Thursday, January 28, 2010

'In Death' Challenge Review: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

I'm beginning Christine's In Death Challenge by reading Naked in Death, Book #1. This is my first ever, J.D. Robb read, so I'm starting with a blank slate. I've heard and read many comments about Eve and Roarke and how "hot" Roarke is, but frankly I haven't really paid much attention to the details in this series since I wasn't following it, so before reading this book I was really an In Death virgin. No more! :)


Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all - and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about - except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.
I'll begin by addressing what I enjoyed the most and what worked for me after reading Naked in Death -- the characters and the world.

What type of character is Eve? In Naked in Death Eve is introduced as a cop above all -- she believes in justice and the law. She herself says that if she is not a cop, she is nothing. Being Lieutenant Dallas above all things doesn't allow for too many friendships and Eve has few of those in her life. However, as expected, she is portrayed as the best at her job, a tough cop with experience. What makes Eve interesting is that she has a heart to go along with that outward and real toughness. Her vulnerabilities are not apparent, but they are there to see for those she might allow knowing her. Eve's nightmarish childhood explains some of what drives her, but it seems to me there's much more to her.

I'll just have to keep reading as J.D. Robb gave enough information in this book about Eve's personality, her past and her hang-ups to hook me, but left enough unsaid that she still remains a mystery. Eve Dallas' character certainly caught my attention.

What type of character is Roarke? Roarke is a gorgeous, Irish alpha male, sexy as heck and a multi-billionaire to boot. It's obvious that he is used to getting what he wants and doing what he wants, when he wants it. He is a brilliant, successful businessman with a murky past, who has obviously broken the law more than once and sees the world in shades of gray. Roarke doesn't have too many real friends and doesn't give of himself easily -- in that, he seems to be very much like Eve. However, I found him to be more willing to show his vulnerabilities to Eve and that was a pleasant surprise coming from this type of male.

Robb does the same thing with Roarke's character that she did with Eve's. We learn just enough about his childhood, his past and his present financial circumstances to satisfactorily develop this story, but the details are left unsaid. We'll have to get to know Roarke and what really drives him in future installments.

What about the world? I found the world Eve and Roarke inhabit an interesting one. First, it's New York City, a place I'm very familiar with, so it was fun to imagine all those floating vendors selling their wares on the crowded streets. That particular description reminded me of a scene in the movie The Fifth Element, where Bruce Willis is buying Chinese food from his high-rise building window from a vendor who is floating by. Neat! Second, I liked that Robb used technology that is advanced enough to give the book a futuristic atmosphere, but everything still felt familiar. The futuristic details did not overwhelm the plot or the character development.

Was there a plot? Naked in Death is a who-done-it that begins with a murdered licensed companion or licensed prostitute, and before we know it, it's full of political intrigue, corruption, a family's dirty little secrets and a cold, calculating murderer who is keeping a close eye on Eve. Eve has her hands full juggling the first murder, as the victim happens to be the granddaughter of a Senator. Between having to deal with the mayor, the Senator, the media, and investigating other murders as they begin to pile up, Eve also has to deal with the suspects as her investigation begins to take shape. Her main suspect: Roarke.

The more Eve gets to know Roarke, the less convinced she is that he is the murderer. However, she doesn't immediately trust her insticts when it comes to him. Eve is very attracted to Roarke and it seems to be mutual. Before Eve even realizes it, she is involved with Roarke on a very personal level as the fascination he initially feels for Eve turns into much more. But is he a murderer? And if not Roarke, then who else fits the profile?

Well, I can definitely see why everyone sighs over Roarke and loves Eve. The beginning of their romance is certainly intense enough that it easily became my favorite part of this book. Roarke is an impressive character -- both sexy and charismatic -- and Eve's combination of toughness and vulnerability makes for a winning combination. Their scenes together were both passionate and touching. One of my favorite little details was Roarke keeping Eve's suit button in his trouser pocket -- that little detail made ME sigh.

Less impressive for me was the murder mystery itself. It was done well enough, but I happen to be a bit picky when it comes to unanswered questions or sloppy police procedures that give away who did it in this type of book. I don't like it when it becomes obvious to me who did it before the end of a mystery, if that's not the intention. That part of the story was not entirely satisfying.

