve’s office, reflecting on how his life changed when she came into his life and how they have come to fit together. He passes a pickpocket who’s been arrested and has a brief conversation with Baxter.
    • Roarke tells Eve he wants dinner; she “shoots” him with the toy  that Peabody gave her.


    • As they drive through the city, Eve and Roarke discuss which partner could have killed Bart. Eve concludes they all had means and motive and could have found an opportunity.
    • Eve is happily surprised when she sees that Roarke has brought her to dinner at Polumbi’s, where she had her first slice of pizza in New York. 


  • After dinner, Eve asks Roarke to drive by U-Play.  They see someone there. Eve says that either the murderer is feeling regret, or that it has only made him/her feel powerful.  She says she understands that because of killing her father, and talks about the first time she took a life on the job. 
    • Eve tells Roarke that at least one of the partners is wondering if they’ll feel the thrill of killing again.

Roarke’s mansion

  • Eve works in her office, trying to visualize how the killer got into the holo-room.  She can’t figure out why Bart’s body indicated signs of a struggle if the killer had the weapon ready.
  • She goes to Roarke’s weapons room and takes out a broadsword.  Summerset appears and tells her the weapons are for display only; she tells him Roarke will be using it.
    • Eve asks Roarke to try to attack her so she can figure out how the murderer and Bart fought.  She can’t make it work logically, and considers the possibility of two people.
  • They go to the holo-room, where Roarke re-enacts the first scenario that Bart was playing. There are no sword fights within the time frame in which Bart played.
    • Eve takes the Usurper scenario, and ends up facing the Black Knight.  She decides it’s the scenario that Bart was playing when he died. The murderer may have programmed himself in as the Black Knight using a real weapon.
    • Since only the U-Play partners knew the details of the game, Eve says this evidence may be enough for her to talk her way into a search warrant. 

Late night

  • Eve dreams of her victims and murderers; her father is there. She watches as Bart loses his battle with the Black Knight, who then turns to her.  All she has to defend herself is the knife she used to kill her father.
    • She wakes up, feeling the edge of the sword at her neck.  Roarke comforts her, telling her she’s not alone on the battlefield. They make love.

Day 4 (June 26, 2060)Edit

Morning -  Roarke’s mansion

  • Eve enjoys her usual morning routine, but decides to shake it up a bit and gets breakfast for herself and Roarke.  Eve says the killer knew Bart’s routines.

Cop Central

  • Eve convinces Cher Reo to work on getting search warrants for the partners homes.  
  • She congratulates Reineke for closing his pizza delivery murder case.

CeeCee’s Apartment

  • Eve and Peabody talk to CeeCee about Bart and his partners and their relationships.  Bart was annoyed with Cill because she had gone over the marketing budget. Bart and Var had had words over the direction of the new game; and Benny was angry with Bart after Bart beat him badly at one game session.

Eve’s Car

  • After they leave, Eve learns that the search warrant for the partners’ homes has come through. She orders Peabody to arrange for three search teams.
  • Eve reports to Whitney that she thinks the murderer acted alone. After listening to Eve, Peabody says that Eve knows who it is; Eve says she is leaning towards one. The partner resented Bart’s leadership role in the company; eliminating him gives the murderer the room to fill the void.


  • Eve tells Cill, Var and Benny that their apartments are going to be searched. The partners are angry; they contact their lawyer, and Benny goes to oversee the searches. Eve and Peabody notice that Benny is very protective of Cill.

Cill’s apartment

  • Peabody tells Eve that Jenkinson, Reineke and McNab are working on the search of Cill’s apartment.
  • Benny, upset, tells Eve that Cill is very protective of her space. He gets particularly angry when Eve takes Cill’s journal. 
  • Eve observes that Cill’s apartment  is spacious and comfortable, with few frills but feminine.  Her office is cluttered but with an underlying order.
    • As Eve leaves, she tells McNab to get all the data from the holo-log as soon as possible. He says he is going to concentrate on Cill’s journal.              

