Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

In Death #16

Portrait in Death

Rate this book
After a tip from a reporter, Eve Dallas finds the body of a young woman in a Delancey street dumpster. Just hours before, the news station had mysteriously received a portfolio of professional portraits of the woman. The photos seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary for any pretty young woman starting a modeling career. Except that she wasn't a model. And that these photos were taken after she had been murdered.

Now Dallas is on the trail of a killer who's a perfectionist and an artist. He carefully observes and records his victim's every move. And he has a mission: to own every beautiful young woman's innocence, to capture her youth and vitality—in one fateful shot... 

347 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published February 25, 2003

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

J.D. Robb

272 books32.5k followers
J.D. Robb is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling In Death series and the pseudonym for #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. The futuristic suspense series stars Eve Dallas, a New York City police lieutenant with a dark past. Initially conceived as a trilogy, readers clamored for more of Eve and the mysterious Roarke. Forgotten in Death (St. Martin's Press, September 2021) is the 53rd entry in the series.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
20,083 (53%)
4 stars
12,732 (33%)
3 stars
4,239 (11%)
2 stars
484 (1%)
1 star
225 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,040 reviews
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,219 reviews2,052 followers
June 8, 2017
J.D. Robb at her best!
There are so many totally emotional scenes between Roarke, who is definitely not at his perfect best, and Eve, who steps up to be the best wife she can. Tissues anyone?
Then there are all the in jokes like hidden chocolate bars and Eve's twitchy eye whenever Peabody puts the words sex and McNab into the same sentence.
Of course there is the usual banter. Peabody and Eve get most of the good lines in this one, although everyone is a comedian from time to time.
And don't forget the drama. Trueheart plays an important role towards the end as the book rushes to a stressful conclusion.
Finally a special commendation to Galahad who plays one of his biggest roles even though it has serious consequences for Summerset.
So good:)
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2019
Going to sound like a broken record here soon. Yes, I loved it. There were some stark revelations here that left one of the characters reeling. The mystery element was well plotted. No, didn't guess the "bad guy." Eve is in full force as usual. She loves her job.

Roarke has his own businesses to run but he is always there to help Eve in any way he can. And ease her tension ... with some hot sex!!

"I couldn't fall out of love with you if I fell all the way to hell." Emotion was storming into his eyes ...

The Irish knew all about wars, conflicts, hunger, and poverty. And they dealt with it, sang of it, wrote of it. And drank around it of an evening ...

Roarke has to return to Ireland to deal with a personal situation - he visits County Clare (this is where I was born and lived for 22 years) - I got so excited when I saw this!!!

Yeats is one of Roarke's favourite poets. I like his poetry too and have visited his resting place many times in Drumcliffe, Sligo.

A few bits and bobs annoyed me (0h, here she goes again!!!) - the accents on some of the Irish words. Easy enough to put in, surely ... Sláinte, Siobhán, Dóchas! It just annoys me a little bit. I was the one who was in my hospital bed and warned Himself that if he came back from the Town Hall with Seán's birth certificate and if didn't have the "síne fada" on it, I would clock him one! He did good.

OUT-WORN heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh heart again in the gray twilight,
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shining and twilight gray;
Though hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;

And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the gray twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.

"I was just wishing for you ... and here you are."

Roarke - sigh - you know me. I love an asshole alpha male. Roarke is alpha but he is not an asshole. He is fucking perfect! I adore him. And I pretty much have a girl crush on Eve too. As always, the secondary characters are wonderful. Peabody, McNab, Feeney, Summerset, Galahad ....
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
August 3, 2016
This book had so much Roarke that my swoon-meter almost broke!

It was a blood-boiling, heart-melting swoon-a-thon!

Also, Eve was actually a good wife and put Roarke above her job for a few minutes. That was surprisingly nice to see. Usually it's all about Eve, she treats him pretty crappy, and he loves her like chocolate. We need to see some reciprocation once in a while.

But, as for the mystery? It was a lot about photography which bores the crap out of me.

But, all of the stuff on Roarke, Peabody, and Truheart made up for my hatred of photography, so I am standing behind my 5-star rating. Someone take a picture of me back here.

Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews414 followers
July 3, 2017

I wouldn’t advertise that if I were you…

Poor soul. The killer, I mean. Yes, it was really sad to discover who and why the killer killed! Even Eve was almost touched!

