My Journey Into the World of Eve Dallas

This week I popped in the audio of Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (the alter ego of Nora Roberts) for my commute to work. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard plenty about the long running series from my wife who thought I’d be into it. I think one of the reason’s I was hesitant was the blurb. Check it out:

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over 10 years on the force, she’s seen it all–and knows that 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 suspect in Eve’s 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.

So this seems as mushy a romance as it gets and not really my kind of story. Now take a look at the cover.

Doesn’t this look grittier than a romance? I could easily picture this in the mystery section of any book store. So between the blurb and the cover it’s hard to pin down what you’re getting into.

Well, the answer is you’re getting both.

Everything about the romance in the blurb is in the book. It’s a major part of the story taking it well out of the realm of a romantic element.

The murder mystery has the familiarity of the many I’ve read. The unusual crime, list of suspects, a highly intelligent killer and (my favorite) the profiling of the killer.

I think Nora Roberts tapped into something really cool by creating this series. She doesn’t abandon her romance bread and butter, but she’s able to take it in a direction that doesn’t quite fit the Nora Roberts brand.

And we, the reader, are treated to super tough heroine, Eve Dallas who could solve any crime in the mystery section and be totally comfortable trading war stories with Sarah Connor.

As this is my first Nora anything, I can already see why she’s as popular as she is. In addition to the entertainment value, this book is a great lesson on writing with emotional depth along with a gripping plot. She hooked me seconds into the audio. And with so many books by her, I’m bound to find something cool besides J.D. Robb stuff.

Maybe there’s something in her catalog for YOU.

Are you a Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb vet? Any recs based on what I liked about this book? Think you might want to dip your toes in a Nora after reading this?

9 comments on “My Journey Into the World of Eve Dallas

  1. I actually discovered Nora Roberts when I was doing my first nanowrimo back in 2007 and fell in deep like with her writing style. Lots to learn from with her. I love, love, love the In Death series and all things Nora Roberts as well. Have read most of her stories at least twice. Continue on with the In Death series – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You will probably enjoy her Sign of Seven Trilogy. Delves into the paranormal. I’m listening to Northern Lights right now in the car. Have already read the book a couple times. About a cop taking over as sheriff in a small town in alaska and has a murder mystery. Plenty to keep you busy for a while. 🙂

  2. I’ve never been a big fan of Nora Roberts, but I did like the trilogy she did about the three sisters who were witches. I don’t read a lot of regular romance; I usually lean toward the paranormal kind. But this book actually sounds good. I might check it out.

    Btw, I really think that’s a terrible cover. Most of the indie books I’ve read have much better covers than this one. LOL

  3. Completely want to dip my toes in after reading this. I’ve never read any of her books, although I have some friends who are forever fans of hers. I’ve been wanting to try an audio book, so I may try something of hers. Thanks for the awesome review!

  4. I don’t know how many of that series I read before it ever even started to fade for me. But over twenty. I was putting down one book and having to run to the store to buy the next three at a time to make sure I didn’t run out again. It’s a great series to read for anyone who is developing a character over several books, and especially for anyone who wants to create that kind of story (detective, single protagonist series) in a way that romance readers will be into.

    Nora definitely changed and improved as a writer. One thing you’ll see as you go back in the catalog is things written in and for another time. Yeah, some things are timeless, but some things are popular just because they suit the audience for which they’re written. People who aren’t devoted fans should probably stick to her newer stuff and stay away from the 80s Silhouette period.

    Some things that stick with me:
    The Key Trilogy- for sisterhood girlfriend goodness
    The Chesapeake Bay Saga- for heartbreaking heroes
    Divine Evil- for freaking Evil
    The Irish Trilogy- for making you feel like you must go live in Ireland before you can ever possibly hope to write anything decent (don’t know why)

    Still, –In Death is like a masterwork to me. Stick with it for a while.

  5. I’m afraid that I’ve waited too long to start this series, but I’ve saved a PDF version of the entire list to my computer so that I can check them out. I’ll have to read them in order though…I’m anal like that. I’m usually not big on the romance, but I do love crime stories. From your review, it reminds me a bit of Mary Higgins Clark.

  6. I haven’t yet read anything by Nora Roberts in any of her guises. My mother really likes the J.D. Robb books, but she doesn’t really like the straight-romance, real “Nora Roberts” books. She knows perfectly well that they’re the same person, but she read 1 Nora Roberts romance and said “never again.” I found that pretty interesting and amusing, but can’t really say much beyond that as I haven’t read any of them yet. I know in general, however, that I much prefer mystery/crime novels over strictly romance novels. I don’t mind some romance but I prefer it mixed in with some other genre. So maybe I’ll be like my mother, and like the one but not the other. (And wow, I did not mean for the last sentence to rhyme.)

  7. Andrew,

    I adore the J.D. Robb books – they just keep getting better and better as they go on. She wrote “Naked in Death” a long time ago and the characters that have come in are fantastic. Everyone’s got a favorite, but I think mine is Peabody. You’ll meet her in Book 2 but she’s a more major character by book 3. She hit the big time with this series with Origin in Death but, for those of us who have followed from the beginning, there are others that are even better.

  8. Hey, everyone

    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions for further Nora reading. Based what you guys have said, Nora did a very smart thing creating this series. It’s something new for her existing fans and something to draw in new fans who might then check out her other books or just stick with Eve Dallas. It’s an awesome way for her to stretch her creative muscles while keeping her fans happy. See ya next time!

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