Celebrity in Death - J. D. Robb Page 0,1

through the studio, past sets, equipment, huddles of people.

Eve stopped at the reproduction of her own bullpen. Desks—cluttered—the case board that took her back to the previous fall, the cubes, the scuffed floor.

The only thing missing was the cops—and the smell of processed sugar, bad coffee, and sweat.

“Is it right?”

“Yeah—some bigger, I guess.”

“It won’t look it on-screen. They reproduced your office, in the same layout, so they can shoot me or one of the others going through this area and in, or out. Would you like to see it?”

They walked through, past the false wall and an open area Eve assumed wouldn’t show on-screen either, and into a near-perfect model of her office at Cop Central, right down to the narrow window. Though this one looked out on the studio instead of New York.

“They’ll CGI in the view—buildings, air traffic,” Marlo said when Eve walked over to look out. “I’ve already shot some scenes in here, and we did the conference room scene where you lay out the conspiracy—Icove, Unilab, Brookhollow Academy. That was intense. The dialogue was straight from the book, which we’re told stuck very close to the actual record. Nadine did a brilliant job of merging the reality with a page-turning story line. Though I guess the reality was page-turning. I admire you so much.”

Surprised, mildly uncomfortable, Eve turned.

“What you do, every day,” Marlo continued, “is so important. I’m good at my work. I’m damn good at it, and I feel strongly what I do is important. It’s not uncovering-a-global-cloning-ring important, but without art, stories, and the people who bring those stories to life, the world would be a sadder, smaller place.”

“Sure it would.”

“When I started researching this part, I realized I’ve never had another role I wanted so much to do justice to. Not just because of the Oscar potential—though the shiny gold man would look great on my mantel—but because it’s important. I know you only watched the one scene, but I hope if there was anything that didn’t ring true, didn’t feel right to you, you’ll tell me.”

“It seemed right to me.” Eve shrugged. “The thing is, it’s strange, I guess a little disorienting, to watch somebody being you doing what you did, saying what you said. So since it felt strange and disorienting, it must be right.”

Marlo’s smile exploded. And no, Eve thought, she absolutely did not smile that way.

“That’s good then.”

“And this.” Eve did a turn around the office set. “I feel like I need to sit down and knock out some paperwork.”

“Carmandy would be thrilled to hear that. She’s the head set designer. Let’s get that coffee. They’ll need me back on set soon.”

Marlo gestured as they went out into the sun-blasted October of 2060. “If we go this way, you’ll see some of the Roarke/Dallas house set. It’s spectacular. Preston, our AD, told you they were going to want some publicity shots while you and Peabody are on set? Valerie Xaviar, that’s the publicist, is handling it. She’s on top of everything.”

“It was mentioned.”

Marlo smiled again, gave Eve’s arm a quick, light rub. “I know it’s not something you’d choose to do, but it’ll be great publicity for the vid—and it’ll make the cast and crew happy. You’re going to make the dinner tonight, I hope. You and Roarke.”

“We’re planning on it.” Couldn’t get out of it, Eve thought.

Marlo let out a laugh, shot Eve a look. “And you’re wishing you had a hot case so you could skip it.”

“I guess you are good at your work.”

“It’ll be more fun than you think. Which won’t be hard because you think it’ll be torture.”

“Have you got my office wired?”

“No, but I like to think I’m wired into you.” Marlo tapped her temple. “So I know you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more than you think. And you’ll love Julian. He’s nailed Roarke—the accent, the body language, that indefinable sense of power and sex. Plus, he’s gorgeous, funny, charming. I’ve loved working with him. Are you on an investigation now?”

“We just closed one a few days ago.”

“The Whitwood Center case, at least that’s what the media calls it. As I said, I’m steeped. Still, even when you’re not working something active, you’re supervising other investigations, testifying in court, consulting with the officers and detectives in your division. It’s a full plate. Dealing with—”

Marlo broke off when Eve’s communicator signaled.


Dispatch, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve. See the officer at Twelve West Third. Possible homicide.

“Acknowledged. Dallas and Peabody, Detective Delia, en route.” She clicked off, signaled Peabody.