Saturday, February 23, 2013

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death (In Death, #1)Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book for personal reasons. I'd read, and enjoyed, a few Nora Roberts novels, so a friend recommended that I try some of the books Roberts wrote as J. D. Robb. Cancer took that friend a few years back. Now I'm finally getting around to following her suggestion and it felt nice to do so, as if Nancy was communicating with me again.

Roberts didn't exactly move to a different genre with Naked in Death. She kept one foot in romance. For example: the sex scenes come in two different categories: descriptions of degrading videos and pictures of the prostitutes who were the victims as well as long, romantic descriptions of the heroine's relationship with one of the suspects, including one when he rips her shirt off. So in that area there was some of what a reader would expect from both genres.

I listened to the audio version of the book in my car. Towards the end I was so caught up in it, I drove passed my destination and circled around until I reached a point where I could turn off the player. The novel was written in 1995 and is set in the year 2058. (This is the second book in a row I've read that was written years ago and placed in the future.) Guns are antique weapons, so the murders Eve Dallas is investigating are unusual to that period. Robert's picture of the future is interesting with some things, such as real coffee, scarce, while other things, such as technology, abundant.

I had a couple of issues. The first is the title. There's an implication with Naked in Death that nakedness was an unusual circumstance for the victims. These victims were also naked in life, since they were “licensed companions.”

The second issue is the one covered in this selection:

Eve accepted – was forced to accept – that her privacy was no longer an issue. “I spent the night with Roarke. It was a personal decision, on my personal time. In my professional opinion, as primary investigator, he has been eliminated as a suspect. It doesn't negate the fact that my behavior was inadvisable.”

“Inadvisable,” Whitney exploded. “Try asinine. Try career suicide, Goddamn it, Dallas, can't you hold your glands in check? I don't expect this from you.”

She didn't expect it from herself.

Eve was supposed to be a professional, excellent police investigator, yet she jumped to conclusions about a suspect because he was attractive and rich. She rationalized her decision, but her rationalization was weak. This could have been a character flaw she needed to overcome, yet her actions worked to her advantage rather than against her, so I saw it as a flaw in the plot. But a minor one.

Naked in Death is a page turner and good choice for fans of detective stories and romances.

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