Var’s apartment

  • On the three-block walk to Var’s apartment, Peabody worries about what shoes to wear to Nadine’s party if it rains.  Eve makes her stop whining and stop talking about shoes by promising to send a limo for her. Peabody hugs her, much to Eve’s distress.
    • Var’s apartment takes the entire west side of the apartment building. His space is muted and masculine with sleek, avant-garde furniture. He has a props weapon collection. His office is more organized and tidier.  Like Cill, he has lots of costumes and work gear.
    • Var has three mechanical droids.
    • Carmichael, Foster and Callendar work on this apartment. Eve tells Callendar to get the data from Var’s holo-room.

Benny’s apartment

  • Baxter, Truehart and Feeney are working on Benny’s apartment.  It is set up as the quarters of Commander Black on the Intrepid from the vid/game Star Quest
    • Feeney tells Eve that Benny’s droid is a replica of Alfred, the butler from Batman. He is insulted when Eve is not properly impressed with Batman, whom she calls a vigilante with psychotic tendencies. (She doesn’t recognize the Dark Knight reference he uses.)
    • Trueheart tells Eve that Benny tried to sneak out a photo of Cill.
    • Benny’s parrot Mongo talks to Eve.
    • Eve sends Peabody to work with the team on Cill’s apartment, while she splits her time between Benny's and Var’s apartments. 
    • Eve feels at a disadvantage because she thinks the answer to the murderer’s identity is in the electronics.  

U-Play - Bart’s memorial

  • Eve introduces herself to Bart’s parents and tells them that she is determined to bring his killer to justice.
    • Cill tells Eve to leave and accuses her of passing data to Roarke. 
    • Roarke takes Cill outside to talk. 
    • Benny demands to know what happened with Cill; Eve asks him how long he has been in love with Cill.
    • Var, also angry, tells Eve to leave them alone. 
    • Eve says Bart is hers now as much as he is theirs, and tells them that she’ll find out who the murderer is. 
  • Roarke and Eve speak briefly before they each return to work. 

Cop Central

  • Eve is working when Peabody tags her and tells her the searches are finished. Eve realizes that she is running very late for Nadine’s party.  

Evening – Roarke’s mansion

  • Eve sees Summerset is dressed in formal wear and learns that he is going to the party. He tells Eve that he’ll explain why she is—as usual—late.  He tells her that “they” are waiting for her upstairs.
    • To Eve’s horror, Trina is there. Trina tells her she can’t go the party with “superior man flesh” looking the way she does.  She sits Eve in the portable salon chair in the bathroom, and gives her a quick facial and hair styling. 
  • Roarke admires the sleek style of Eve’s hair, and shows her the dress Leonardo has designed for her, one that’s the color of her eyes.

Nadine’s book party

  • Eve and Roarke talk with Peabody and McNab, and Mavis and Leonardo. When the others go off, Mavis and Eve talk about their friendship and what might make Mavis want to harm Eve.  (Mavis says it would be if Eve slept with Leonardo.)  She then shows Eve baby videos of Bella.
  • McNab reports that Cill’s journal is tricky, but he wants to continue to work on it.
  • Nadine privately gives Eve a printed copy of her book and shows her that the book is dedicated to her. Eve is touched and embarrassed.

Cill’s apartment

  • Cill thinks about how much she hates the police search invading her privacy.  
    • She decides to play the jungle/treasure hunter scenario of Fantastical. She makes it through several levels, but is shocked when her game opponent, Delancy Queeg, actually cuts her with his knife.  She slips on the muddy path and falls off a cliff.

Day 5 (June 27, 2060)Edit

Morning -  U-Play & Cill’s apartment

  • Benny and Var discuss Cill’s absence and decide to go get her.  
  • When they arrive, they find her crumpled and bloody on the floor of the holo-room.

Eve’s office in Cop Central

  • McNab brings Eve the opened journal.
  • Eve gets a call from Dispatch telling her that Cill is being transported to the hospital in critical condition with multiple injuries.

