Each month Jessica from The Spinecracker lets another blogger dare her to read something outside her comfort zone. For June I challenged her to read Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King (review). My exact words were: “Jess, I dare you to take on the epic journey started in THE IRON KING, because a little YA fantasy will be good for you.”
Well, being the brave lady that I am, I agreed to take on a title at her suggestion. And she likes to push me, that Jessica. Her dare: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb. And it was squarely outside something I would ever pick up for myself.
Rating (out of 5): 3 stars
Naked in Death is a fun, if predictable, read with characters with the potential to keep you coming back.
While it’s set in the future, it isn’t sci-fi. It’s not so far in the future to make much of the world different, but make key societal changes. While still set in the U.S., there have been a few laws changed that are key to understanding the In Death world.
First, guns have been outlawed for years. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is young enough to have never seen a gunshot wound or to have ever held a gun. She’s a top detective for the New York Police and Security Department and she’s never held a gun. Instead, she’s armed with a laser, which can be set to stun or a more lethal range. When we meet Eve she’s just had to “terminate” a man who had just murdered his daughter. It’s haunting her, not saving the child, but before she can go in for the requisite psychological testing, a big case hits her desk.
She’s called in on a top security case, just her and one other detective are allowed to know the details. A senator’s granddaughter has been murdered, and it’s gruesome. But here’s where the gun law ban comes in. Eve can’t place the wounds, and it’s her partner for the case who is able to identify them as gun shots. Only the very wealthy and powerful are able to acquire and maintain antique gun collections.
The second big change in this future world is that prostitution is legal. Each “companion” is licensed and it is all quite regulated. This is notable as the murder victim, and wealthy heiress, was one of these licensed companions. She was estranged from her family, which makes sense as the senator has spent time vehemently opposing the legality of prostition along with other Morality codes. Still, he brings the pressure early on Eve to find out who murdered his granddaughter.
But she’s not the only victim. Other licensed companions are treated to the same brutal end, and Eve’s list of suspects are all powerful men. She sets her sights on Roarke. He has the money, the mystery, the connections and one hell of a gun collection. But something keeps telling her he’s not the guy. And the whole devilishly handsome and charming part doesn’t hurt.
He can’t explain it either, but he can’t resist Eve. In his courting of her, he reminds me a bit of Bones from the Night Huntress series. Once he’s set his sights on her, it’s done. She’s it and he’ll do what it takes to convince her. He’s fun and the dialogue between he and Eve was a highlight of the novel.
The mystery itself was predictable. I knew early on who was the murderer, and it fell in to conventional steps. That said, Naked in Death was certainly a fun read and I can see the appeal. The Eve and Roarke chemistry would be more likely to draw me back in than the police procedural side of the novel.
Sexual content: Sex scenes