Was there anything more exhausting than having complete strangers build fantasies and scenarios around you? – Eve Dallas, Obsession in Death[1]

Plot SummaryEdit

Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She—and her billionaire husband—are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her—again and again…

With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate—and dangerous—psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall… 


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


Story Dates: December 27-31, 2060[2]

Prologue (December 27) Edit

  • "Killing was easier than I thought it could be, and a lot more rewarding. I finally feel as if I’ve done something important, something that deserves real attention. My first weight on the scale toward balance. My first tribute, I suppose, in honor of my friend and partner."

Day 1 (December 28)Edit

  • "On a cold, crisp morning in the waning days of 2060", NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas stands over the body of Leanore Bastwick, "a once-high-powered defense attorney" with "the ethics of a rattlesnake".
    • She'd been stunned and then garroted from behind, and her tongue had been cut out.
    • Above the bed is a note, written on the wall. Addressed to Dallas, it claims that the woman deserved death for her insults, and is signed "your true and loyal friend".
    • Security cameras recorded a delivery person - bundled up, gender unknowable, face constantly blocked by a box - enter and exit the apartment at the times bracketing COD.
    • The crime scene is extremely tidy and extremely clean of any trace evidence. The murderer must have planned and practiced.
  • Commander Whitney decides to keep Dallas as primary despite the probable "media shitstorm" because Dallas convinces him that her connection won't get in her way.
  • Dallas and Peabody interview Bastwick's administrative assistant, coworkers at the law office (some of whom she had interacted with during Rapture in Death), acquaintances, clients, etc.
  • They get input from Mira, Morris at the morgue, Berenski at the lab, Feeney in EDD, Kyung in media, and Reo in the PA's office.
    • The scene was so clean and the murder so efficient, they begin to reluctantly wonder if the perp is a cop, lab tech, or field tech, or other person involved in law enforcement.
    • They also think the perp could have held a grudge on Dallas's behalf or could have committed the crime thinking it was a gift to her.
  • That evening, Roarke and Eve were supposed to attend a charity benefit at Carnegie Hall, but he cancels because she is so disturbed. Instead, they work together on financials and alibis.
  • Mira vets Eve's recent fan mail and sends some suspicious items, which give Eve the creeps and supply more suspects.

Day 2 (December 29)Edit

  • Eve awakens from a nightmare, and she and Roarke make love.
  • "Excitement built on the climb up the stairs, and the anticipation of killing again – this time knowing the rush of it, an immense satisfaction. The importance of the work. There was no question Eve would be pleased, very pleased now to know scum like Ledo had been removed from society. Protect and serve."
  • Wendall Ledo – illegals dealer, addict, and pool hustler who bruised Dallas's cheek in Conspiracy in Death'' – is dead.
    • He'd been stunned and then stabbed through the chest with a broken pool cue, and his tongue had been cut out.
    • A message to Dallas is longer, talks of justice for the insult to her, and is signed "your true friend".
    • The building and apartment have no security system, but this crime looks just as well planned and clean as Bastwick's.
    • This death bolsters the theory of the tie with Dallas: the perp had to know about Ledo only through Dallas's incident report. That means law enforcement or support, court staff, reporter, etc.
  • A witness saw an exterminator twice at Ledo's apartment, but the building supervisor didn't hire one. The witness works on a sketch with Detective Yancy.
  • Dallas and Peabody continue to interview suspects and witnesses on both murders.
  • More "queasy"-inducing letters come in from Mira as potential perps.
  • Dallas briefs the squad on the two murders.
  • Nadine Furst joins in the investigation, adding her fan mail and investigative skills.
  • Dallas gets Ledo's autopsy results and Morris's evaluation who in his support staff could be involved in these crimes.
  • In the media briefing, Dallas is careful not to snap at anyone, for fear that “If I go a round with some idiot reporter I could be putting a target on his back.”
  • Mira is concerned that the perp will turn on Dallas, because she won't live up to his idea of perfect justice. Mira and Dallas also agree that the perp already has the next target set and they may not stop him in time.
  • "She won’t need anyone but me. I hope she’s starting to understand that now. I have to show her so she understands. Maybe after tonight. Maybe after one more."
  • Dallas finds a witness who saw a deliveryman around Ledo's apartment, and the witness works on a sketch with Yancy.
  • After another fruitless and annoying interview, Dallas goes home.
    • She works off the accumulated rage with a hard workout then hot shower sex.
    • Roarke works with Eve as they cross-examine her fan mail, Nadine's fan mail, and the two crime-scene messages. Eve also views a report of people who had applied for law enforcement but been denied.
  • "And while she filled him in, the brown-clad, nondescript delivery person strode toward the chosen address. It was hard to keep a spring out of the step. No one saw the real person, and that had always hurt and infuriated. Now it became a plus, an asset, even a weapon."
  • Dispatch calls: Dirk Hastings, photographer and "asshole" with "a temper" (from Portrait in Death), is injured but alive.
    • He was stunned, but the supermodel who was unexpectedly there panicked the attacker so she ran away – and he is sure the delivery person was female.
    • Both witnesses agree to work with Yancy.

