Review: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #1)


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.

Naked in Death by JD RobbNaked in Death (In Death #1)
J.D. Robb
Published: 1995 (Berkley)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

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

13 Responses to “Review: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #1)”

  1. Ally says:

    Great review! Do you think you’ll be reading any more of the series? I liked the first book a lot more than you and have become hooked on the series, however I’m a bit overwhelmed that there is 30 books in the series.

  2. Yadie says:

    I started reading these back in HS when there were only 8 books out… I stopped for a few years and now that there are over 30 I’m not sure if I should go back from the beginning and start there. But there are so many other series that I want to read that like Ally said, it’s a bit overwhelming.

    I was totally hooked on the Eve and Roarke relationship, that’s the only reason why I’d love to get back into reading them.

  3. Michelle says:

    It took me 3 tries to read NAKED IN DEATH. I did not like it to begin with. That was a few years ago. It took reading another book in the series to get me hooked. Like all series, some books are better than others. Overall the series is great. I am a major fan of this series. I am always at the bookstore bright and early on release day…lol. I even have my mother-in-law hooked on them. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

    • Not sure yet if I’ll keep going. I definitely like Eve and Roarke, but if the others are as predictable I’ll probably lose steam.

      • Teawench says:

        My friend has all the books and loaned them to me. They are way predictable and that’s why I stopped reading them. I knew what was going to happen to who and why before the book was half over. Not even the relationship between Eve & Roake was thrilling. It was always the same thing over & over again.

        A ‘3’ rating is probably pretty accurate for the first couple of books. After that, I downgraded to a ‘2’ just because there was nothing new to the books.

  4. Harlem Huntress says:

    they get progressively more fun some are easier to figure than others but she flips it back and forth there was a recent paranormal one that was great I reco that one Possession ID. They are great on audio that is how I read them and that may be a lil different but I love them. The Eve and Roarke romance is outstanding Nd well worth the read. The side characters are a hoot also it has been fun watching them grow and change as well as E & R

  5. Amy says:

    I’ve just recently started the series myself. I was a little hesitant because of the fact that there are over 30 books in the series. I’ve just finished reading the 3rd book (Immortal in Death) and have the next two requested from thel library.

    I was surprised how much I liked the first book. I didn’t figure out the murderer until it was revealed in the story. I did figure out the murderer in the 2nd book (Glory in Death) before the reveal, however.

    I think the main thing that I like / appreciate at this point is, like most people, the relationship between Roarke and Eve. I was wondering how JD Robb would be able to keep the relationship interesting through 30+ books, but so far she’s doing a great job. I like seeing the growth of the characters from book to book. Right now it’s keeping me coming back for more.

  6. Kristin says:

    I think 3 is a spot on rating:)

  7. Thanks for the review.

    Years ago I read Nora Roberts, but I’ve never read anything she’s written as J.D. Robb. I don’t normally read crime/mystery type without a large paranormal element and I dislike most time travel, but you made me curious about Naked in Death when you mentioned Bones. ~ Love Bones! ~ It sounds interesting. I’ll pick it up today and give it a try.

  8. KieraPSI says:

    The procedural backdrop is only that, a backdrop. The real point of this series is Eve’s growth as a person from a wounded warrior, so to speak, to a well rounded person and wonderful friend. The relationships she develops are intricate and touching. The lessons she learns are subtle and good for everyone. And let’s not forget the hot sex between Eve and Roarke! That alone makes the series worth reading! I generally only read mystery books that have a paranormal hook, but I made an exception for the In Death series because I’ve loved Nora Robert’s writing for a very long time. She hasn’t disappointed me yet. Keep reading…the best is yet to come!

  9. I’ve read this series for years, and it’s still one of my favorites. I agree that the mysteries themselves follow a pretty predictable pattern, but this series isn’t driven by the mystery, in my opinion. It’s very character driven, and the characters, both main and supporting, are excellent. They also continue to grow and develop with each book. That’s what’s kept my interest for… Wow. Well over a decade. *laughs* The characters make the books worth the read, even if the mysteries leave you feeling you should have a detective’s badge of your own, because of how quickly you figure out whodunit.

  10. MCornista says:

    I love the In Death series and I actually have a collection of it. I really love Eve and Roarke and how their relationship developed and both of them did. But lately it seems like the growing part has leveled off, at least for me.. 🙁 I haven’t picked up the last 3 books yet. Still deciding.. But for those you haven’t tried the series.. Eve and Roarke are great!

  11. bentley1530 says:

    As others have said, this series is more about relationships and character growth with some hot, hot hot sex scenes. Some of the mysteries are better than others and over time we learn more about how the world has changed but what keeps me coming back is the need to check in on Eve, Roarke and their growning circle of friends and family.

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