Cill’s apartment

  • Eve and Peabody go to the scene and get a detailed report from Officer Kobel, who details Cill’s injuries and tells her that he has Benny and Var in another room with an officer.
  • They observe that the setup in the holo-room is similar to the one at Bart’s apartment.  Eve says the killer made a big mistake in not making sure that Cill was dead.  Peabody contacts EDD and the sweepers.
  • Eve begins interviewing Benny and Var, who both say they want to be at the hospital with Cill. 
  • Peabody comes in, and, as Eve had directed, starts a whispered conversation including the louder words EDD, breakthrough and recovered data. Eve pretends to give her and order; Peabody returns a short while later and nods to Eve.
  • Benny and Var tell Eve what they were doing the previous night.  They confirm that her security was in place when they arrived at her apartment that morning.
  • Eve orders officers to take Benny and Var to the hospital and to keep them under observation.  

Late morning – Hospital

  • Eve arrives at the hospital, where the nurse tells her the injuries look like Cill had been thrown off a cliff.
  • Roarke arrives.  When Eve says that Cill was a logical sacrifice in the game, he becomes angry and accuses her of not having any feelings and of being caught up in trying to win a game. 
  • Eve strides away, hurt and upset. She takes a few minutes to calm herself down, then has the nurse take her to a private observation room where she can watch the surgery.
  • Roarke comes in and tells her that he is unspeakably sorry for what he said.  He admits that he is too close to the case, but can’t step back,
  • Eve forgives him, and lets him draw her in.  They watch as Cill battles for her life in surgery.
  • Eve goes to the waiting room to talk to Benny and Var. At her suggestion, they go out to get some air, but they are kept under observation. Eve asks Roarke to work with Feeney. 
  • Eve asks Peabody to have Benny and Var agree to another search of their apartments to see what’s different from the previous day.  She details Cill’s injuries, and tells Peabody it doesn’t look like a beating.
  • Eve goes to work in an office set up for her in the hospital. She asks to see Cill’s medical records. 
  • Feeney calls and updates Eve on the timeline of Cill’s game. She tells him she’ll buy him ten pounds of cow meat if he gets the game disk out of Cill’s holo-unit safely.
  • Eve studies the records of the scene and Cill’s injuries. Mira calls, and they discuss the killer’s current state of mind. Eve sends Mira the first responders’ records.  Mira agrees that the injuries could have come from a fall.  
  • Morris comes in and studies the records. He says Cill’s injuries are consistent with a fall. He wonders how someone could fall on a smooth surface and have injuries that look like they come from a 20-foot fall onto a rough landing area.
  • Morris discovers burns at the site of the injuries, similar to what he found on Bart’s body.  
  • Peabody interrupts to tell them Cill is out of surgery and the doctor is coming to give an update. 
  • Eve watches the partners as the doctor updates them on Cill’s condition.  She sees a “flash” in the eyes of one of them. The doctor tells them that she remains critical and there is the possibility of brain damage.
  • Eve arranges for an officer to be in Cill’s door 24/7, and asks to be notified of any change in her condition.
  • Eve visits Cill, and tells the unconscious woman that she knows who did it and that she’s going after him.

Afternoon  - Cop Central

  • On the way into the office, as Peabody arranges for a conference room for a briefing with EDD, Eve calls Roarke and asks him to come into her office.
  • Once in her office, she begins to build a re-enactment of Bart’s murder.  When Roarke comes in, she tells him the murderer is Var and gives her reasons.  
  • Eve convinces Roarke that the enhanced hologram image killed Burt and injured Cill.  She asks him to program a re-enactment of both events. He tells her to leave the office.
  • In the conference room, Eve moves Var’s picture to the center of the murder board. Peabody tells her why she thought it was Var. 
  • Eve reviews the two cases for the team, and tells them the killer enhanced the opponents in the game, using a new technology programmed into the game as a weapon. 
  • Roarke brings in his crime scene reconstruction and Eve runs it for the team.  The geeks start discussing how it could be possible. 
  • Eve and Peabody discuss Var; Eve says he has such a big ego that he’s absolutely certain he can beat them.
  • Var tries to get through dummy files that EDD has set up (in order to trap him).  Because he is bouncing signals around, they’re having trouble tracking him.  
  • When Roarke says he can run a trace from his home computer, Eve decides they should work from home.
  • As they leave, Eve wonders if Var has hidden his work area in the other apartment on his floor of the building.

