Naked in Death
By J.D. Robb
In Death series Book 1 Berkley Books July 1995
312 pages Sci-fi, Mystery, Romance
Read in e-book, also available in hardcover, paperback, audible book, audio CD
Is there anyone who hasn’t read this best-selling series, numbering forty-six in February 2018 with the release of Dark in Death? Yes. I personally know one person who hasn’t read any of the books in this series. So, this review is partly for her. The other part is that I have been promising myself that I would repurchase the whole series in e-book and re-read it for my own pleasure for years. Each year or so I would see another one released and I would kick myself and remind myself that I needed to buy it and read it. Well, I now own all that is available and have the new one on pre-order. Should have requested the ARC, but I never would have gotten it! So, what I am doing is setting aside the Monday review space each week for In Death and reading through the series. I hope authors will forgive me for reducing the availability by one each week and I hope readers will enjoy the review of a very popular series and join me as I re-read In Death. This was my New Year’s resolution.
So, what is book one about? Book one is not only a really good introduction to a full cast, but an excellent mystery. It takes place in the future when war has ravaged the world and governments have changed greatly, though things are still recognizable. There is travel off-planet, but it’s not for everyone. Mostly for the rich and famous or the the criminals sent to penal colonies.
LT Eve Dallas has just come off a case that has required her to terminate a man and she is due in Testing in the morning. Her decision to terminate the man she doesn’t doubt. It was the circumstances of the case that bothered her. The child, the little girl the man had killed, that bothered her. The pictures kept playing in her mind. The child “she was too late to save.”
She’s contacted by her Chief and Testing is postponed. Her expertise is required on a highly sensitive case immediately. She’s working it only with Feeney, a favored colleague who had a lot to do with her earlier training. A Licensed Companion is dead and she is the granddaughter of a U.S. Senator. By the time the perpetrator is brought to justice, three women will be dead, several highly visible and powerful careers will be ruined, and Dallas and Roarke will be trying to figure out what hit them.
This is not the last time that I will be able to say that there is an innocence about Eve and Roarke. Eve comes from an abusive background that she has managed to forget to a great degree. She knows she was found in Dallas, TX. She had been physically abused and had a broken arm at that time. Most of your childhood she has blocked from her mind as being too painful to recall. She has the nightmares of a sexually abused child. She has made herself into a very strong person who hates to lean on anyone or ask for help from anyone. She doesn’t share herself with people easily or willingly. Her only friend is Mavis. A young woman she saved from a bad situation. Eve is a total innocent when it comes to the more tender emotions in life. She isn’t sure what Roarke makes her feel or how to deal with it.
Roarke is from an abusive background as well. His father was a bully to anyone who was smaller than he was. Until Roarke grew up to be bigger than him. Roarke has worked his way up, cleaned himself up, and covered up what he was by using his excellent mind and knowledge of technology. He has also made a fortune and friends in many strange places. What he has had so little of in his life are the softer emotions. He is almost as innocent as Eve when it comes to what she is causing him to feel for her. The two of them are not as young as what we think of as innocents, but for what they are feeling, they are quite innocent as in this is the first time they have felt these feelings and they really aren’t sure how to handle them. They are somewhat in awe of their feelings.
The author does a wonderful job of introducing us to the cast of characters who populate the early books of this wonderful series, which was only intended to be a trilogy. We meet Mavis, the BFF singer who Eve would do anything for; Charles Munroe, the Licensed Companion who becomes a close friend of the couple; Dr. Charlotte Mira, the police profiler who comes to know Eve better than she does herself; Nadine Furst, the feisty TV reporter who eventually earns Eve’s trust and friendship; Sommerset, Roarke’s butler cum father substitute who will eventually come to respect Eve; Gallahad, the cat who lives higher than most people in the city and becomes close friends with Sommerset; and we’ve had a peek at Roarke’s wiz-bang super computer system that can hack into any other system in the world without detection. We’ve met Whitney, the eventual Chief of Police who has great respect for Eve’s talent and Roarke’s contributions and we’ve met Feeney, who was very involved in Eve’s early training as a detective and who thinks of her as a daughter. As time goes on, the population gets added to, but these people are the base of Eve and Roarke’s world for a long time.
It’s always interesting to revisit a series after time has passed and take another look at it when all the hype of new release has gone. This is a series that has stood the test of time. This first book was released in July of 1995, when our own technology was still so young in comparison to what we have now. Think back to the size of a cell phone or television then. The business technology we had then. We all had to wait for the book to come out in hardcover, then wait for the paperback version a bit later. Things have changed in these twenty some odd years. So looking at the technology in this first book, it doesn’t seem as advanced to me now as it did when I first read this story in paperback. We now have all sorts of communication that would rival what they have in the book. BUT! We don’t have cars that lift up and go over a traffic jam! Nor do we build resorts off-planet. Or have penal colonies off-planet. So, while time is catching up to some of the sci-fi elements, nothing can touch the relationships the author creates among these characters. These will always be the best part of this series anyway. These characters and how they get along or not is why so many of us keep coming back to this series. So, if you are one of those few people who haven’t read the In Death series by J.D. Robb, pick up this first book, or any of them actually, and see what you think of Dallas and Rourke’s crew! If you are already an intimate of Dallas and Roarke, may I suggest reading it again to pass the time until the next book is out in February? I highly recommend it!
Next Monday, January 8, 2018 Glory In Death, Book #2