Day 3 (December 30)Edit

  • Dallas, working from home, digs deeper into her fan mail because she's come to believe the killer's obsession with her is not a recent thing.
    • She finds the writer, who has been sending emails from different accounts but with similar writing styles, dating back to Survivor in Death. The messages have been escalating in tone and frequency.
  • Peabody and McNab come in and contribute to theorizing and work.
  • A fresh email comes in, full of disappointment and rage, and starting to doubt Dallas. The perp has turned on her former idol. Dallas says “About fucking time.”
    • Roarke and McNab trace the message to Ledo's flop.
  • At Ledo's, the perp left a short angry message. "She's losing it."
    • The police block had been opened by a master, with Dallas's ID but it isn't Dallas's. The perp has moderate e-skills.
  • Input from Mira, Peabody, and others helps Dallas refine the killer's profile.
    • Mira believes that she'll eventually try to kill Dallas, and both of them will die "in the ultimate bond".
  • Dallas widens the net on warning her friends and coworkers – who might be targets.
  • Dallas and Peabody interview – and eliminate – more potential suspects.
  • Back at Central, they book a holoroom and walk through the three crime scenes in sequence.
    • They determine that the perp spent extra time going over the scene to ensure she left no trace evidence.
    • She also becomes less controlled, more daring, and more excited with each crime.
    • On the other hand, she doesn't have the instincts, flexibility, or training to change the plan when the model showed up at Hastings's place. She is/was in law enforcement in some capacity but couldn't possibly be a cop.
  • In a short media conference, Dallas all but says the perp is a coward.
  • McNab and Yancy collaborate, and get more details on the perp by combining the sketches with the holo reconstructions.
  • Dallas heads to see Mavis, and spots the perp-as-deliveryperson casing the building, but loses her in the subsequent chase.
    • Dallas reiterates her warning to Mavis then spends some time with the family.
  • Dallas goes home with take-out and meets an old friend of Summerset's, who had been a prima ballerina and an Urban War operative.
  • She sends a blanket email to everyone she cares about to be extra careful.
  • "She chased me, as if she were the hunter and I some sort of prey. Have I lost her? This pain in my heart, this drumming in my head, it feels like loss. It feels too familiar, too unspeakable. I know what has to be done now. This very night. She must lose. She must pay a price. Scales to balance."
  • Dallas reruns a search on the NYPSD database, using the McNab/Yancy collaboration.
  • Roarke refines the McNab/Yancy collaboration into possible outfits, and Eve further refines with her memories of the glimpse and chase.
    • Eve also realizes that the perp knew the neighborhood, which is why she got away. Roarke adds a six-block perimeter to Eve's NYPSD database search.
  • "Some risks were worth taking. It was a matter of principle. The delivery-person gear that had served so well wouldn’t do now. But with some adjustments, the same ploy would work. Like going undercover, she thought. Eve would appreciate that. She’d better start appreciating."
  • Nadine is going over her reader/viewer mail and thinking of her next book, about the Red Horse Conspiracy (Delusion in Death). She receives an email about a package being messengered over. Eve's emailed warning makes Nadine cautious so the stunner only partially disables her through the chained opening, and she manages to burn the attacker with a lighter.
    • Local canvass finds two girls who rode an elevator with the messenger. The perp smelled of chemicals – maybe sealant and cleaning compound.
  • Dallas receives an alarm that the fake master was just attempted on Jamie Lingstrom's home.
  • Eve and Roarke go over the recordings from security cameras at Nadine's building and Jamie's house. They find a shadowy face, and Roarke promises to clean it up.
  • "How could it all go so wrong? She’d done everything, been so careful, so patient. So true. And now it was all for nothing. So she’d end it. She lifted her head, and there was Eve, looking back at her. She could hear the voice – and there was purpose. The ball’s going to drop. It’s the end of the year, so out with the old. In with the new. You’ll convince me. You’ll do what’s best for us. Better get started."

