Title: Naked in Death and Glory in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Review number: 35
Stand alone/Series: Books 1 and 2 of In Death series (27 books so far)
Naked in Death: Breaking every rule, Lt. Eve Dallas gets involved with Roarke, a suspect in her latest murder case. But passion and seduction have rules all their own.
Glory In Death: In Lt. Eve Dallas’s latest case, two murder victims have one connection: Roarke.
Why did I read the book: I read so many reviews and comments about this series, I was curious!
Naked in Death and Glory in Death are the first two books in the In Death series created by J.D. Robb, a pseudonym of writer Nora Roberts. The first book, Naked in Death was published back in 1995 and it introduces us to the world of New York Police and Security Department detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who is the protagonist in all of the series’ books – these are crime novels and we follow her investigation of the mysteries of each book whilst learning about her private life.
Eve Dallas is a terrific heroine – she is a no-frills woman, a tough cop who prides herself in her work and is known for her integrity and investigating skills. She is also a very private person, with only a couple of friends and no family. She has very few memories of a terrible childhood which makes her hold back her emotions and to have almost debilitating nightmares.
In Naked in Death she is the primary investigator in a series of gruesome murders involving prostitutes. There is a serial killer on the loose and he has left clues that other people will die. Her primary suspect is Roarke, an Irish Billionaire with a shady past , a powerful man who collects guns just like the one used on the first murder. There is an immediate attraction between Roarke and Eve and as soon as she is certain he is innocent they start an uneasy relationship.
Whilst dealing with this case, Eve’s memories of the past start coming back and they are truly terrible. In the 0-10 scale of “The Most Atrocious Thing That Can Happen to a Child”, Eve’s past ranks on 11. That’s how bad it is – it is also one of the reasons why it is so difficult for her to open up to Roarke and to have a real romance in her life and so she struggles and is adamant that their romance is a passing thing. It could not be different given their difference in status and their perfective of life.
Roarke on the other hand, although scared at first of his strong feelings towards Eve, is equally adamant that theirs is no passing thing and he recognizes pretty soon that he is falling in love with this strong woman: he respects her work, he admires her toughness whilst at the same time being caring and protective. He is in other words, perfect for her (and for any other woman on the planet, let’s face the reality here). But there is also real conflict, because they are so different, because Eve is a cop and Roarke is very mysterious in how he has come about so much money and about his childhood– it is pretty clear that he has done some illegal things in the past although it appears that he now leads a very legitimate life. Mostly.
The truth is as Roarke says, they both turned away from something not good and turned themselves into something else and they are now trying to build something together.
I was thoroughly satisfied with Naked in Death but before writing my review I thought I should read book 2, Glory in Death, as I was concerned with a few things. I wanted to know whether the next crime investigation would be a re-wash of the first one; I wanted to see how the relationship with Roarke would carry on and if it would still be gripping but most of all, I wanted to know if Eve’s past would continue to signify in her life. This point was very important to me, because as I said, she was a victim of one the most despicable crimes against a child and I would not like to see it solved and dealt with quickly to never make an appearance again.
In Glory in Death, Eve once more if the primary investigator in a series of crimes involving public and famous women which eventually makes herself also a target. Romance wise, she is still trying to cope with and control her strong feelings towards Roarke who is now starting to be a bit impatient with her holding back. He is completely out there for her, professing his love and wanting to be integral part of her life, hurting that she hasn’t been able to say the words he wants to hear so much. Until she does and oh boy, be still be my heart. I now see I how many romance readers consider the Roarke and Eve relationship as one of the top couples in the world of romance and I could not agree more. It is even more interesting because it follows the natural course of a real relationship: over a long period of time, from dating, to falling in love, to moving in together, to proposing, etc, etc.
Another point of interest: the In Death books are set in a futuristic world , in 2058 and the fact that only now I mention it in my review goes to show how the slightly sci-fi setting is not overwhelming of the story. It is interesting how the world in 2058 is not completely out of the realm of possibility in some points like the fact that there is no real coffee to be drank giving the depletion of the nature resources and the global warming. Prostitution is legalized, Guns are not. Technology is well developed with screen phones and search mechanisms that I can see were well thought out. There are more out of this world implements like phasers, air shuttles and inter-planetary travel but they are so intrinsic to the story and are described so en passant that it seems all very natural and can be understood even by those who don’t like the sci-fi genre.
I thought the crime investigation was interesting even though I predicted both killers from a mile away.( I guess all of those Agatha Christie’s books and CSI episodes must be good for something after all. ). The romance in no way took central stage – it was all very well balanced and in truth a story about Eve Dallas, and how she balances her past and her present, her detective work and her private life. It is the thawing of a woman who has had her heart frozen for a long time and which will eventually I think, make her an even better cop.
There are other 25 books in this series with number 28th coming up later this year and I plan to read all of them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to come up with a plan to convince Dear Partner why I must quit my job to become a stay-at-home reader/reviewer.
Notable quotes/ parts: I could be all brainy and say that I love the mysteries, the CSI-like investigation of the murders, say something about the secondary characters which are all interesting ,or that the future setting is cool but really, to hell with all that. The best parts were any parts involving Roarke.
He is handsome. Irish. Billionaire. Strong. Charming. With and aura of power and intelligence. He is an excellent lover. He gets all hot and flushed when Eve goes tough on him. He is caring and protective and can’t bear to see her cry. He fell in love with Eve practically at first sight. He carries the button that fell from her jacket in their first encounter in his pocket and he touches it when he is feeling uneasy, or lonely, or to simply remember her. HE CAN GET REAL COFFEE OUT OF HIS PLANTATIONS. That just about did it for me. And for Eve too.
Additional thoughts: How is it possible that Nora Roberts has written 150 novels, including the ones under the JD Robb pseudonym? I never read any of her pure romance novels but I consider the In Death ones – the ones I read so far, that is – well written, well researched, interesting and with well flashed- out characters. Amazing. Can someone recommend me one of her romance novels – where should I start?
Verdict: Highly recommended: both novels were good fun, gripping, well written and with a pair of amazing protagonists.
Rating: 8 for both books. Excellent!
Reading Next: And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke