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Allison Trinkle, Amazon.com:
For those who like the Grinch more before his transformation by the Whos down in Whoville, and those who don't automatically think of George Bailey's encounter with the angel in It's a Wonderful Life every time they hear a bell ring during the Christmas season, New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, has teamed with three other gifted writers of romantic suspense to produce four intriguing tales of holiday upheaval. Claire Cross's "A Berry Merry Christmas" sends Holly Berry, a technophobic elf, to spread a little Christmas cheer to orphaned Natalie Sinclair and her Uncle Drew. When Natalie requests a new mommy for Christmas, little does Holly suspect she's the ideal candidate to fill the role--and to become a loving wife to Drew, who finds himself believing once again in the magic of Christmas. Only Santa Claus--"Mr. C" to Holly--can make all their dreams come true.
In Dee Holmes's "The Unexpected Gift," Sabrina McKay is spending her first Christmas since her divorce alone in Pine Falls, Vermont, with her young son. She finds the best gift of all not under her Christmas tree but passed out cold in her front yard. Investigating her son's report that "there's a dead man in the yard," Sabrina discovers former bad boy--and her girlhood boyfriend--Zach Danforth. Together again, they realize the true meaning of Christmas and the rediscovery of a love never lost.
Jake Rimsa discovers that the packaging doesn't reveal the true value of the gift inside in Susan Plunkett's Christmas Promises. Roped into giving Marne York, his ex-fiancée, a ride home for Christmas, Jake finds little evidence of the polished, pampered, starry-eyed young woman he left behind when he joined the FBI. Instead Marne has become a fierce advocate on behalf of battered women and a woman who has learned, in the most horrifying way possible, to take care of herself. And Jake uncovers in Marne the long-buried passion she believed forever dead. Together they seek a foe determined to make Marne pay for her interference, and they find the greatest gift of all--love between equals.
In the final story, only Nora Roberts can combine Christmas and an escaped serial killer with a grudge and still make it sizzle! Lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in Midnight in Death. When her first Christmas with her new husband Roarke is interrupted by reports of the naked, mutilated body of the judge responsible for convicting serial killer David Palmer, Eve learns that her name appears on the list of others to be killed. Since she was responsible for arresting Palmer the first time, Eve is back on the case. But Roarke is on her case, exhorting Eve to join him under the mistletoe for a little Yuletide cheer and to let him bring his considerable connections to bear to locate the hiding place of the monster threatening their happiness. Together they capture the psychopath and the spirit of Christmas. What a way to start the new year!
| Spoiler warning!|
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.
Approximate Story Start Date: December 25, 2058 This novella begins on Christmas Day, 2058 and ends on New Year's Day, with Roarke and Eve heading home to ring in 2059, as the celebration for the New Year begins.
===Day 1, Christmas Day===
- Eve stands over the body of Judge Harold Wainger who has been tortured, killed and dumped in the center of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center.
- Eve recognizes the style of serial killer David Palmer. She had hunted him down and arrested him for eight murders three years before. Judge Wainger had sentenced him to eight consecutive life sentences, which he was serving in off-planet Rexal Penal Facility. "But you got out, didn't you Dave?"
- Eve contacts dispatch and orders that each person on Dave's list be notified and a guard assigned for their protection.
- Eve runs David and learns that there is a manhunt on for him. He had escaped from Rexal on December 19th during transport to the infirmary. "I guess Dave decided to come home for the holidays."
- Eve contacts Commander Whitney. He wants to assign another primary to the case as she has just finished a difficult case where her aide was attacked. She tells him it's David Palmer and he agrees to allow her to remain as primary – she knows him best.
- Eve arrives home and refrains from tossing her jacket on the newel post. She and Summerset have a Christmas truce in place.
- Roarke is reading the first edition of Yeats Eve had given him for Christmas. She sits in his lap and he asks her if she knows what she's going to do with his final Christmas gift to her. It's a day to do with whatever she likes. She wants some time to think about it.
- Roarke volunteers to assist Eve with the research for the case she is on, as she has no intention of tagging Peabody.
- Eve fills Roarke in on the case. Palmer is a serial killer who runs experiments on his subjects to see how much torture they can withstand. Roarke is concerned that Eve will be the one that Dave wants most.
- Officer Miller contacts Eve and informs her that Stephanie Ring is missing.
- Eve contacts Mira and ensures that her bodyguards are on duty. She tells her that she will be fitted with a tracking bracelet the next day and that she is to cancel all appointments. When Mira objects, Eve tells her, "Do what you're told, Dr. Mira, or you'll be in protective custody within the hour."
- Roarke tells Eve, "She means a great deal to you. If she meant less, you'd have handled that with more finesse."
- Eve ensures everyone else on the list is safe and then spends time reviewing her past case notes and interviews with Palmer.