Day 4 (December 31)Edit

  • Waking early, Eve evaluates the overnight runs and starts up more.
  • Dallas makes the rounds with the refined picture: lab, morgue, sweepers.
  • "She’d taken a personal day – the first in more than two years. The work she did now, the most important work she’d ever done, ever would do, needed the time. Everything ended. She knew that, accepted that. Life was a cycle, one that couldn’t refresh until it ended. So she would end it. Purge, purify, destroy to rebuild. Careful of her wrist, she shrugged into the combat vest she’d worked on for most of the night. It fit well – heavy, of course, with the charges she wired in."
  • In her bullpen, Dallas assigns "grunt work": going through the reams of possible perps found through database searches.
    • A likely one pops up, and Dallas and Peabody head out to interview.
  • Lottie accesses the Evidence department, stuns the officer on duty, and starts to get what she needs from the Evidence boxes. "With the right tools, the right skills, it really wasn’t that hard to create explosives. With some rudimentary calculations, she could – would – build a bomb vest that would take out all of Homicide."
  • Back again at Central, Dallas resumes her look into database results.
    • Lottie Roebuck rings her bells. Crime scene sweeper, right build, right face, lives on Mavis's block, mother and sister killed by juvenile drunk-drivers who did minimal time.
  • In the lab, one of the techs asks why Lottie's picture is posted on the wall. The lab head, Dawson, contacts Dallas.
  • Dallas starts to mobilize her squad, when Lottie – dressed to look like Dallas – walks in with a suicide vest on a dead man's switch.
    • Stay calm and stay alive. All the cops disarm and lie facedown, except Reineke who happened to be in the breakroom.
    • Roarke calls, and Dallas inserts as many "baby"s and "sweetheart"s as she can, to tip him off.
    • Eve starts talking, trying to stall.
  • Roarke bulls his way to the corridor outside Homicide, which is barricaded. They have a photo of the vest, taken by Reineke from the breakroom. McNab gets them eyes and ears. Roarke goes to work on picking "the most important lock of his life".
  • Eve talks to Lottie. When Reineke has a clear shot, he stuns the sweeper and Dallas grabs for the dead man's switch, just as Roarke and the rest burst in.
  • As Eve finally sits, feeling a little light-headed, Roarke orders pizza for the whole division and Mira gives her input on the upcoming interview.
  • Dallas notices that the entire squad plus Feeney has packed into Observation, then goes in to interview Lottie. They have a thorough and enlightening conversation. She is sick inside and she's going away.
  • Dallas writes her report while Feeney breaks out the whiskey with the squad, and Roarke waits for her.
  • "As revelers celebrated in Times Square, as a killer wept bitter, bitter tears in her cell, they drove home, to get perfectly drunk."

Memorable QuotesEdit

Dallas, on having cop coffee in the squad room:

  • She went back to her office, where she had really good coffee. She considered, as she never had, that she could install Roarke’s real and excellent blend in the break room. But then she rejected the notion as temporarily sentimental.
  • You just didn’t go around breaking tradition of bad cop break-room coffee because you felt good about having good cops under your command.
  • Besides, they’d lose the fun of sneaking in and stealing it from her AutoChef. Who was she to spoil their good time?[3]

Dallas, on dog accessories:

  • She had three yappy little dogs, all in plaid sweaters – and, to Eve’s amazement, tiny boots – on leashes.
  • “Those dogs had boots.”
  • “I guess their paws get cold,” Peabody said.
  • “Huh. Who makes tiny dog boots? Who thinks to make tiny dog boots? How do you know what size to buy? This is an area with many, many questions.”[4]

Peabody, on hot chocolate from the morgue's vending machine:

  • “I think it’s a small, pale island off the continent of hot chocolate, but it carries a faint whiff.”[5]

Dallas, on celebrating New Years Eve in Times Square:

  • [Peabody:] “Are you and Roarke going to the ball drop?”
  • “Oh, absolutely. If we both suffer extensive brain damage in the next twenty-four hours.” She beetled her brows at Peabody as they walked. “You’re going?”
  • “Well, yeah – if we’re clear. Sure, it’s insanity – I worked crowd control New Year’s Eve my first year on the job, and it’s wild and wicked. But fun, too. And Mavis got us all full-access passes, so we get some VIP treatment and get to hob and nob with celeb and music stars.”
  • “I’d rather be flayed alive and force-fed my own skin.”
  • “Eeww!”
  • “Yeah, that was pretty disgusting, but close to true.”[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

  • Jamie Lingstrom

List of Peripheral Characters Appearing in this BookEdit

  • Wendall Ledo
  • Leanore Bastwick

Trivia Edit

  1. What did McNab get Peabody for Christmas that matched her "magic coat?"
    1. Gloves
    2. Sweater
    3. Boots
    4. Scarf

2. Which one of Eve's possessions did baby Bella decide she wanted for herself?

    1. Wrist Unit
    2. Diamond
    3. Purse
    4. Badge

3. What activity did the books second victim Ledo excel at?

    1. Pool
    2. Poker
    3. Dancing
    4. Singing

4. How did Eve signal Roarke that she was in trouble when the killer came to her office?

    1. She complimented Summerset
    2. She called him by his first name
    3. She asked for a Coke
    4. She used sweet talk

5. What weapon did the killer bring for a showdown at Eve's office?

    1. Knife
    2. Suicide vest
    3. Pipe bomb
    4. Stunner

Answers: 3, 2, 1, 4, 2

Other Covers Edit

Additional covers here


Other ReleasesEdit

Footnotes Edit

  1. Obsession in Death, Chapter 10.
  2. The first murder is December 27, 2060, pegged by this interchange: [Dallas:] “December twenty-seventh, between five and seven in the evening. Where were you?” [Witness:] “When was that?” “Two days ago,” Peabody said helpfully. “Two days after Christmas.” Obsession in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27889-5), p. 103.
  3. Obsession in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27889-5), p. 25.
  4. Obsession in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27889-5), p. 108.
  5. Obsession in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27889-5), p. 133.
  6. Obsession in Death (ISBN 978-0-425-27889-5), p. 237.


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