The In Death Series by J.D. Robb

Posted December 14, 2007 by Holly in Discussions | 9 Comments

The In Death Series by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Reunion in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #14
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2002
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 371
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, comes a compelling new novel in the futuristic series…A birthday bash sets the scene for a frightening reunion with a killer from Eve Dallas's past…
At exactly 7:30 p.m., Walter Pettibone arrived home to over a hundred friends and family shouting, “surprise!” It was his birthday. Although he had known about the planned event for weeks, the real surprise was yet to come. At 8:45 p.m., a woman with emerald eyes and red hair handed him a glass of champagne. One sip of birthday bubbly, and he was dead.
The woman's name is Julie Dockport. No one at the party knew who she was. But Detective Eve Dallas remembers her all too well. Eve was personally responsible for her incarceration nearly ten years ago. And now, let out on good behavior, she still has nothing but bad intentions. It appears she wants to meet Dallas again—in a reunion neither will forget…

Several years ago, a dear friend told me about this series. She raved about it, saying Eve and Roarke were the best couple evah, and that the series itself continued to rock. I was skeptical. For several reasons.

I’m not big on series books that only focus on 1 couple, nor am I big on futuristic/sci-fi novels. Not that I have anything against them, per se, they’re just not my cup-a.

But my friend nagged, and she made the series sound..compelling. So I picked up the first book, Naked in Death. It’s set in the year 2058, and revolves around Lt. Eve Dallas, of the New York Police and Security Department. I’d like to tell you I was hooked from the first, but I can’t. I wasn’t. I was..confused. JDR didn’t give us hints, or explanations about the world she created, or the people and things in it. She just jumped right in.

That annoyed me at first. How the heck was I supposed to know what Air Sneaks were, or Glides, or tele-links? I nearly set it down, several times. But something kept me reading. Perhaps it was Eve, our troubled heroine. Or perhaps it was Roarke, the compelling billionaire who was a suspect in a murder investigation but seemed unruffled by it..and completely taken with the investigating officer, Eve Dallas.

As the story progressed I was more and more intrigued with Eve, Roarke and the futuristic world they lived in. What annoyed me in the beginning, the way JDR just jumped right into the world, as if I’d lived there, became wonderful to me. I loved it. I wanted to live there. I wanted to do holo-conferences and VR sessions and drive cars that could go vertical. I wanted to see skinsuits and airskates and minicopters. I wanted to live in Roarke’s house with all the rooms and turrets and more than anything, I wanted an AutoChef.

I’ve loved seeing Eve grow and change, and accept love in her life. Her bafflement at all the people who seem to constantly show up in her life is hilarious, and so is her struggle to accept her feelings for Roarke.

From Immortal in Death, the third book in the series:

Getting married was murder. Eve wasn’t sure how it had happened in the first place. She was a cop, for God’s sake. Throughout her ten years on the force, she’d firmly believed cops should stay single, unencumbered, and focused utterly on the job. It was insane to believe one person could split time, energy, and emotion between law, with all its rights and wrongs, and family, with all its demands and personalities.

Both careers—and from what she’d observed, marriage was a job—had impossible demands and hellish hours. It might have been 2058, an enlightened time of technological advancement, but marriage was still marriage. To Eve it translated to terror.

Yet here she was on a fine day in high summer—one of her rare and precious days off—preparing to go shopping. She couldn’t stop the shudder.

Not just shopping, she reminded herself as her stomach clutched, shopping for a wedding dress.

Obviously she’d lost her mind.

It was Roarke’s doing, of course. He’d caught her at a weak moment. Both of them bleeding and bruised and lucky to be alive. When a man is clever enough and knows his quarry well enough to choose such a time and place to propose marriage, well, a woman was a goner.

At least a woman like Eve Dallas.

‘‘You look like you’re about to take on a gang of chemithugs bare-handed.’’

