The best thing about JD Robb’s In Death series is that she neatly combines two of my favourite genres: romantic suspense and science fiction. Robb, better known as international romance phenomenon Nora Roberts, introduced her classic protagonist Eve Dallas to readers way back in 1995. The fiftieth novel in the series will release next year … and if that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is!
Naked in Death is the first in this highly entertaining futuristic crime series. The year is 2058, and Eve Dallas is a lieutenant in the New York Police and Security Department. She catches a new case, the murder of Sharon deBlass, a prominent senator’s granddaughter, and as she’s plunged into the shadowy worlds of wealth and politics it swiftly becomes apparent that if she’s not careful the next murder to be investigated will be her own.
And if that’s not enough to keep her occupied, her prime suspect is a man who turns heads everywhere he goes. Roarke is fabulously wealthy, fabulously handsome … and seriously attracted to Eve. To her everlasting frustration, she’s just as attracted to him. It’s a match made in heaven … or maybe in hell.
These are some of my favourite books ever. When Naked in Death was released it was without much fanfare. The fact that it was actually Nora Roberts behind the books was kept secret for a long time. It came out around the time I opened my bookshop, and it took a good while for me to get around to reading it. But when I did I was instantly hooked, and I’m proud to say I did my part in hooking many, many customers after me!
One of the most delightful things about the series, aside from the great crimes and the deftly handled romance elements, is the future twist Robb gives to the world-building. It’s never heavy-handed, just neat little hints and throwaway references with very little info-dumpy exposition. Basically you jump on board and go along for the ride into a future that’s wonderfully different yet still recognisable and, most importantly, believable.
Mind you, as much as I loved Naked, the series really took off for me in the third book, Immortal in Death. That’s when Eve teams up properly with Delia Peabody, a beat cop introduced in the previous book Glory in Death. Dallas and Peabody are a brilliant duo, one of the great female cop pairings in literature. In a world full to the brim with cop bromances, this match-up is as kick-arse as anyone could want, and refreshingly different thanks to the characters’ gender.
There are many great supporting characters in this series, cops and criminals and mysterious butlers and petty thieves turned unexpected friends. While each book deals with a standalone crime, there is plenty of fun to be had with the ongoing characters journeys and arcs. The Eve/Roarke romance is an important thread but it’s never overpowering or saccharine sweet. There’s an edge to that relationship, an edge to Eve and Roarke – who both have complicated histories – and the crimes aren’t sugar-coated either.
What can I say? I’m a huge fan. So if you’re looking for something a little bit sci-fi, a little bit romantic and a lot suspenseful, try the In Death books. Maybe you’ll fall for them as hard as I did!