October's TBR challenge theme is Paranormal or Romantic Suspense. I chose to read the first in JD Robb's best-selling futuristic sci-fi romantic suspense series "In Death". It was very daunting to even consider starting a 40 book deep series, but I bought the 1st "In Death" back in January when it was on sale. It has been sitting in my TBR taunting me since then. I mostly listened to "Naked in Death", reading chapters when I couldn't wait till my next convenient listening time.
I loved the book. It was more graphically violent than I expected but I was completely engrossed in the story and the romance even though I figured out who the killer less than a third of the way through the story.
Eve Dallas is a tough cop in New York hundreds of years into the future. While the culture and tech have in some ways radically changed the way people crime, motives and policing have only changed superficially. While Dallas carries a laser, and uses crime-analyzing computer, she is still buried in piles of reports, bureaucratic red-tape in chronically under-staffed department with a chief of police more interested in returning political favors than solving crimes. While sex work might be legal & space-travel commonplace, money, political power and sex continue to deeply intertwined. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
A demoralized, emotionally raw Eve is called to the scene of a murder just hours after surviving a traumatic encounter with a child murderer. She finds a once vibrantly beautiful politically connected sex-worker murdered, possibly by a new serial killer. Eve drives herself nearly to her breaking point trying to find the killer and stop him before he kills again, against the strong headwinds of political pressure.
Roarke is a self-made billionaire with a mysterious past whose acquaintance with the first victim and large collection of antique guns make him a suspect. Rourke quickly becomes fascinated with Eve. Her determination to solve the crime and refuse to be intimidated or swayed by his money and power catch his attention. Despite his alpha-pushiness and boundary crossing (more like trampling), his humor and emotional vulnerability make him incredibly attractive. He is baffled at his own response and desire for Eve, but proves again and again that he will put her needs above his every chance he gets. Unlike ruthless billionaire heroes Roarke almost always makes himself emotionally vulnerable in ways he doesn't demand from Eve. While he is used to getting his way, and getting whatever he wants, he doesn't see Eve as someone to acquire as much as he wants her. His interventions on her behalf never diminish her. Their love affair has all the markings of a fascinating and genuine partnership.
Their first love-making scene was epic. I am sure someone has written scads on the marital-violent language of their first encounter, because craft-wise it was a master class on writing truly un-skippable sex scene, that has ramifications to the whole story. While Eve's instincts tell her that Roarke is not a suspect, the scene is filled with tension, because he is not truly cleared yet and getting involved with him, even if he means her no harm is truly dangerous to Eve's career, which is the only thing that matters to Eve.
The series is not for the faint of heart but it is fantastic blend of romance and police procedural, and I will be coming back for more.
The audiobook was capably narrated by Susan Ericksen.
PS. I am embarrassingly behind on my ARC reading and reviewing. =(