In the end, I loved the characterization and the futuristic atmosphere in this book, and I very much enjoyed the romance and sexual tension. I also enjoyed how J.D. Robb interconnected the romance and the suspense in this book. And although I found the suspense to be predictable, I'm looking forward to reading all about the futuristic police procedures used in the In Death series, as well as the ongoing romance. Grade B.

13 comments:

  1. Yes! Another one who had joined this challenge! I'm having a wonderful time reliving my 'rookie' days of this series by reading through others who are just discovering it.
    I had no idea when I first started that I would get so caught up with Eve, Roarke and the rest of the gang. You did a bang-up job in describing this book.

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  2. Yes, I'm so glad you started this series! From the eyes of an In Death virgin, you really did an awesome job summing up Eve and Roarke. I LOVE this series!

    Are you going to read all the books in order? When I first started the series, I was really anxious to get the latest release but at the time I think there were about 28 books that I had to catch up to first! Lol.

    I can't wait until you "meet" with the rest of the gang. I do hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

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  3. You have such a fun ride ahead of you! Lovely review and the series only gets better. :)

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  4. Nice review! I'm caught up on the books, but love reading everyone's reactions to the books. I've been a fan for many moons now, so fresh perspectives are nice.

    They're starting to be released in Spanish now, so I've been buying for my Mama. She's really enjoying them. I'm re-reading my favorites as she's reading which is always cool.

    Eve and Roarke are one of my top couples... love them.

    I hope you enjoy the rest :)

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  5. Hilcia, I really like the way you review the book - very informative and the fact that you liked it fills my heart with joy because I am also a new reader of In Death series the very first I've read from J.D. Robb and suddenly my heart stops beating and I am now holding the 5th book. I so love Roarke and Eve I don't know how I'm going to go on living without reading it everyday and before I close my eyes to dream of the futuristic world. I know it sounds so lame but I can't help it. If not with this Challenge that Christine started, I would have probably reading Roberts but not Robb. I surprised myself knowing I can joggle my time reading novels now a days and it makes me happy. Good luck and hopefully you'll continue reading the series.

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  6. I agree with everyone who commented :D I'm glad you're enjoying the books and you sure are in for a treat :D Eve and Roarke and eventually their entourage is what makes this series :D

    Excellent review by the way ;)

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  7. Thanks, KristieJ. I hope to enjoy it as much as you have. :)

    Tabz, I'm going to read this series in order (at least I really want to understand it all). I can't wait to meet the rest of the "cast" (whoever they are, lol).

    Leslie, I'm hoping to enjoy the ride. ;P

    Mariana, how wonderful that they have the series in Spanish! The way I'm going it'll take me a while to catch up, but I hope to savor the journey.

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  8. Natalie, I'm so glad I have company starting this series. I think it's wonderful when we find such joy when reading any book, so I'm so glad that you've found it with these. I hope I can find it too. :D I'll definitely continue reading the series, I already have the next 4...

    Nath, as you can see by my review, the characters definitely did it for me. I can't wait to read more about them. An entourange? Well, I look forward to that. :)

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  9. Just quick question thrown out in the air: when you get hooked with a book like this do you ever feel like energized and not getting sleep? The feeling where you just want to finish it and be done with it so you'll finally move on to the next book and the entire cycle repeats itself? How do you manage time? SIGH...

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  10. Oh Natalie, I've found myself there plenty of times! I tend to get obsessed with certain books/series and when I do, I can't stop reading! So, I definitely understand. Well... I don't know if I'm the best person to ask. I become a reading machine when I get like that. I go from one book to the next...

    This is what I usually do. I actually have to break the cycle by reading ANOTHER book in between (something outside of the series) to break the "spell" and slow me down. Then I go back & find I can enjoy the books more by reading them at a slower pace. Hope that helps! :)

    But hey! Nothing wrong with being obsessed I say, lol!

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  11. Great review! I've loved all the books I've read so far. I just finished Conspiracy, and am just waiting on the library for the next 3 :)

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  12. I'm glad you enjoyed the first books Hils!

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  13. Lori, thanks. I can't believe you'v read so many already! I can't wait to get to the 4 I have on my TBR and get on with the series. :)

    Orannia, I'm such a fan of Roberts, I knew I would like Robb. I was just afraid of all those books, lol!

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