Eve tugged on a shoe, flicked her gaze up and over. He was entirely too attractive, she thought. Criminally so. The strong face, poet’s mouth, killer blue eyes. The wizard’s mane of thick black hair. If you managed to get past the face to the body, it was equally impressive. Then you added that faint wisp of Ireland in the voice, and, well, you had one hell of a package.

‘‘What I’m about to take on is worse than any chemihead.’’ Hearing the whine in her own voice, Eve scowled. She never whined. But the truth was, she’d have preferred fighting hand to hand with a souped-up addict than discussing hemlines.

Hemlines, for sweet Christ’s sake.

She bit back an oath, watching him narrowly as he crossed the spacious bedroom. He had a way of making her feel foolish at odd times. Like now as he sat beside her on the high, wide bed they shared.

He caught her chin in his hand. ‘‘I’m hopelessly in love with you.’’

There he was. This man with the sinfully blue eyes, the strong, gorgeous, somehow Raphaelite looks of a doomed angel, loved her.

‘‘Roarke.’’ She struggled to hold back a sigh. She could and had faced an armed laser in the hands of a mad mutant mercenary with less fear than she faced such unswerving emotion. ‘‘I’m going through with it. I said I would.’’

His brow quirked, dark and wry. He wondered how she remained so unaware of her own appeal as she sat there, fretting, her poorly cut fawn-colored hair standing up in tufts and spikes, aroused by her restless hands, thin lines of annoyance and doubt running between her big, whiskey-colored eyes.

‘‘Darling Eve.’’ He kissed her, lightly, once on the frowning lips, then again in the gentle dip in her chin. ‘‘I never doubted it.’’ Though he had, constantly…

…The scowl snuck back on her before she could stop it. ‘‘Shopping,’’ she muttered. ‘‘Wedding dress.’’

Now he smiled, quickly, easily. From her, such plans were a declaration of love. ‘‘No wonder you’re so cranky. I told you I’d see to it.’’

‘‘I’ll pick out my own wedding dress. And I’ll buy it myself. I’m not marrying you for your damn money.’’

Smooth and elegant as the jacket he slipped on, he continued to smile. ‘‘Why are you marrying me, Lieutenant?’’ Her scowl deepened, but he was, above all, a patient man. ‘‘Want a multiple choice?’’

‘‘Because you never take no for an answer.’’ She stood, shoving her hands into the front pockets of her jeans.

‘‘You only get a half point for that. Try again.’’

‘‘Because I’ve lost my mind.’’

‘‘That won’t win you the trip for two to Tropic World on Star 50.’’

A reluctant smile tugged at her lips. ‘‘Maybe I love you.’’

‘‘Maybe you do.’’ Content with that, he crossed back to her and laid his hands on her strong shoulders. ‘‘How bad can it be? You can pop a few shopping programs into the computer, look at dozens of suitable dresses, order in what appeals to you.’’

‘‘That was my idea.’’ She rolled her eyes. ‘‘Mavis ditched it.’’

‘‘Mavis.’’ He paled a bit. ‘‘Eve, tell me you’re not going shopping with Mavis.’’

His reaction brightened her mood a little. ‘‘She has this friend. He’s a designer.’’

‘‘Dear Christ.’’

‘‘She says he’s mag. Just needs a break to make a name for himself. He has a little workshop in Soho.’’

‘‘Let’s elope. Now. You look fine.’’

Her grin flashed. ‘‘Scared?’’

‘‘Terrified.’’

‘‘Good. Now we’re even.’’ Delighted to be on level footing, she leaned in and kissed him. ‘‘Now you can worry about what I’ll be wearing on the big day for the next few weeks. Gotta go.’’ She patted his cheek. ‘‘I’m meeting her in twenty minutes.’’

‘‘Eve.’’ Roarke grabbed for her hand. ‘‘You wouldn’t do something ridiculous?’’

She tugged her way free. ‘‘I’m getting married, aren’t I? What could be more ridiculous?’’

