‘In Death’ captures futuristic crime in a suspense-filled series

“You know, lieutenant, you wear your weapon the way other women wear pearls.” “It’s not a fashion accessory.” -Roarke to Lieut. Eve Dallas

I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my overzealousness in purchasing new books stems from my impatience of waiting for holds placed in a library – especially when you find a new series that’s captured your attention. (Let’s disregard the whole e-reader thing, I’ve heard that spiel far too many times). My friend recently reminded me of J. D. Robb’s In Death series – one I’ve heard about over the years but haven’t gotten around to reading.

J. D. Robb, a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, takes a futuristic look at crime in New York City in the year 2058. The suspense thriller has elements of a sci-fi thriller that touch upon laser guns, flying vehicles, and off-world stations. The gun, for instance, is considered an antique and collectible, an outdated weapon that is the focus of the murder investigation in the first book.

Her first novel Naked in Death introduces readers to Lieut. Eve Dallas, a tough, by-the-books 10-year veteran of the New York Police Department and Security Department. Essentially, she kicks ass. When she is first introduced as a character, she is described as a women of intellect and wit. Her self-cropped hair, whip-thin body sustained by caffeine, and physical attributes come later.

There’s nothing better than presenting a strong female character with a no-nonsense  persona and one committed to her beliefs. Troubled past aside, in which readers will discover more as the series progresses and helps with her development, Dallas has definitely entered my list of favourite female characters.

The characters Roberts (as Robb) has created for the In Death series are both well-developed and come from all walks of life: Summerset is his own brand of awesome. As Roarke’s current butler and former partner/mentor in crime, Summerset’s relationship with Dallas is hostile with a tinge of grudging respect on both ends. Dallas’ BFF Mavis Freestone is wild, crazy and free-spirited – she’s the comic relief, Dallas’ rock, and first real friend. Another main star is billionaire hunk Roarke and is considered one of the primary suspects in the string of murders due to his connections and shady past. Roarke and Dallas’ tumultuous relationship goes from passionate to tender, hot and cold instantaneously but grows into something deeper as the series continues.

For all that I dislike thrillers (my over imaginative brain tends to keep me up at night with thoughts of monsters and the boogie man) and am not the fondest girl-guy-meet-fall-in-love story lines (though I’m admittedly a sucker for Jane Austen), the In Death series is able to create unique murder mysteries involving high-tech gadgets – it’s regular crime revamped.  I find the series is equally intriguing not just for its varied crimes, but for Roberts ability to capture human nature not only at its finest, but its worst. It reveals, and foreshadows reality, that no matter how sophisticated technology becomes, humans will remain human. The plight of human desire and emotion, love and lust have not, nor will not changed throughout the years, no matter how many androids and robots enter the fray.

With over 40 novels and short stories in the series, it’s said Roberts will conclude with Dallas’ eventual pregnancy somewhere down the line. I’m excited to see what mysteries and adventures Dallas, Roarke and the rest of the crew will come across in this series. As such, I’ve already read the next two books and am eager to start the fourth, Rapture in Deathonce the library contacts me.

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