To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, Ardi Alspach reviews #1, Naked in Death.
Nora Roberts, the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writer’s Association Hall of Fame, might be one of the most prolific romance and mystery writers of our time. With over 200 novels in print, she’s gearing up to release the highly anticipated 44th novel in the Eve Dallas series, Echoes in Death, written under her pseudonym J.D. Robb.
The Eve Dallas series—also known as the In Death series—is a police procedural set in a science-fictional future New York City, featuring episodic-style crimes that are set up and solved in each novel while focusing on the developing relationship between the title character, Eve, and her lover, Roarke, over its entirety. With the latest novel in the series, Echoes in Death, due out in February, it’s time to take a look back at where it all began—with Naked In Death, published in 1995.
It’s New York City, and the year is 2058. Life’s changed since the Urban Revolt of 2016, and police Lieutenant Eve Dallas lives in a world where guns only exists as relics of the past—locked away in museums or in the private collections of eccentric history buffs. Prostitution is legal, and the government is regulated and taxed.
Dallas has just come off a rough case that still haunts her, but instead of going through the required psychiatric testing that comes after a lawful termination, she’s pulled directly into a hush-hush, high priority homicide involving a senator’s granddaughter. The passages below set the tone for the whole book:
“She and her family were at odds?”
“Oh definitely. She enjoyed shocking them. She was such a free spirit, and they so… ordinary.” He said it in a tone that indicated ordinary was more mortal sin than murder itself….
“Eve’s ears prickled. “The senator opposes the gun ban?”
“It’s one of his pets. Sharon told me he owns a number of nasty antiques and spouts off regularly about the outdated right to bear arms business. If he had his way, we’d all be back in the twentieth century, murdering each other right and left.”
“Murder still happens,” Eve murmured.
Robb is best known as a romance writer, and in this foray into the mystery genre, she brings that experience in romance to full effect. In addition to the thrilling and dramatic aspects of Eve’s police work and the danger she often finds herself in, we have the added thrill of romance and sexual tension. During the course of her investigation, she encounters the famous yet mysterious billionaire, only known as Roarke, and things get steamy between them—even if their relationship gets off to a rocky start. I appreciate that Eve is hesitant and has trust issues because of a dark past. And though Roarke can be a bit overbearing, he also ultimately respects her wishes.
Then he’d sensed something, something that had coiled his muscles, tightened his gut. He’d felt her gaze, as physical as a blow. When he’d turned, when he’d seen her, another blow. A slow motion one-two punch he hadn’t been able to evade.
It was fascinating.
But the warning blip hadn’t gone off. Not the warning blip that should have relayed cop. He’d seen a tall, willowy brunette with short, tumbled hair, eyes the color of honeycombs and mouth made for sex.
If she hadn’t sought him out, he’d intended to seek her.
Too damn bad she was a cop.
Eve has had a rough past, and it looks like we’re going to get to know more about that as the series continues—just as I feel that we’re going to get to know Roarke and his mysterious past as well. We’re seeing a budding relationship where Eve wants to follow her heart but her head is keeping her at arms length.
This is my first J.D. Robb novel, and I’m loving it. Naked in Death is wonderfully entertaining, often reminding me of Law and Order: SVU. The standard police procedural mixed with steamy romance is an excellent way to wile away an afternoon. I have a feeling that these novels are like potato chips—you can’t have just one!
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Ardi Alspach was born in Florida, raised in South Carolina, and now resides in New York City with her cat and an apartment full of books. By day, she's a publicist, and by night, she's a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @ardyceelaine or check out her website at ardyceelaine.wordpress.com.