Isn’t that hilarious? I love the banter between them. It’s obvious to everyone but Eve that she’s completely head over heels in love with Roarke. The way she constantly battles herself over him is fabulous.

Eve isn’t the only one who fumbles, though. During one of her cases, Eve starts thinking about love and marriage. She decides to do something for Roarke, plan a special dinner, even though she hardly ever does and has no idea what to do to set it up. Eventually she figures it out…

From Witness in Death:

“Excuse me.” He saw her lovely shoulders jerk, her only sign of surprise. “I’m looking for my wife.”

Her stomach jittered a little, but she turned, smiled. He had a face made for candlelight, she thought. For slow and simmering fires. Looking at it never failed to start one in her blood. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Glancing around the room, he walked toward her. “What’s all this?”

“Dinner.”

“Dinner,” he repeated, and his eyes narrowed. “What have you done? You’re not hurt?”

“No. I’m fine.” Still smiling, she popped the cork, relieved when champagne didn’t come spraying out.

He frowned as she poured champagne into crystal flutes. “All right, what do you want?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I know a setup when I see one. What do you want?”

Her smile wavered. It took a great deal of effort to keep it from turning into a snarl. Sticking to the steps she’d carefully outlined, she handed him his wine, gently tapped her glass to his. “What, I can’t put together a nice dinner without ulterior motives?”

He thought about it. “No.”

She set the bottle on the table with an ominous crack. “Look, it’s dinner, okay? You don’t want to eat, fine.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t want to eat.” She was wearing perfume, he noted. And lip dye. She’d fussed with her eyes. He reached out to toy with the tear-shaped diamond pendant he’d given her. “What are you up to, Eve?”

That tore it. “Nothing. Forget it. I don’t know what came over me. Obviously, I lost my mind for a minute. No, for two sweaty, stupid hours. That’s what it took to put this fiasco together. I’m going to work.”

He caught her arm before she could march past him and wasn’t the least surprised to see the quick flare of violence in her eyes. But he was surprised to see hurt.

“I don’t think so.”

“You want to keep that hand, pal, you’ll move it.”

“Ah, there she is. For a moment, I thought you’d been replaced by a droid. It gave me a bad start.”

“I bet you think that’s funny.”

“I think I’ve hurt your feelings, and I’m sorry.” He brushed his lips over her forehead even as he flipped desperately through his mental calendar. “Have I forgotten an occasion?”

“No. No.” She stepped back. “No,” she said again, and felt ridiculous. “I just wanted to do something for you. To give you something. And you can just stop looking at me like I’ve fried a few circuits. You think you’re the only one who can put this kind of deal together? Well, you’re right. You are. I nearly stunned myself with my own weapon a half a dozen times tonight just to put myself out of my misery. Oh fuck it.”

She picked up her glass again, stalked to the wide, curved window.

Roarke winced and began the delicate task of extracting his feet from his mouth. “It’s lovely, Eve. And so are you.”

“Oh, don’t start with me.”

“Eve — ”

“Just because I don’t do this kind of thing, because I don’t take the time — hell because I don’t think of it, doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I do.” She spun around, and he wouldn’t have described the look on her face as particularly loving. She’d gone back to fury. “You’re the one who’s always doing the things, saying the words. Giving…” She fumbled a moment. “Just giving. I wanted to give something back.”

She was beautiful. Hurt and angry, passionate and pissed, she was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. “You steal my breath,” he murmured.

“I’ve got this whole love of a lifetime thing in my head. Murder, betrayal, rage.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Never mind.” She paused, took a deep breath. “The last couple of days people have said things that keep sticking in my brain. Would you jump in front of a maxibus for me?”

“Absolutely. They don’t go very fast.”

She laughed, relieving him considerably. “That’s what I said. Oh hell, I messed this up. I knew I would.”

“No, I took care of that.” He moved to her, took her hand. “Do you love me enough to give me another chance at this?”

