Book Review: “Taking Eve” (Eve Duncan #16)



Title:  Taking Eve

Author:  Iris Johansen

Series:  Eve Duncan Series #16

Synopsis  (from

As a forensic sculptor, Eve Duncan’s mission is to bring closure to the families whose loved ones have vanished. She knows their anguish—her own beloved daughter, Bonnie, was taken from her when Bonnie was just seven years old. It is only recently that this mystery was resolved and Eve could begin her journey to peace. Now Jim Doane wants the same kind of answers that Eve always longed for. His twenty-five-year-old son may or may not be dead, and he has only burned skull fragments as possible evidence. But he cannot go to the police for answers without exposing his dark past, so instead he chooses a bold step to find the truth—one that takes Eve down a twisted path of madness and evil and into the darkest heart of her own history. Doane needs Eve’s skills and he’ll do anything to get them…even if it means taking Eve.

My thoughts:   I have read the entire Eve Duncan series from beginning to this . . . and I really want to say I loved this book, but I just can’t.  It is very seldom that I have so many thoughts and comments about a book and a series and it is certainly seldom if ever that I have to lay out a bullet point list about my feelings about a book, but here it goes.

1.  Bonnie needs to go.  Anyone who has read any part of the Eve Duncan series knows that a huge focus of much of the series was Eve finding out what happened to her murdered daughter Bonnie.  Frankly, for me the longer the series went on, the more this Bonnie theme and storyline just got old and somewhat annoying.  I was pleased to see that the Bonnie issue was solved during the last trilogy (Bonnnie, Mike, Eve), and I foolishly thought it would be put away.  I guess I was wrong.  Bonnie still finds her way into this trilogy.  Now granted, it is to a much lesser degree, however Bonnie still comes to Eve in her “dreams” I guess.  Please just let Bonnie rest in peace and let’s move on.

2.  Why the somewhat paranormal?  I understand that books revolving around the paranormal and characters with special “powers” are all the rage, but I don’t really understand why this author has to jump on this bandwagon in this series.  The Eve Duncan books never really had a touch of paranormal and now there are certain characters helping in the case that have what I can only describe as “special” powers if you will.  Margaret, the woman who can somehow communicate with animals, the “animal whisperer”.  Seth Caleb, the man who can control people’s blood up and to the point of killing them.  Really?  Come on.  And it only gets worse in the second book in the trilogy.  It’s not as if the author fully commits to incorporating these more paranormal characters and experiences in her book, but feels more like she has to somehow have of this in the book since it is all the rage.  Just let it go!

3.  Why a trilogy?  I hate to have to jump on the bandwagon and say this, especially since I have absolutely loved this series from the beginning, but it is starting to feel like the author is writing these trilogies simply to sell more books.  I currently am about 1/2 way through Hunting Eve, the 2nd book in the series, and really the storyline is dragging.  I really feel as if the author could have aptly told this story in one book rather than dragging it out into three.   Basically, I felt like the plot of Taking Eve can be summed up briefly as Eve disappears, Joe Quinn and Jane miss her deeply and go into a panic trying to find her, and they start the process to look for her.  Yes, there is some backstory, but that is not compelling at all.

4.  Go back to what made Eve Duncan great.  I am really hoping that the author returns this series to what made it great, namely Eve and her facial reconstructions.  Each earlier book focused on one case that Eve was working on in terms of a reconstruction.  The case was compelling, intriguing, and interesting and the story wrapped up nicely.  These last two sets of trilogies really feels like the author has strayed away from what made this series great.  The series no longer focuses on Eve’s work and the interesting cases she gets into, but rather this endless search for personal answers.

Yes, I of course am going to finish this trilogy, but I have to say I am increasingly disappointed with this series.

I am so hopeful that the following books return to what I loved about this series or I am afraid (and I NEVER say this about characters I love) perhaps it is time to put Eve Duncan to bed!!

And remember,

Books Are Life,




1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Detective/Police, Fiction, Iris Johansen

One response to “Book Review: “Taking Eve” (Eve Duncan #16)

  1. Pingback: Book Review: “Silencing Eve” by Iris Johansen (Eve Duncan #18) | Books Are Life - Vita Libri

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