The first of the In Death series by Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, Naked in Death introduces us to two fascinating characters—homicide detective Eve Dallas and billionaire Roarke. There's always something seductive and Cinderella-like about a regular girl dating a billionaire but Eve is more than a regular girl. She's a woman with a difficult past that we learn more about as the story goes on. At the very beginning though, we see that Eve is tortured because she was unable to save a little girl who was killed by her father. Eve did manage to kill the father and the department has now made it mandatory for her to undergo testing with a counselor.
All the action takes place in the year 2058 when things are subtly different from the way they are now e.g., prostitution has become legal whereas guns can only be bought with a license. While Eve is waiting to be tested, a new, high-profile case comes up, involving the death of a Senator's granddaughter who has been working as a prostitute. Investigation shows that the girl was connected with none other than Roarke who has a collection of antique firearms. This is what throws the two protagonists into each other's company to begin with: Roarke is a suspect and Eve is confused about her feelings for him. She wants to be totally objective but her gut is telling her that despite the evidence, Roarke is not the killer.
However, Eve does get into trouble when news of her relationship gets out and she's forced to make sure that she doesn't make any special allowances for Roarke, especially when another two victims turn up dead. As the story progresses, we see that the Senator is a nasty character who is trying pass a "Morality Bill" while have incestuous relationships. Despite her tortured personal life, Eve uncovers several different rackets in the course of the story, some purely financial, involving corruption and others where the crime is more personal in nature. And when it seems like the entire story has been resolved, J.D. Robb comes up with a twist at the very end to tell us who the real killer is.
Overall, this is a really engaging book and it's easy to see how the characters of Eve and Roarke could be developed further to fill a series. Eve is honest and independent while Roarke is unafraid to express his love for her and stand by her when she needs it. The chemistry between the two is palpable but doesn't detract from the plot of the story which is complex but elegant at the same time.
Download Naked in Death for a titillating, suspenseful read that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
J. D. Robb or Nora Roberts was born Eleanor Marie Roberts in 1950. She didn't start writing until she was married and had two children. At first, she wrote category romances but once she became established in this genre, it was easier for her to move away and the result was books like Naked in Death which have an element of romance but also include other interesting tropes like mystery and futurism. Nora Roberts divorced her first husband after being with him for fifteen years and remarried a couple of years later. She is very prolific and passed the hundred novel mark in 1996. Since 1999, all her novels have been bestsellers. Roberts is an extremely dedicated writer who writes for eight hours a day every day.
"To read an "in Death"... is to love the characters. Its best to start from the begining and grow with them. You actually start to think of them as friends. Roberts is by far the best writer of this century. Keep them coming.
Carla (5 out of 5 stars)