“Maybe.”

“Darling Eve.” He lifted her hand to his lips. “What you’ve done here means a great deal to me. You, you mean everything to me.”

“See how you do that. Slick as spit.”

It’s not just Eve’s relationship with Roarke that causes her problems, however. As time progresses and she finds more and more people in her life – Peabody, her faithful aid, McNab, an e-detective, Captain Feeney, Eve’s training office, Dr. Mira, the criminal profiler – Eve comes to care for each of them, much to her horror.

From Reunion in Death:

At Cop Central, Eve hopped on a glide to Homicide. And took a deep breath. Nothing against the cliffside drama of western Mexico or the balmy breezes of tropical islands, but she’d missed the air here: the smell of sweat, bad coffee, harsh cleansers, and above all, the fierce energies that formed from the clash of cop and criminal.

Her time away had only honed her senses for it—the low roar of too many voices talking at once, the steady yet discordant beeps and buzzings of ’links and communicators, the rush of people all having something important to do somewhere.

She heard someone screaming obscenities so fast they tumbled together into one vicious stew of words that was music to her ears.

Motherfuckingassholecopbastards.

Welcome home, she thought happily.

The job had been her home, her life, her single defining purpose before Roarke. Now even with him, or maybe because she had him, it remained an essential part of who and what she was.

Once she’d been a victim—helpless, used, and broken. Now, she was a warrior.

She swung into the detectives’ bull pen, ready to fight whatever battle lay ahead.

Detective Baxter glanced up from his work, let out a low whistle. “Whoa, Dallas. Hubba-hubba.”

“What?” Baffled, she looked over her shoulder, then realized Baxter’s leering grin was for her. “You’re a sick man, Baxter. It’s reassuring to note some things don’t change.”

“You’re the one who’s all slicked up.” He pushed himself up, skirted around desks. “Nice,” he added, rubbing her lapel between his thumb and finger. “You’re a frigging fashion plate, Dallas. Put the rest of us to shame.”

“It’s a jacket,” she muttered, mortified. “Cut it out.”

“Got yourself tanned, too. Would that be a full-body job?”

She bared her teeth in a fierce smile. “Do I have to kick your ass?”

Enjoying himself, he wagged a finger. “And what’s that on your ears?” As she reached up, confused, he blinked as if in surprise. “Why, I believe those are called earrings. And they’re real pretty, too.”

She’d forgotten she had them on. “Did crime suddenly stop dead while I was gone so that you have time to stand around here critiquing my wardrobe?”

“I’m just dazzled, Lieutenant. Absolutely dazzled by this fashion presentation. New boots?”

“Bite me.” She swung away on the sound of his laughter.

“And she is back!” Baxter announced to the sound of applause.

Morons, she thought as she marched toward her office. The New York Police and Security Department was peopled by a bunch of morons.

Jesus, she’d missed them.

She walked into her office, then just stood, one step over the threshold, goggling.

Her desk was clear. More, it was clean. In fact, the whole place was clean. Like someone had come along and sucked out all the dust and grime and then shined up what was left behind. Suspicious, she ran a thumb down the wall. Yes, that was definitely fresh paint.

Eyes narrowed, she continued into the room. It was a small space with one stingy window, a banged-up—and now scrubbed—desk, and a couple of chairs with bad springs. The file cabinet, also sparkling, had been cleared off. A green plant that appeared to be thriving stood on top of it.

With a little yelp of distress, she leaped to the file cabinet, yanked open a drawer.

“I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! Bastard hit me again.”

“Lieutenant?”

Snarling, Eve glanced back. Her aide stood in the doorway, as shipshape as the room in her starched summer blues.

“Goddamn sneaking candy thief found my cache.”

Peabody pursed her lips. “You had candy in the file cabinet.” She angled her head. “Under M?”

“M for Mine, damn it.” Annoyed, Eve slammed the drawer shut. “I forgot to take it out before I left. What the hell happened in here, Peabody? I had to read the name on the door to be sure this was my office.”

