Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Once again, I find myself in the minority about a piece of popular fiction. At least now I have more keywords in my "I'm not going to read that" stable. It's always good to know that, if someone compares a book to someone popular I dislike, I won't like that book, either.

I picked this one up because it was slated to be darker than Nora Roberts' usual books. I don't like fluffy romance, and the tropes used in her usual books didn't appeal to me. I thought some intrigue might make up for the tropes and keep me interested enough to read despite that.

I was wrong.

In this book, Eve Dallas (not her real name) is covering the high-profile murder case of a prostitute who happens to be the granddaughter of a well-known politician. The year is 2058, though it's a vision of the future set from 1995, so some of the predictions are dated.

I can overlook the technology being likely obsolete, and the apparent nonexistence of an internet. What I can't overlook, though, is the backwards attitudes. I expect the bad guy to have a regressive view about women, but the main love interest, Roarke, made my skin crawl. He has no respect for Eve's boundaries, and he literally has sex with her when she's in the middle of panicking about being held down. He never apologizes for it when he realizes what a violation it is for her, and she doesn't expect him to. Instead, we're treated to a laughing rendition to her one female friend about the encounter as, well, she must've enjoyed herself, because they had a lot of sex.

The initial encounter that got her in her bed was consensual. Every other encounter on that night is told with her protesting, trying to get away, actually attacking him to get him off her. She never consents to more than that one encounter.


I would feel a lot better about the above if she ever reflects on that, but she doesn't. Instead, she keeps going back to him.

The murder mystery plot was thin, and the romance dominated the focus of the novel. Add in some head-hopping that made the scenes hard to follow (perspectives were shifted jarringly, with no warning), underdeveloped side characters, and a number of pointless scenes, and I found myself hurrying through this just to be able to return it to the library.

The series may well improve in future volumes. I won't know. I have no love for a bodice ripper thinly veiled as a futuristic dystopian mystery. Let those who like that sort of thing have it; I want nothing to do with it, and wish to warn you away if this isn't your thing.

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