Book Review: Naked In Death, By: J.D. Robb
I gave this book three out of five stars. While I did not connect with this book, it still stands alone as a detective novel with interesting science fiction elements.
I had really high expectations given the length of the In Death series. I think my expectations are a big factor in my disappointment. I kept waiting to find the hook that has grabbed so many devoted fans. I never found it and that made me sad.
What I liked:
1) It’s set in the future. I loved all the futuristic and science fiction components. It made the settings fun and interesting.
2) The character of Lieutenant Dallas’s best friend. The scenes with Dallas and her best friend were some of the only times Dallas transformed into a character and not the detective caricature we see through most of the book.
3) The accurate depictions of police methods. It’s set in the future, so who knows if its real or not, but I like that Robb incorporated the mundane as well as the interesting aspects of police work.
What I didn’t like:
1) The romance. I didn’t feel the romance between Eve and Roarke at all. The set up was fun, but how they came together was a boring given, and the rest was just bad decisions and unrealistic. None of it meshes well with the strong character Robb has tried to present as Eve. The Roarke/Eve scenes are awkward and lumped together with strained dialog and forced action.
2) The protagonist. I really wanted to like Lieutenant Eve Dallas. I wanted to see a smart, respectable detective, who makes good decisions, and has an even grasp on life. You know the kind of character I mean, like most male protagonists in detective novels. I was disappointed again because I can’t relate to Dallas. She is a closed off, unstable, non-relatable, job-aholic. When she is doing her job she is a female detective caricature. A beautiful, brilliant, and oh-so-smart she is able to connect the dots before anyone else. She’s the best so she gets the hard cases, and she knows this about herself. However she “can’t remember” or better said-won’t deal with the first eight years of her life. She has to take drugs to sleep through the night, and she has nothing else in her life outside of her job. But she’s “strong” because she can ignore these things and press on for the greater good.
3) The crime plot. You can deduce the killer within the first interviews Dallas conducts (first 100 pages). Going forward it became really obvious because these are some of the only interviews we read, making the ending easy to deduce. Knowing the ending made the book boring, as I had to get through another 200 pages to find the ending. Are those 200 pages interesting? Not so much.
If I had found the romance more compelling, maybe the book would have been more interesting, and maybe I would have finished it faster. I had no enthusiasm whenever I picked this book up. It became a chore, something I had to finish, and not a book I found pleasure reading.