‘Naked In Death’ – In Death #1 by J. D. Robb -abandoned at 25%

It is 2058, New York City. Technology now completely rules the world, but for New York Detective Eve Dallas, one irresistible impulse still rules the heart: passion…

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all – and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire – and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about – except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.0

So, here I am, writing a review for the first book in the phenomenally successful forty-book ‘In Death’ series written by a much-loved author, and I’ve abandoned the book a quarter of the way through. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

The last time I felt this way, a client had taken me and my team to their favourite Argentinian steakhouse. It was the kind of place where the seats were covered in cowhide and the servers told you how long the cow carcass has been ‘ageing’ on a hook and explained that every steak was freshly cut from the carcass just before it hit the pan. It was meat-eater heaven and everyone was enjoying their food except me. I’m a vegetarian so not only was there not much for me to eat but I spent the first half-hour wondering how my fellow diners lived with the overpowering smell of fresh blood and bubbling fat that I could feel tainting my clothes.

‘Naked In Death’ started out as a fun read in a hard-boiled way. It had a no-nonsense, fast-paced start that quickly established the character of the main detective, Eve Dallas. The world-building of New York City in 2058 (as imagined in 1995) was deftly done. Only the flying cars felt dated.

But, even from the start, something about the novel felt off to me. There was an undertone of sleaze that was as welcome as the feel of a sticky hotel room carpet under my naked feet.

As I got further into the novel, I could see that it was going to have a clever plot, a high body count and a well-thought-through setting. I could also see that I really wasn’t going to have a good time with this book because I didn’t like what it set out to be. It seemed to me to be a power exchange romance novel dressed as an SF mystery. Not my sort of thing.

Rourke, the billionaire who can’t afford a first name, didn’t do anything for me. His faux Irish (I’ll keep the sexy accent and the twinkly eyes and lose the immigrant heritage) charm just made me wonder what he was really up to. As he was a billionaire, I assumed it would be something sociopathic or narcissistic.

Still, it wasn’t Rourke who put me off the novel, it was Eve Dallas. Almost everything about her annoyed me. She was constantly and pointlessly aggressive. Her analytical ability seemed weak. Her interrogation technique was all muscle and no brain. She lept to conclusions that ran far ahead of the data. She tried to solve a crime that the killer has told her is the first of six by looking at who had a motive for the first killing. Yeah, that’s going to work. And then she gets distracted by tall, dark and kinda-Irish because he serves great coffee on his private jet which has her closing her eyes and licking her lips with pleasure. Sheesh. We hadn’t even gotten to the passionate I just can’t control myself with you sex scenes that I could see were inevitable and I already wanted to wash my hands.

Dallas’ attraction to Rourke was a predictable cliché. That Rourke found Dallas intriguing seemed less plausible to me than the flying cars.

I abandoned the book at twenty-five per cent not because it was poorly written but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of the book with my lip curled into a sneer as I kept count of all the things Dallas said, did and was, that annoyed me.

So, I decided to stop being the vegetarian in a steakhouse and move on to something that I have an appetite for.

‘Naked In Death’ was read as the letter N in my TBR ABC Challenge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s