Naked In Death by JD Robb
I am close to speechless. I had two authors I wanted to check out in 2011 because I'd heard such fantastic things about them....JD Robb and Nalini Singh. Well, I decided to start with Naked In Death, fully expecting to love it so much that I would become obsessed with the whole series and enter a Robb-reading frenzy.
I expected good quality writing, a suspenseful story, and amazing characters, especially Roarke, a hero who countless readers gush on and on about.
What I wasn't expecting was a bunch of the most incredibly disturbing topics in one book that I have ever seen in my life. Violent, bloody rape and murder, child abuse, child rape/mutilation, incest. Vile, foul, dark and disturbing images. I got a stomach ache reading this book, and it still isn't gone. Not only did Robb toss all these delightful topics into one book, but the reader gets to re-live the incestuous abuse not once, but twice, through two different characters' recollections of events. And top that off with Eve's nightmare case with the three year old being tortured and abused by her father...I don't think a prilosec is gonna fix this upset stomach.
Disturbing material aside, the book didn't impress me. The writing wasn't stellar. The futuristic setting was just blah. After recently reading some books with impressive futuristic world-building details (Ella Drake's Jaq's Harp and Julia Barrett's Captured), I was expecting something pretty cool from JD Robb. Honestly, it felt like a contemporary suspense story with a few interesting details thrown in for good measure. Nothing that great.
The characters? Eve is a bad-ass heroine--an alpha, tough cop who has risen to success in her department despite her horrible past--and Roarke is....well....a pansy-ass. He's a rich, pampered billionaire. I'm sure there is more to him and his history that will be revealed in later books, but in this book, I didn't see any of the hot Irish guy I was expecting. While Eve is taking down villains, investigating corrupt politicians, being stalked by a deranged murderer, and obsessing with the bloody and gruesome details of a serial killer, Roarke is.....
....putting out bottles of vintage wine to "breathe."
Like, in every freakin' scene.
Oh yeah, he also likes to wear impeccable clothing and fly around on his super sonic jet and go "off-planet" for some wheeling and dealing.
Can you say metrosexual pansy-ass?
In the final scene of the book, Eve is threatened with rape and murder by the killer, back-handed, punched in the ribs, head smacked against the floor, choked, and shot while she scratches, hits, kicks and punches her attacker, breaks his nose, bloodies his mouth and pins him to the ground. After she has already incapacitated him, Roarke comes running into the room, picks the near-lifeless guy up off the ground and slugs him in the face. Hee hee...well, gee, thanks for that! I think Eve had it pretty much under control..... Somebody's got big balls in this story, and it ain't Roarke.
I keep hearing about this sexy, Irish character. Huh? Not seeing it in this book, at all. I loved Nora Robert's Jewels of the Sun. Aidan was a super hunky, romantic Irish hero. I swooned every time that guy said something. Roarke might as well be from Zimbabwe.
And the attraction between Eve and Roarke? Totally not buying it. She's a scruffy cop, he's an elegant and sophisticated man. The instant sexual attraction between them is inexplicable, really, and the love that develops makes no sense. They hardly even know each other! Roarke is obsessed with Eve...why? Never quite sure, and at the point in the story where he admits he's in love with her I almost snorted out loud. Why would Roarke fall in love with her? I have no freaking idea, nor do I care to find out, since I will never read another one of these books.
The one positive thing I will say for Naked in Death is that the storyline was quite suspenseful, especially at the beginning before the icky factor got turned up. (Rape is a difficult topic for me, but child rape/incest is beyond horrifying.)
I have never given anything less than a "C" rating on my blog. But I just can't give this book a good grade. Thanks to an overabundance of foul and disturbing material, a pansy-ass hero, lack-luster futuristic details, and an unbelievable romance, I am dinging this book. Ugh!
Another thing: Maybe the series gets better. Maybe Roarke grows a pair and loses his metrosexual vibe. But a series is only as good as its first book....that's the one that's gotta hook you. I'm not hooked....this one is a catch-and-release for me.
And now I need a mega-dose of some alpha-male hero action, and something light and fluffy to offset this read. Unicorns, rainbows, and maybe a Julie Garwood Scottish dude. Yep, that sounds good.
Not Feeling The Love,