- Nadine Furst arrives and gives Eve a disc Palmer had sent her. It shows Judge Wainger being branded, electrocuted and then hung. Stephanie Ring is in a cage and is electrocuted while on camera. Dave tells Eve, "You'll last longer, Dallas. We both know that. You'll be my most fascinating subject. I have such wonders planned for you. You'll find me. I know you will. I'm counting on it. Happy holidays."
- Eve examines the scene of Stephanie Ring's car where she was abducted. She dismisses the uniforms and Roarke tells her that he's sticking with her. He knows she wants Palmer to shuffle the order and to come for her next.
- Back at home, Eve wants to contact Dave's parents. They are in witness protection (Victim and Survivor's Protection Act). She justifies to herself having Roarke use the unregistered to track them.
- After tracking Thomas and Helen Palmer, now known as 'Smith', to rural Pennsylvania, Eve and Roarke use his mini-jet to get there.
- The Palmers love their son despite what he has done and don't know how he turned into a monster. They tell Eve they don't know where Dave is. Eve believes them.
- Back at home, Eve and Roarke finish off their Christmas day with lovemaking.
Day 2, December 26Edit
- Eve wakes up at 2:00 a.m. and figures out that Dave must have a hidden credit line somewhere. As she is about to get up and investigate the new idea, her link beeps.
- Two teenagers had discovered Stephanie Ring's body lying naked on a bench in Central Park. Carved into her midriff were the words, 'LET'S KILL ALL THE LAWYERS'.
- Eve works at home. She sends messages to Peabody and Feeney and plans to pull them into the case. Eve tells Roarke he can go back to his own work. "Done with me are you?" As he bends to kiss her, Peabody clears her throat. She has arrived early to get back to work.
- Seeing her aide's pale face blotchy from tears, Eve decides to send her home. Peabody tells her that it is better if she stays busy and gets to work.
- Peabody gives Eve an old sheriff's badge for her Christmas gift. Eve tells her that she can keep the wardrobe Leonardo designed her for her undercover operation as her gift.
- Feeney comes in on the case and as Eve begins to leave Peabody and Feeney hard at work, she gets a call telling her that Carl Neissan has been taken. The on duty guard didn't check for ID and allowed Palmer, dressed as a cop, in. The real relief officer was tranq'd and bound and left alive in his car trunk.
- Eve arrives at Mira's and wants to put her in a safe house. Mira disagrees, wanting to seem accessible to keep Palmer focused on her. Eve has put Justine Polinski and her family in a safe house. She will also move Mira's family to a safe place. Mira is to stay in her house with double guards, a tracking bracelet and hourly check ins. Eve tells her that she matters to her, she's not willing to take chances.
- Eve stops by the lab to get some information from a hung over Dickie Berenski. Next she stops at the morgue to get information from Morris. After going by Neissan's and Wainger's, she returns home where she is greeted by Summerset wanting to know if her 'guests' are staying for lunch. Eve assures him that her team will fend for themselves.
- In her office, Eve discovers that she is right. Peabody and Feeney have helped themselves to the AutoChef. Berenski contacts her to tell her that he has her rope. It's made by Kytell.
- Eve goes to Roarke's office to ask if he owns Kytell. Roarke is amused that Eve has inadvertently made good on her threat to barge in on one of his multimillion-dollar deals, as he is engaged in a holo-conference.
- Peabody has a line on Palmer's vehicle and she and Eve head to the dealership. Lana confirms that she sold a car to a Peter Nolan. She identifies Palmer from a picture. He'd given a bogus address, a place owned by the Kowaskis, and paid with an e-transfer from an account he opened and closed in two days time.
- Eve finishes the day at her home computer running searches. She falls asleep and only awakens when Roarke picks her up to carry her to bed.
Day 3, December 27Edit
- Eve strides into her office to find Roarke refining her computer searches for Palmer's hidden money.
- After Peabody arrives, she and Eve head out to knock on doors of possible properties Palmer may have bought or rented.
Day 4, December 28Edit
- After searching properties all day, Eve gets a call at midnight from Detective Dalrymple that there is a mixed-race male seen entering the Polinski apartment.
- Eve frightens a would-be suitor of Sunny, Sheila Polinsky, Justine's daughter. Jimmy Ripsky, a college friend, had received an e-mail suggesting that he join Sunny at her parents place as they are out of town.
- After Sunny backs up Jimmy's story, he is released and Eve and Peabody head out.
- Eve decides that Palmer must have had access to a computer at Rexal and decides to send Peabody and McNab off-planet to investigate.
- While heading to their car, they hear a scream. Carl Neissan's body has been dumped in front of a couple walking home from a party.
Day 5, December 29Edit
- Peabody and McNab are off planet. Eve continues her search into possible properties Dave owns. Roarke and Feeney also continue with searches on his money and the equipment he has purchased.
Day 6, December 30Edit
- Peabody and McNab report in that they have found the unit Palmer used in the chapel at Rexal. Eve tells them to confiscate it and to return.
