Review of Iris Johansen’s Latest Novel, Dark Tribute

The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation.  Iris Johansen recently released book #24, Dark Tribute, to the Eve Duncan series.


As a fan of thrillers, most of the books that I read are rather intense; blood, gore, murder–the whole nine yards. But the Eve Duncan thriller series is my diversion from all of that. Oh yes, there may be blood, gore and even murder, but to be honest it is hard to take any of it too seriously. The reasoning is that the characters are just way over the top. Every character has their very ‘special’ talent, whether it be Seth Caleb with his vampire-like behaviors or Margaret Douglas’ ability to ‘talk’ to animals and, of course, the occasional spiritual visits from the Duncan’s murdered child, Bonnie.  These novels are the perfect beach read and after finishing one, I will put it down and think, “Well, that was fun”. That was until Dark Tribute came along.

Dark Tribute predominantly features Cara Delaney and Jock Gavin. As with all characters within this series Delaney and Gavin have their ‘special’ talents. Cara Delaney is the granddaughter of a ruthless mob boss and was taken on as a ward by Eve Duncan and family when one of Duncan’s forensic projects lead her to Delaney, who was trying to flee from an evil mother that wanted her dead.  Delaney’s special ability is that she is a violin prodigy which she seems to have inherited from her mob boss grandfather. Gavin, on the other hand, is an assassin-extraordinaire, who would very much like to surrender his ruthless past and just be a regular guy, but unfortunately he just can’t do it. Gavin met Delaney in Hide Away, when Delaney was still just a child and became good friends. In Dark Tribute, Delaney is all grown up and her longtime friendship with Gavin has turned into something more 😉 , but is interrupted when Delaney is kidnapped by a psychopathic serial killer that has a vendetta against Delaney’s loving mob boss granddad. This sounds like it could be a good setup for a thriller except that everyone, with one exception, wants to be the lone hero.

It seems that everyone wants to put an end to the psychopathic serial killer, even Eve Duncan’s 6-year-old son Michael, but with one caveat, each person wants to do it alone. Eve doesn’t want her husband Joe Quinn to be involved. Joe, Cara, and Jock don’t want Eve to be involved. Jock doesn’t want Cara to be involved and vice versa. Michael wants to be involved and has to run away from home to do it. This back and forth melodramatic heroism went on and on throughout the entire novel to the point I almost couldn’t finish it. The only one that seem to have a level head about the whole affair was Delaney’s mob boss grandfather. You know it is bad when you have to side with a mob boss. I have now chalked this one up to be the worst Eve Duncan novel in the series.

To learn more about the series check out the Eve Duncan series.

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