Where I was touched is Rourke’s reunion with his family!!! I actually cried! I was considering planting a cherry tree on my balcony!!

I was also chewing my nail when Truheart was in danger! And to read about Baxter’s distress!!! WOW!!!

Another winner here!!!
Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
903 reviews1,081 followers
August 1, 2018
Anybody else cried during reading of this book (or listening the audiobook) or was it only me? Because my god, Roarke's past made me cry like a baby... When he found out the truth, my heart broke for him... Ugh 😢😢😢

Ps. I listened the Audiobook. ;)

"I couldn't fall out of love with you if I fell all the way to hell." Emotion was storming into his eyes ... ❤
Profile Image for Aly is so frigging bored.
1,627 reviews274 followers
August 19, 2021
3rd read: 20 July - 19th August 2021

2nd read: 23 July - 6th August 2015

1st read: 15-19 May 2013
I forgot to add one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"What's that? Is that chocolate? Real chocolate?"
"What?" Panicked, Eve shoved the hand behind her back. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm working here."
"I can smell it." To prove it, Peabody sniffed the air like a wolf. "That's not chocolate substitute, that's not soy. That's real goods."
"Maybe. And it's mine."
"Just let me have a little—" Peabody's gasp was shocked and heartfelt as Eve stuffed the remaining chunk in her mouth. "Oh, Dallas." She swallowed hard. "That was very childish."
"Uh-uh. And delicious," Eve added with her mouth full. "What've you got?"
"I don't have chocolate breath, that's for damn sure." At Eve's arch look, she pokered up. "While others, who will remain nameless, were stuffing their face with candy, I diligently pursued an angle in the investigation that I believe might be of some interest to the incredibly selfish candy-hog primary."
"It was dark chocolate."
"You're a mean person and will probably go to hell."
"I can live with that."
[I would have done the same thing as Dallas =))]
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
February 15, 2022
I don't know - this woman is a genius. I know this is a re-read but I seem to find more in the re-reads ... maybe because I am doing the audibles too - not much time for reading so I am using my time in the car, to and from work or out and about, listening to them ... great narrator. One or two little nitpicks but I get over them quickly.

Roarke ... what to say that I haven't said before. I adore him. He had some stark facts revealed to him in this one and he didn't handle it very well - didn't handle his relationship with Eve very well either. Sort of shut her out a bit. He ended up in Ireland, met Brian, his childhood friend ... got a little tipsy.

"when in Ireland", I suppose!

"I'm bound for Clare tomorrow."

My home county in Ireland ... I swooned when I read this. You see, me and Roarke were meant for each other.

He rarely thought of his heritage, and had never held the grand and weepy sentiment of Ireland so many did those ancestors had left hose green fields behind. But driving alone now under a sky layered with clouds that turned the light into a gleaming pearls seeing the shadows dance over the endless roll of green and the lush red blooms of wild fuchsia rise taller than a man to form hedgerows, he felt a tug.

"I couldn't find my balance ... until I stood out here in the mist of the morning and saw you."

And no matter how much I love Roarke, I love Eve just as much! My heroine.

Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,650 reviews3,233 followers
March 1, 2020
5 Still Learning The Marriage Rules Stars
* * * * * Spoiler Free
I am so in love with this series and J.D. Robb's brilliance, I don't ever see myself getting tired of reading this series. I had stepped away for a hot minute and even though all the books I had read were strong and encompassing...this series kept coming back, tapping me on my shoulder whispering in my ear...urging me to return.

In Portrait in Death (In Death, #16) we are seeing how all of the people who are important to Roarke and Eve have grown along with our couple's the relationship. There are solid friendships, hot relationships between co-workers and the continued mutual hostility/affection between Eve and Sommerset.

In the midst of all of this, there is a new case that is robbing people of their light/life.
We are given the killer's POV to enhance the creepiness. The case is a puzzle and will touch those we have become close to. The case has many twists and turns and keeps the team guessing.

Eve and Roarke have learned during this young marriage to navigate many of the new things in their lives...such as figuring out how to be there for each other. In the recent past, Roarke helped Eve overcome going back to Dallas and it brought them even closer...

Now Roarke is the one who has had his carefully controlled world turned upside down. He is presented with circumstances that change everything and is at a loss. This causes Eve to be challenged too.