Var’s apartment building

  • Before they go in, Eve tags Peabody and tells her to send backup if they’re not back in touch in 15 minutes.
  • Eve and Roarke go to Var’s neighbor’s apartment. Eve switches on her recorder, knocks on the door. It is answered by an elderly woman, Tilda Steuben.  
  • Tilda calls for her husband Harry, then goes to get tea. 
  • The room shimmers and the doors lock. Eve and Roarke realize it was a holo.
  • Eve and Roarke battle swordsmen and notice Var watching. He won’t stop the game, says it has to play out.
  • Eve and Roarke are outnumbered. Eve remembers her weapon, reaches for it, and begins firing at their enemies.  Roarke holds them off and tells Eve to fire at the controls.
  • Roarke blocks a warrior from hitting Eve; just before she hits the controls, the warrior’s other hand slides a dagger into Roarke’s side.
  • Eve stuns Var and eases Roarke to the floor.  She weeps as she rips her jacket to make a pad to stop the wound’s bleeding. Roarke is in pain but tells her it’s not bad. He watches her face.
  • Eve calls for assistance; the backup team—Peabody, McNab, Feeney, and Callendar—are there almost immediately. 
  • As the team secures Var and gathers around Roarke, he sits up. Eve starts to object, he tells her to shut up and kisses her.

Late Evening – Cop Central

  • Eve watches the recording she made of the events with her team, Commander Whitney, Mira, and Cher Reo. Even after seeing it again, she finds it hard to believe. 
  • Whitney tells them that the details must be kept as quiet as possible. 
  • Eve and Reo discuss the charges that should be brought against Var.  The prosecutor wants to make a deal to avoid the trial and the sensational press coverage about the technology; Eve wants him charged with first degree murder and attempted murder.
  • Eve and Peabody interview Var.  He pretends to be sorrowful and says the new technology just needed work.  Var insists the technology is all his, but Eve says he cheated since it was based on a game they all developed. 
  • Var maintains it wasn’t his fault—Bart and Cill chose to play and were hurt because they weren’t skilled enough.  He is indignant when Eve arrests him and has Peabody take him down to booking.
  • Roarke comes in and sits with Eve.  She talks about Var and his false friendship. She says she never really understood what Roarke faces each day because of her job, and doesn’t know how she could go on without him.  She starts to wish that things were different, but Roarke interrupts her telling her that he fell for who she is.
  • They leave for home with Eve threatening Roarke with Summerset and a soother.

Day 7 (June 29, 2060)Edit

Cill’s hospital room

  • Eve and Roarke visit Cill’s hospital room and talk with Benny, who has remained by Cill’s side.
  • They tell him that Var will serve 50 years off-planet in a cage. 
  • Eve and Roarke tell Benny that he needs to let Cill knows how he feels about her. 
  • Cill wakes up slowly and speaks to Benny.
  • As Eve and Roarke leave, Eve thinks how going from love to friendship with Roarke has worked for them.

Memorable QuotesEdit



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

List of Peripheral Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

Trivia Edit

Other Covers Edit

Additional covers here

UK edition cover German 1st edition cover German Book Club edition cover Fantasy Audio
UK edition cover German 1st edition cover German Book Club edition cover Brilliance Audio unabridged edition cover

Other ReleasesEdit

Footnotes Edit

  1. Pg. 3 and Pg. 7:  ... on the market in mid-2060.  "June's supposed to be daisies and wafty breezes." Also Fantasy in Death (ISBN 978-0-399-15264-3), p. 29; On day two of the story, Var asks the computer for any log-outs for use by Bart on the previous day.


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