All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Naked In Death – J.D. Robb

on December 18, 2010

I’ve read a lot of Nora Roberts books in my time. When I was a poor university student who couldn’t afford her own books and I only ever checked out text books and reference books, my grandmother passed her books onto me as she never, ever re-reads. She likes Nora Roberts so I read a lot of her romances and romance/crime trilogies. But I’ve never read any of the JD Robb mysteries until now. I’ve seen them everywhere – she churns out a couple of them a year and there’s something like 30+ books now. During the Twitter discussion #spbkchat which is the South Pacific Book Chat, a book related chat that takes place  in a time friendly to the south Pacific with a different topic each week, we had a recent crime novel discussion. These books came up and I thought that it might be time I gave them a go.

When the book opens, Lt Eve Dallas, working for the NYPD has just shot and killed a suspect. She has to go through the mandatory testing process before she can be cleared for duty again but before that can occur she is urgently called out to the scene of a crime. A registered prostitute has been brutally murdered, using weapons that are now strictly illegal. Like the novel I just read, Awaken, these novels are set some time into the future, roughly 50 years. Guns are outlawed in America (J.D. Robb is very optimistic!) and the police officers use a laser, which can be used as a shoot to kill device. Prostitution is legal and heavily regulated with all escorts requiring a license and strict regular check ups.

The dead prostitute is the grand-daughter of a prominent Senator, campaigning heavily to end the legalised prostitution and also, to re-instate the right to bear arms. She has been shot once through the head and in other parts of her body and then displayed naked and spreadeagled. The police discover that her building has excellent security equipped with cameras and that the cameras showing who enters the building and showing the victims floor have been tampered with, erasing all activity in the two hours surrounding time of death. There’s also a note with her body which says simply: 1 of 6.

The meaning is clear – this is the first victim and there will be 5 others unless Eve can track down the killer. Eve starts her investigation, hampered by the contradiction that is the victim and her wealthy, powerful, arrogant grandfather who threatens and tries to bully Eve regarding the investigation. Her inquiries lead her towards Roarke (just Roarke, one name) an eccentric and reclusive Irish gazillionaire who apparently owns a huge chunk of the world (and several parts of the space stations off it that you can go to for a space resort-style holiday). He’s mysterious and of course, gorgeous. Even though he’s a person of interest in the investigation, Eve can’t help but be attracted to him. And he’s made his attraction to Eve more than clear. But Eve is trying to resist – she has other pressing concerns, like the two more dead bodies, killed in identical fashion to the first.

The futuristic world  is a bit jarring at first, with the idea of space stations for recreation only 50 years away a bit clunky. There’s references to a few gadgets that make life easier, delivering food that you ask for but it’s all a bit vague and I hope that as I read more books in the series, I get a better feel for what the world is like in 2058 in these novels. Eve is a tough little sprite with a painful and horrendous past that has made her close herself off from most people. She’s solitary outside of work and sticks to a few trusted colleagues while doing her job. She’s independent and although she resists her attraction to Roarke, he eventually wears her down. Even when she thinks it’s just a one night stand, when she wants to dismiss it as that, he neatly manouvres her into something a little more than that, seeing past the facade she presents.

I am aware that Roarke has a bit of a cult following in this series and while I found him okay in the first novel, I am not totally down with the Roarke love yet. He’s still too mysterious-and-perfect-hero at the moment. I’m hoping he acquires more of a 3D appearance in the next few novels. How is one supposed to say Roarke anyway? I was never quite sure and tried out different pronounications in my head! He’s all admitting to being madly in love with Eve about three minutes after meeting her and although I know this is romance/crime it’s still a bit jolting in a novel of this type. Actually, in a novel of any type. Where’s the slow burn? It’s not like I saw potential for a love triangle, I’m fairly sure it’s going to be all-Roarke, all the time, so why the hurry? Anyway.

As with all Nora Roberts novels I’ve read, it was well written and engrossing enough to read in one sitting and I liked the twist at the end. I like being partially right about something but then being surprised about something else. I enjoy that sort of cleverness in a crime mystery and I felt this one gave me just enough information to think I had everything all worked out and then deftly show me that there was a whole other element I’d missed.

I’ve checked #2 in the series out from the library, so I’m interested to see how the series develops. Even with an author so prolific as Roberts/Robb, it can be a big step from writing stand alone novels and even trilogies, to sinking your teeth in a big series. I’d like to see how her writing changes, if at all, throughout the series.


Book #117 of 2010

3 responses to “Naked In Death – J.D. Robb

  1. […] the article here: Naked In Death – J.D. Robb « All The Books I Can Read Related Posts:Christmas means books « Books and Musings from Downunder How to Survive Christmas by […]

  2. Judi says:

    Keep reading the series and do it in order. The character development is wonderful and more continuing characters enter.

  3. Marg says:

    One of the things that I like about JDR/NR is that it doesn’t seem to matter how many books she is putting out her writing really is consistently good!

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