For me, when Robb highlights the spectacular love Roarke and Eve have for each other, I am so moved. I will read a passage and just be stopped cold by the beauty of it. The real emotion, stark and clear. No need to make it more than it is as what it is...IS EVERYTHING. Period.

Robb teaches a Masterclass in Writing with every book she does. She crafts so that the reader is able to follow everything, in the moments and be shocked, hurt and loved all by her pacing and care. She has us interested in all that she puts on the page. She wastes nothing.

When reading this series, it is as if I have never left it. Every time I start a new book there is a deep comfort in this. Thank you, Ms. Robb.

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Back at my Quest to Read All I Can, Roarke and Eve...

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
For more
Profile Image for Ren Puspita.
1,125 reviews921 followers
March 20, 2023
Re-read Oct, 21st 2011

Contain spoilers (so, yes people!! Continue read this series!)

Portrait in Death is my favorite book of In Death series. Well, I love all In Death books, but my favorite is just a few. And each of that book always have special moment. My favorites include :
- Naked in Death (Roarke and Eve's first meeting at the curch, any readers will not forget about that moment. Really powerful!)
- Vengeance in Death (Roarke's past and well this one have one of my favorite Eve-Roarke's sex scene *grin*),
- Judgment in Death (Roarke jealous and punch Eve's ex lover, Don Webster! Arrr!!)

And then this book =)

Well, the beginning of this book is funny! Eve just celebrated Summerset's vacation, planning to have monkey sex with her irressistable Irish husband (cough2!).But her dream ruined because Summerset cancelled his plan, just because his leg broken (insert evil laugh here!). Then, Eve had case like usual and that when Roarke finally knowing the ugly truth behind his past. To learn about who his real mother. And, boy! How devastated he was when knowing that his real mother never left him and love him deeply, even she's finally killed because of that. Worse is, he almost hurt Eve's feeling in the process. But don't worry, our hero learn from his mistake! That's Roarke we talking about folks! So he goes to Ireland, to reveal more about his past and to meet his family that he think never exist.

There are some surprised near the ending which include Troy Trueheart and his life! And finally Summerset go vacation even he's still limping =P

Special moment of this book? Beside readers will know more about Roarke's past and the truth behind his childhood, we will see he's drunk himself silly in this book *grin*. Grrr, if this book made into movie, maybe I'l die from major nosebleed when watch that scene, just sayin'! =P

As usual, Eve and Roarke are rock together! Even they have problems, when Roarke shut out Eve because he was stressed when know his past, Eve never gave up on him. That's why I love them both and I know readers's reason to love Eve-Roarke are the same with me =)

Note : This book win AAR 2003 for The Best Hero. Well, even without award, we will always know Roarke is one of the best hero ever live on Romancelandia! (donna care if some readers said he's too good to to be true ;P)
Profile Image for Diane.
650 reviews23 followers
April 28, 2019
Portrait in Death is one of my favourites in the ID series. Roarke learns about his family, his real mother actually and he returns to Ireland to find answers.

The killer is a pathetic individual that is tough to detest - but murder is never an answer.

I like some of the side characters, in particular Dirk Hastings, the photographer or is that portographer :)

Sadly we learn about Crack's sister and his real name - very emotional part of the book - one of many in this one.

5 stars and 2 thumbs up - great read.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,172 reviews616 followers
March 5, 2018
Another great thriller in this excellent series by J.D Robb!
Eve Dallas is once again trying to hunt down a serial killer, one who is targeting beautiful young people and taking their portraits before and after death. She also has problems to deal with at home with Summerset having broken his leg just as he was due to take his three week vacation and Roarke dealing with an astounding revelation about his mother and origins in Ireland. Everyone is out of sorts and Roarke and Eve have a serious fight that will require some patience and understanding on both sides. There is still room for some running jokes regarding candy bars, Peabody telling Eve more than she wants to know about her relationship with McNab, and Eve and Summerset's exchange of barbs.
Profile Image for Al *the semi serial series skipper*.
1,658 reviews666 followers
January 17, 2018
I didn't really like this, I enjoy it when the killer has some weird twisted motive but he still has his sanity. When the killer is literally insane it tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth because there is no area of safety in insanity.

I really like Roarke's story arc in this one, I was really happy with the reaction he got from Sinead especially with all the terrible things that has happened to him.

Profile Image for Irene Sim.
711 reviews79 followers
October 22, 2018
6 freaking stars!

One of the best stories in this series.

