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In Death series by J. D. Robb

Robb-Thankless Some might say this series are really mysteries and they are partly right. But as the author is an alter ego of Nora Roberts, romance is definitely involved. Sure, the main protagonist is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a detective in New York City whose steely intelligence takes the lead in solving crimes. And her husband, Roarke, is a charming Irishman who owns more businesses and properties than most people can count and sometimes helps on cases as a civilian consultant. But despite the often suspenseful crime solving, their relationship is at the core of the books and the one constant through the series.
The NYC portrayed by Robb is set in the mid-twenty first century (beginning in 2058), after the Urban Wars and is much more technologically advanced with vehicles that fly as well as drive, links instead of phones, robot servants and canned forensic tools. Other planets have been made habitable. I picture it much like the world in “Bladerunner”. This atmosphere is accented more in the early books or possibly, I’ve gotten more used to it. The secondary characters are well drawn and that includes the police team Dallas works with. Her partner, New Ager Delia Peabody is one of my favorites, as is the Department’s psychologist, the comforting Dr. Charlotte Mira.
Dallas was brutally and sexually abused as a child and this makes her fearless in trying to understand the dark side of humanity. She comes off as guarded and ruthless, but those who know her best realize that there is a loyal and concerned friend beneath it all and that knowledge often leads to humorous encounters in the books.
Roarke has a criminal past, as a seasoned thief who was running a gambling ring by the time he was 16. He has parlayed this into a phenomenal business career, which operates in the mostly legitimate realm of property ownership and development, tech services and product inventions. He is a savvy and perceptive person with great people skills. He and Dallas live in a huge mansion with Summerset, their curmudgeonly majordomo, who rescued Roarke as a homeless child in Ireland. Galahad, the chubby grey cat rounds out the household residents.
Robb-ConcealedIt’s easy to love someone when they are young and carefree, but to love a person with baggage takes more fortitude. For someone with Dallas’s past to trust someone and have a fulfilling physical relationship says a lot about the connection between she and Roarke. Both of them are described as fit and good looking, so that’s a nod to the usual romantic guidelines, but each of them have scars on the inside which makes vulnerability a challenge. I like the fact that they are middle-aged, with rocky pasts and still make their relationship work. It’s not always perfect or filled with snappy quips, but their marriage deepens with each novel and that makes it more realistic and satisfying for the reader.
The series is 36 books so far, along with some novellas in several mystery collections. Each novel has the words “In Death” in the title, such as Vengeance in Death or Holiday in Death, the first word usually having a connection to the plot. The action sometimes gets a bit too gritty for me and I’ve had to skip sections, but overall they are riveting mysteries with excellent character development and interaction and some truly steamy romance. Their popularity is very well deserved.

Series began in 1995 with Naked in Death. Published by The Penguin Group in ebooks and traditional formats

4 comments on “In Death series by J. D. Robb

  1. Sue Williams
    July 22, 2013

    First thing I am definitely not a Nora Roberts fan. But you have peaked my interest in this series. Mostly because of the reference to Bladerunner. I like that this takes place in mid century as I love futuristic things, especially books and movies too. And there is an entire series so that makes me very happy. I just hope they are not as sappy as Nora Roberts romances. I am not a fan of sap!

  2. Jackie
    July 22, 2013

    LOL Remember maple syrup is sap!
    No they aren’t sappy at all, quite the opposite. I have to skip the forensic parts, obviously and the stuff about Dallas’s childhood is way too gritty for me, but the series is very suspenseful & I like the interactions between the characters.
    There IS a lot of futuristic stuff, especially in the earlier ones; lots of holograms and cars that can go vertical as well as horizontally through the streets. Very handy that is.

  3. kae
    July 22, 2013

    36 so far??!!! My goodness! What a long series! Plus all the other books she’s written (apparently 209). She’s one prolific author.

  4. Hilary
    July 26, 2013

    Thank you for this, Jackie – I’d never heard of this writer. What a long series! With more to come, no doubt. For me, the setting in a future world is a bit of a turn-off, but that’s purely personal taste, but it sounds as though the author navigates this successfully.

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