“Since you were gone it seemed like a good time to have it cleaned and painted. It’d gotten pretty dingy in here.”

“I was used to it. Where’s all my stuff?” she demanded. “I had some backlog, and some fives, and the ME’s and a sweeper’s reports on the Dunwood case should’ve come in while I was away.”

“I took care of it. I did the fives and caught up with the backlog, and filed the reports.” She offered a smile that danced laughter into her dark eyes. “I had some time on my hands.”

“You did all the paperwork?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And arranged to have my office overhauled?”

“I think there were multicelled organisms breeding in various corners. They’re dead now.”

Slowly Eve slipped her hands into her pockets, rocked back on her heels. “This wouldn’t be your way of telling me that when I’m around I don’t give you time to take care of daily business.”

“Absolutely not. Welcome back, Dallas. And I have to say that, wow, you look really terrific. Snappy outfit.”

Eve dropped into the chair at her desk. “What the hell do I usually look like?”

“Is that a rhetorical question?”

Eve studied Peabody’s face—the square, sturdy looks topped with a dark bowl of hair. “I’m trying to think if I missed your smart mouth. No,” she decided. “Not a bit.”

“Aw, sure you did. Great tan. I guess you spent a lot of time soaking up the sun and stuff.”

“I guess I did. Where’d you get yours?”

“My what?”

“The tan, Peabody. You go in for a flash?”

“No, I got it in Bimini.”

“Bimini, like the island? What the hell were you doing in Bimini?”

“Well, you know, vacationing—same as you. Roarke suggested that, since you were heading out, maybe I should take a week off, too, and—”

Eve shot up a hand. “Roarke suggested?”

“Yeah, he thought McNab and I could use a little downtime, so—”

Eve felt the muscle just under one eye start to twitch. It had a habit of doing that whenever she thought too hard about Peabody and the fashion dish from the Electronic Detective Division as an item.

In defense, she pressed two fingers against it. “You and McNab. In Bimini. Together.”

“Well, you know, since we’re trying this whole we’re-a-couple thing on for size, it seemed like a good idea. And when Roarke said we could use one of his transpos and this place he has on Bimini, we jumped.”

“His transpo. His place on Bimini.” The muscle leaped against her fingers.

Eyes shining, Peabody forgot herself enough to lower a hip to the corner of the desk. “Man, Dallas, it was absolutely ult. It’s like this little palace or something. It’s got its own waterfall into the pool, and an all-terrain, and hydroskis. And the master suite has this gel-bed that’s about the size of Saturn.”

“I don’t want to hear about the bed.”

“And it’s really private, even though it’s right on the beach, so we just romped around naked as monkeys half the time.”

“And I don’t want to hear about naked romping.”

Peabody tucked her tongue in her cheek. “Sometimes we were only half-naked. Anyway,” she said before Eve screamed, “it was mag. And I wanted to get Roarke some kind of thank-you gift. But since he has everything, literally, I’m clueless. I thought maybe you could suggest something.”

“Is this a cop shop or a social club?”

“Come on, Dallas. We’re all caught up with work.” Peabody smiled hopefully. “I thought maybe I could give him one of the throws my mother makes. You know, she weaves, and she does really beautiful work. Would he like that?”

“Look, he won’t expect a gift. It’s not necessary.”

“It was the best vacation I ever had, in my life. I want him to know how much I appreciated it. It meant a lot to me, Dallas, that he’d think of it.”

“Yeah, he’s always thinking.” But she softened; she couldn’t help it. “He’d get a real kick out of having something your mother made.”

“Really? That’s great then. I’ll get in touch with her tonight.”

“Now that we’ve had our little reunion here, Peabody, isn’t there some work to be done?”