Where do I begin? This story brought tears to my eyes on many scenes and I'm in wonder of how J.D. Robb still does it... Is it maybe because after so many books I came to care for these characters so much as if they are actual people I know? But what about "Crack"? He's just a built, random black bouncer in a Club, barely someone you pay attention. But J.D. Robb pierced my heart with his loss.

What about Baxter and Trueheart? The finale had these two implicated in a dangerous situation and I think my heart was beating in the same tempo with the sirens that were chasing after the vilain.

And what about the vilain himself? I was left speechless with the way Eve handled him in the end, so delicately which can only be described as humanly.

Eve has come a lot of way past the cold, anti-social, anti-human person she was in the beginning of the series. Oh, she's still driven and dedicated to the office, but I can't help but think that it's mostly because of her relationship with Roarke but other people in her life helped as well, Peabody and Nadine and Dr. Mira...

And what went through with Roarke and his personal revelations was heart wrenching to watch and Eve being first a wife and then a cop, left me in awe of them....

Profile Image for Alex ♈.
1,568 reviews1,181 followers
December 18, 2018
Suspense 4.5 stars / Romance 4 stars

I quote my dear friend Ann Lou: it was a sad read. The victims were so young, so innocent. It broke my heart.
As always brilliantly solved by Eve. This woman is my idol!

Romance was a big part of this story. Roarke learned about his real mother. I didn't like how he pushed Eve away, but I somehow got why he did it. He was cruel to his wife. Eve was again a cleverer one in their relationship, I adored her.
Profile Image for Riz.
1,197 reviews118 followers
Want to read
June 15, 2021
I so much miss Eve and Roarke 🥺😍💕 (and all the lovable casts here 🥺🤍). And the last time I read this series is in 2014, so I need to slowly catch up to this series sometime later 🥺 (and I need to recall the story lines and all the details in this series 😅)
Profile Image for Somia.
2,051 reviews129 followers
February 19, 2019
Another ace addition to the series.

The book starts of with humour, as Eve cheers the fact Summerset is about to set off on vacation, and plans to celebrate by having hot monkey sex with her irresistible hubby. But alas Eve’s dreams are ruined when Summerset breaks his leg!

In this book there are also some stark revelations that leave Roarke reeling, and we see Eve step up to the plate to provide him with the support and comfort he needs. After the shit Roarke’s had to deal with, I was really happy with the reaction he got from Sinead and the others when he went to Ireland.

Plus, in this one Peabody is sassier and it looks like she’ll be getting her detective license soon – and hopefully will become Eve’s official partner.

I’m really enjoying this series and the way in which the main characters continue to develop and I’m also liking the fact that the core of main characters is steadily growing.
Profile Image for Ann Lou.
555 reviews89 followers
July 13, 2017
This one's very sad to read. I mean, all murders are But this one got deeper to me than the rest. There was no brutality in the murders just a twisted, mentally ill killer who thinks he's preserving their youth, vitality and energy by killing them. By immortalizing them.

Eve is distracted and off because worried about Roarke. She's still learning about the rules of marriage and stuff.

Roarke. He's not his perfect self in this one. A secret from his past came to light and he didn't know how to deal with it. I was heartbroken for him but couldn't love him any less. Roarke and Eve are good for each other.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,310 reviews219 followers
February 12, 2021
4.75 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book contained a great mystery and psychological suspense story.
A lot of love and loss happens in this one....it was poignant and bittersweet at times.
For the first time ever in this series we see Roarke experience some significant emotional hurt of his own and he is really thrown off balance by events.
The ever confident "professional" Eve also experiences a personal challenge as she struggles with how to handle her primary role here as Roarke's wife and as a cop second....I loved how this storyline panned out.
I cannot recommend these stories enough and thanks go out to my library for carrying almost all of them.
Profile Image for Tina.
1,758 reviews280 followers
January 21, 2008
This is the 16th book in the In Death series.

It is August 2059 and it is hot in the city. Eve catches a case where a killer kidnaps, kills and then photographs young college students. And while Eve is busily off tracking down a serial killer, Roarke learns a devastating truth about his past.

JD Robb continues to march on with her crazily addicting series featuring the tough as nails bitch cop, Eve Dallas and her seriously delicious billionaire husband Roarke.