- Eve heads to Cop Central making unnecessary stops. She wants Palmer to come after her. After meeting with Feeney, she heads back out to re-canvass the houses she and Peabody had already hit.
- As she dumps a bad cup of coffee into a recycler, she looks up and into Palmer's eyes. He blows her a kiss and zooms off in his vehicle. All efforts to track him are unsuccessful.
- Back at home, she falls face down on the bed. Galahad climbs on her butt and guards her.
- Roarke finds her there and after they argue about him wearing a tracking bracelet, he makes love to her.
- After showering and dressing, Eve gets a link call. It's Dave and he has Mira. She has until midnight, New Year's Eve. He won't harm Mira before then, but if Eve doesn't arrive by then, he will kill her.
- After canvassing Mira's house, Eve tells Feeney that if Palmer hurts Mira, she will go after him, no matter how many lines she has to cross. Palmer had taken out four armed cops and dismantled Mira's tracking bracelet. He's more prepared than they've given him credit for.
- At home, Roarke knows that Eve is torn up about Mira. He gives her a shoulder. She doesn't weep, but shudders in his arms. "I can't think about what he might do to her. If I think about it, I'll lose it."
Day 7, New Year's EveEdit
- At 2:00 a.m., Roarke convinces Eve to rest with him in the sleep chair in her office. He tells her that she needs a new angle.
- Eve wakes to the smell of coffee. She thinks Dave may have purchased a home one to two years previously. As she is talking it over with Roarke, her link beeps. It's Dave. He tells her that if she hasn't found him by midnight, Mira will be killed. She is to come alone.
- At 2:00 p.m., Ian McNab and Peabody have arrived back on planet. The team works frantically to find David Palmer's property.
- Eve has a brainstorm. She tells Roarke to check properties listed in her name. He runs it and a list pops up. He tells her that all of the properties are hers. When she says she has no properties, he tells her that he transferred them into her name, for tax purposes, after they married. Eve doesn't have time to fight with Roarke over it.
- Roarke finds that David has bought his parents' house under the name David Dallas. Now they have to prepare for Eve to go in before midnight.
- Feeney wires Dallas up before she goes in.
- Roarke tells Feeney that he's riding with him and that he can get through Palmer's security by remote.
- Eve enters Dave's place at ten. She goes down into the basement as he instructs. She has her weapon out. Mira is still dressed and is unharmed. She is inside a hanging metal cage. Palmer has a remote in his hand that if pressed will shoot an electric current through the cage bars and will kill Mira. If Eve shoots Palmer, his finger will depress the switch automatically.
- Eve offers to trade herself for Mira. She gets Dave to lower the cage. She puts down her weapon. Dave has a stunner in his hand. He lets Mira out. Eve tells him that she has to help her out because her muscles are stiff.
- Dave instructs Eve to get into the cage. She tells him that she will, as soon as Mira is clear. Shielding Mira with her body, she grabs her clutch piece. "I lied, Dave." Eve blasts Palmer in the chest. Palmer lands on the cage and is electrocuted to death.
- Mira is upset, but safe. Roarke is there as he bypassed the locks and got in. He helps Mira up. After Mira hugs Eve, she heads out.
- As the crowd outside erupts in New Year's cheers, Eve tells Roarke that she wants to collect her present. A day at home with just him.
List of Main Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
List of Secondary Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
- Ryan Feeney
- Nadine Furst
- Ian McNab
- Charlotte Mira
- Delia Peabody
- Lawrence Summerset
- Jack Whitney
List of Recurring Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
List of Minor Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
- Detective Dalrymple
- George Fitzgerald
- Maria Fitzgerald
- Officer Miller
- David Palmer
- Thomas Palmer
- Helen Palmer
- Jimmy Ripsky
List of Peripheral Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
- Leroy Greene
- Michelle Hammel
- Carl Neissan
- Justine Polinsky
- Sheila Polinsky
- Stephanie Ring
- Harold Wainger
- When pursuing Palmer south from Park and 80th, Eve notes that he must've "holed up" in the neighborhood. However, when they realize he has repurchased his parents' old home, she says it's "five blocks from" Roarke's house. There is no way for a home on the Upper West Side, five blocks from 222 Central Park West, to be five blocks from any location on Park Avenue. Park and 83rd is "five blocks" from Roarke's, allowing for the fact that the park itself is three blocks wide - but you'd have to go four blocks south, or three north, to access one of the park transverses.
Other Covers Edit
| US Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| US LP Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| German Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| German Book Club Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| Hungarian edition cover
|| Brilliance Audio unabridged edition cover
|| Brilliance Audio unabridged for the 3 Anthology Titles
| US Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| US Large Print Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles
|| German Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles: "Midnight," "Interlude," and "Haunted"
|| German Book Club Cover for the 3 Anthology Titles: "Midnight," "Interlude," and "Haunted"
|| Hungarian edition cover
|| Brilliance Audio unabridged edition cover
|| Brilliance Audio unabridged: "Midnight," "Interlude," and "Haunted"