And the world itself is..believable. Everything that’s new seems possible. I find it totally believable that we’ll have cars that can fly, and mood screens and any other number of things, including off-planet travel. But there aren’t aliens everywhere, or houses in the clouds (like in the Jetsons). It’s just like the world today, only more techo. I want to go!

The cases are always interesting, too. Seeing Eve walk her way through the mystery of each murder is wonderful. I got my start reading with mysteries and horror novels, and these are wonderful in that aspect.

I think each book offers something new to us readers, and fans of romance, suspense and mystery should all enjoy them.

I could keep going on and on about them, but instead I’ll let you make up your own minds. Check them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

You can check out the full list of books here.

four-stars

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9 responses to “The In Death Series by J.D. Robb

  1. What a wonderful commentary on these books!
    I too was late to the in Death party. I tried one and didn’t get too far into it before deciding it wasn’t for me. A few years later I tried again. Same thing. But readers kept bringing these books and Eve and Roarke up again and again until I finally decided to give one a final try. I read Naked and was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY – and I’ve stayed that way ever since. Funny I should read your post today ’cause I’m reading Creation right now and was thinking on the way home from work what makes then so special and why after 23 or so I’m not the least bit tired of them. I couldn’t come up with a real answer except for one thing the writing is so wonderful. I was mentioning that the series North and South (see how cheekily I bring that up there) was so well done, it almost feels like you are there. It’s not actors playing roles, but rather real people. I think it’s the same with the In Death books. It’s like you are reading a true account of real people who live somewhat ahead in the future. And I also was thinking after all this time, reading an In Death book is like putting on your favourite cozy sweater, you just feel comforted in putting it on. With the in Death books, you feel like you are meeting with friends.
    Anyway – I’ve taken up way to much space now so I’ll say the short way what I already did the long way.

    You’re right, these are very, very good books.

  2. Gwen

    Holly – totally MAG of you to spend the space on a fantastic series. I love reading the In Death books. You have reminded me what I love about Roarke. That man is just luscious.

    I wonder when Hollywood is going to get a clue and do a movie of one? I wonder if I would watch it…

  3. Kristie,
    You’re right, it IS like putting on an old, favored sweatshirt. Love this series.

    Gwen,
    I’ve often wondered, too, if Hollywood would make a movie, or better yet, a t.v. series (weekly! YAY!! LOL). But then, I’m not sure they could do it justice.

  4. Holly, what a great post on this series. I don’t know how anyone who reads could read this and NOT read those book. You really captured the books very well with your excerpts.

  5. Great job on your post Holly. I am gradually working my way through the series – still got a way to go myself, but I look forward to each and every one of the books!

  6. Fabulous review. You picked out some great moments from the books, like Eve’s and Roarke’s dynamic relationship, the humor, the love, the unique personality of Eve. I love how she’s not into shopping yet will suffer through wearing a fancy dress for Roarke. Now if only I had time, I’d go back and start reading them all over again.

  7. LOL, I second everyone 😀 You did a great post about this series 😀 I really hope ppl who haven’t given it a try would… and seriously, do we want a tv series? I mean, nobody can personify Roarke in my opinion.. nor Eve.

  8. OMG, I so love this series. Love, love, LOVE it. Eve and Roarke make my heart sing, and when he tells her how he’s helplessly in love with her, it brings tears to my eyes because he’s so very perfect for someone who has never had that and who has always deserved it.

    Lovely. You did a lovely job.

  9. Rosie,
    Isn’t the world building fantastic? I really hope people will try these books, if they haven’t already.

    Marg,
    I fully expected to get tired of this series, as I have so many others..but not yet. I still love each and every one of the new ones as much as I did the first.

    Stacy,
    I just finished a full re-read of the series. If you can make time, do. I was just as impressed this time around.

    Nath,
    Good point. I can’t imagine an actor doing Roarke justice.

    Anne,
    I think my favorite parts are when Eve cries and Roarke thinks to himself “is there anything more terrifying to a man when a strong woman cries?” *sigh* I heart Roarke.