Naked In Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Publish Date: 1995
Series: In Death #1
Rating: D +
I was pretty content to skip around in this series, since each book works well as a stand-alone. However, after reading Glory in Death, I was really flummoxed by Eve’s relationship with Roarke. I didn’t understand why she was so invested in a barely six month old relationship with a man who was manipulative and overbearing. It didn’t seem to fit with her character. So, I decided to go back and read Naked in Death in the hopes it would get me on board with the relationship, which had so far only baffled and often annoyed me.
In Naked in Death, Eve Dallas is tracking down a serial killer who is preying on prostitutes. All roads seem to point to the wealthy Roarke as the lead suspect, but Eve is skeptical.
This is one of those occasions where I’m really glad I did not start with the first book in a series. If I had, I doubt I would have continued on to the next book because this story frustrated me on so many levels. Eve is a fantastic character who loves her job and is shown to be completely competent at it…except when it comes to Roarke. When it comes to Roarke her actions make absolutely no sense. In this story, everything points to him as her lead suspect but she chooses to ignore it all because she’s attracted to him and just doesn’t want to believe he would do it. I could understand this if she had known him prior to this investigation. However, she doesn’t meet him personally until the funeral of the first victim. So, her determination to ignore the best lead she has, made no sense and only made me frustrated with Eve for not pursuing Roarke fully as a suspect.
This leads me to my main problem with the story, which was Roarke. I wanted Naked in Death to make me like him, since he’s one of the main characters in the series. Unfortunately, all this book did was make me hate him with a burning passion. This is going to be an extremely unpopular opinion but Roarke is horrible. He’s right up there with Edward Cullen from Twilight on my hate scale. He’s over-privileged, controlling and manipulative. He constantly undermines Eve’s decisions under the guise of “wanting what’s best for her”. He breaks into her apartment and invades her personal space just because he can. He throws a giant hissy-fit when Eve is finally forced to bring him in for questioning because he’s pissed that she doesn’t trust him (even though they’ve known each other for less than a month and have only interacted a handful of times). But we’re supposed to be ok with all of his actions because he’s sexy, rich, had a bad childhood and will do anything for Eve.
I get that we’re supposed to swoon over Roarke and his devotion to Eve. It’s flattering to imagine a powerful figure who can take away all your troubles being so enamored with you. However, this doesn’t justify Roarke’s actions or make him a particularly interesting character in his own right. All in all, Roarke just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Outside of my issues with Roarke, the mystery here was a little lack luster. The main plot involving the serial killer who is targeting prostitutes wasn’t very engaging and dragged at some points. What carried this book was Eve and the futuristic setting. Despite my issues with Naked in Death, I plan to continue reading these books to see what happens to Eve and to enjoy the gritty futuristic world Robb has built.
If you’re looking to give the In Death series a shot, I would recommend starting with one of the later books.
My Other Reviews for the Series