Ok, let's start with this: I had preconceptions. For a very long time, I thought this followed the story of a cop. I mean, typical Contemporary Mystery that has some romance thrown in. A couple of weeks ago, my sister decided to start the series and told me that, even though it wasn't specifically Sci-Fi, it was set in 2058 and that had a big impact on the story. My own finding was that this is actually a Romantic Suspense, meaning the romance is very important. This is my excuse for not starting J.D. Robb's series earlier.
So, even if I'm a little late (shame on me for not starting this series when the first book was published, three years before I was born), I want to say it was amazing . I had some minor issues, hence the 0.5* missing, but overall it was so much more than I expected it to be.
Since I was unfortunately misguided, here are XXXX reasons why you should read Naked in Death:
1. Lieutenant Eve Dallas: Fuck. Yeah. Just YES, GODDAMMIT. If you asked me how to make the perfect female lead, I'd describe her. Tough, witty, smart, loyal, messed-up, independent, dedicated, doesn't give a shit about what people think. Even her faults, mainly pride, were awesome because they made her real. I laughed at her, hurt with her, rooted for her. I believed this woman.
2. ROOOOOOOOOOOARke: Once you get over Katy's song playing in your head whenever his name appears, he's pretty awesome. At some point during our first meeting with him, I fell in love. Seriously. I was hooked so early on that it made me fear I might be turning into a senseless fangirl. Now, there are many reasons that explain my rational obsession. First of all, he started as nothing and now he owns almost 30% of the world. It may not be everything or remotely enough on its own, but power and money call to me. And a man who is smart and ambitious enough to take it with no head start whatsoever certainly does. Secondly, of course, he's good looking. Weirdly enough, this usually isn't a big factor when I crush on someone. I mean, hot people are nice to look at, for some time. Then it gets old. But this dude was on fire. (It might have helped that I imagined him as an Irish David Gandy in my head.) Also, he might be arrogant and confident, but he's not an asshole. He's so sweet with Eve it had me awwwing. Plus, the mystery. His name is Roarke, and that's it. We get a little bit about his past, but just enough to leave us wanting for more. And, finally, the writing just made him intriguing and incredibly desirable. I need that. The essence, you know? I don't really know how to explain, but I can show you.
In the firelight, the dancing glow of candle and crystal, he looked dangerous. Not because a woman would fear him, she thought, but because she would desire him.
It was a terrible room, she thought. Terrible and fascinating. She stared at him across it, realizing that the elegant violence suited him perfectly.
3. The romance: Was it fast? Hell fucking yeah. But the thing is, my most likely bigger (I wanted to say little but most of you are at least 5 years older) friends, this is a fast-paced book. It doesn't mean it isn't complex, not at all. Robb just doesn't waste time in bullshit nobody cares about. She understands, unlike most authors, that less is more. Back to Roarke and Eve, it didn't take long for me to root for them. 26% in, or so my updates say, I was already stopping the book to run circles. This is a weird habit, but when I'm reading and there's a couple/character I love, I'll stop reading and start walking really fast, thinking new scenarios in my head. Good books talk to the writer in me, what can I say?
4. The murders: This is going to sound completely creepy, but I loved them. While the murderer itself was easy to figure out, the crime scenes were what stood up for me. They were... beautifully described and thought. It was so brilliantly fucked-up. And since I'm not-so-brilliantly fucked-up, of course I liked them.
5. Mavis and Eve: They were so damn funny. I love the fact that they started as cop and thief and became best friends even though they're so different.
"So, are you still seeing the dentist?"
"Nope." Idly, Mavis wandered to the entertainment unit and programmed in music. "It was getting too intense. I didn't mind him falling in love with my teeth, but he decided to go for the whole package. He wanted to get married."
"You can't trust anybody," Mavis agreed.
6. Summerset: The butler. But this isn't the kind of lovely butlers I love. This is one stuck-up motherfucker who simply thinks Roarke could do better than Eve. I hate him, but with 37 books I really hope he gets to appreciate Eve at some point. Someday she's gonna save him or stand up for him and the little shit is gonna eat his words. *patiently waits*
7. Writing: What makes all of the above lovable.
To summarize, this is a Romantic Suspense set in 2058, amazingly-written. If you're into those things, GO READ IT. And I'll go read 36 books, plus novellas. *sigh*