The mystery/slash police procedure in this book is pretty standard fare for this series. By now the character of Eve and her methods are very much established. For those who've read the other 15 book in the series, the solving of this crime and the motives behind it are quite familiar and truthfully break no new ground.

However, I am compelled to give this installment five stars for several reasons:

1)I thought she did a great job of making the victims extremely sympathetic. As I was reading, I actually felt sorry that these kids were dead. She painted a picture of people who were very vital while alive. Maybe it was because of their ages, but I think she took pains moreseo in this installment than in previous ones to capture this.

2) Great use of recurring characters. Trueheart! goes undercover and the ending is bite your nails suspenseful. Also, Crack makes an incredibly memorable appearance in this one.

3) Humor. The recurring theme of Peabody injecting information about her love life with McNabb and Eve's reactions are priceless. And i enjoy Eve's interaction with the temperamental photographer Hastings.

4) Eve and Summerset have a Moment. I continue to enjoy the rather prickly respect/hate relationship these two have. I also like that Robb doesn't have them suddenly liking each other in a flash of understanding. I also love that there is the likelihood that this will never happen. But these two both love Roarke so they have some common ground and they meet on that ground every so often. This installment had some excellent meeting of the minds between these two.

But most of all, the part that made this book for me was

5) Roarke learning about his past. All along in this series, we've been watching as Eve learned dribs and drabs about her past. She's been remembering her horrific childhood in bits and pieces. But there has never been a real mystery about Roarke. The only thing he's tried to keep from her has been some parts of his own criminal past. But out of the blue he learns something and it is a biggie. The scenes where he first finds out, his reaction to finding out and his interactions with Eve upon finding out are absolute stand-outs. And once again we are confronted with the fact that Roarke is a stone killer. Loved his interrogation techniques when he goes back to Dublin to find out the real truth.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Kelly Kosinski.
184 reviews15 followers
October 13, 2022
Always love the in-death books! This one was so great! Love Trueheart in this one. If you have not read any of these books, start with the first and read them in order. There are so many but you will be happy to start with the early books because the characters grow and you love them.
Profile Image for Lorraine Southern.
170 reviews27 followers
January 27, 2021
14/80. I do enjoy these In Death books, bit of guilty pleasure! This was a good, fun, twisty, busy little crime thriller, one of the better ones to date.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,127 reviews269 followers
July 28, 2022
I'm giving Portrait an extra multiplier for all the good Roarke developments. We were in dire need of more info on his past!

This is the one about a mad photographer. Eve shags a call about a young coed found in a dumpster. At about the same time, Nadine from Channel 75 News calls to say she received an envelope of professional photos of a very beautiful, very dead young woman. Before long, a young college man turns up dead in a public fountain, dressed for a stunning photo shoot...

In other more interesting news, Louise Dimatto introduces her clinic's new headshrinker to the big boss - and what a coincidence, she's from Dublin, too! Remarkably, Dr. Moira has a personal message for Roarke: your mother wasn't Meg Roarke. Your mother was young, beautiful, and never would have left you Talk about a kick in the pants! Roarke's world flips upside down, so he flies to Ireland to look into his past. Also in this one, Somerset breaks his leg badly, ruining Eve's plans to have 3 weeks alone with her hubby. Trueheart catches another tough break during a critical point in the investigation.
Profile Image for Lauren.
2,273 reviews162 followers
November 3, 2018
Portrait in Death
3.5 Stars

Following a tip, Eve Dallas discovers the body of a young woman in a dumpster and begins investigating a series of murders in which the victims are all students whose bodies have been staged and photographed. At the same time, Eve must deal with an injured Summerset as well as Roarke, who has become troubled and distant.

The murder investigation is one of the weakest in the series. It progresses slowly and there it too much rehashing of evidence. It is also relatively easy to identify the killer by process of elimination. Nevertheless, the race toward the climax and resolution is very exciting and there are a couple of edge-of-your-seat moments.

In contrast, the character development is excellent, especially for Roarke as he struggles to reconcile his feelings after discovering some disturbing information about his past. Roarke has always seemed to be the perfect man, so it was intriguing to see him so lost and … well… human, which only enhances his appeal.

As always, the interactions between Eve and Summerset are a highlight and it is particularly gratifying to see how much they have in common both in terms of the lengths they will go to for Roarke, but also in their reactions to hospitals and Trina's torture sessions.

In sum, not the best mystery, but worth it for more of Roarke's backstory and insight into his character.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,040 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.