Berkley, 1995 (Brillance Audio, 2008)
Crime Fiction (Romance); 10 hrs, 17 minutes
In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line--between seductive passion and scandalous murder. Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all--and knows 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 a suspect in Eve's murder 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.
The first time I read Naked in Death, I didn't care for it. In fact, I had some pretty unflattering things to say about it. The future world setting was written too vague for my liking and it was heavier in romance than I preferred at the time. In recent years, as I have begun reading more romance and not minding it as much when it does have a heavy hand in my crime fiction novels, I thought maybe I should give J.D. Robb another try, especially after receiving a copy as a Christmas gift from a fellow book blogger. Everyone who reads the series just about loves it. Maybe my biases got in the way. This time, I decided to listen to the audio version, and, I must say . . . I fared much better.
Susan Eriksen's narration of Naked in Death pulled me in pretty quickly. I found her voice relaxing, and it was easy to be drawn into the world of Eve Dallas and not want to leave. Susan does an excellent job taking on the various voices of the characters, including the slight Irish lilt of Roarke's accent.
I vaguely remember the details from my first reading of the book. Who did what and why came back to me as soon as the character was introduced. Still, this second time around, I did not have the same impression as I did before--that it was heavy in romance, although that element was certainly there. It was not nearly as heavy as had been my original impression. I also wasn't as bothered with the vagueness of the time period, although I wouldn't have minded more world building. Perhaps that comes in later books.
The mystery itself is intriguing, with a strong sense of suspense as Eve tries to figure out who is behind the murders before the next one takes place. Politics, sex and power loom large as possible motives. Eve is a complex woman, dedicated to her work, maybe too much so. She's built her entire identity around her job as a detective, trusting very few. It is no wonder given her backstory, which is both horrific and sad. Another major player in the novel is Roarke, a wealthy man who has a mysterious air about him. He appreciates the finer things in life and is very private. He is a man who is used to getting what he wants, and right now, he wants Eve.
I have a lot of respect for Nora Roberts, at least from what I have heard of and from her over the years. As a result, I really want to like her work--and am so relieved to be able to say I do now. This is definitely an example of how the enjoyment of a book can depend on when in a person's life that book is read. Perhaps listening to the book this time around made a difference too. It certainly didn't hurt.
To learn more about J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), and her work, please visit the author's website and Facebook.
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