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REVIEW: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb

Dear Ms. Robb:

I left off the last book feeling vaguely unhappy with how little Eve seems to give in the relationship with Roarke. This book is my comeuppance. Every book in the In Death series has had a good mystery and police procedure is one of my favorite genres. Not every one, however, leaves me with a big impression or makes me want to re-read it when I close the book. This one, made me stay up until 2 am, wondering if I needed to join some Reader’s Anonymous club for people who are worthless at work because of reading books.

Eve Dallas has two problems. The first is that her murder victim is like Mr. Rogers, only way younger. He’s a school teacher at a private school. Everyone likes him. He had a great marriage. The only complaint was that he and his lovely wife had very noisy sex and alot of it. There is simply very little reason to kill young Mr. Rogers (also known as Craig Foster).

The second is that a real threat to Eve and Roarke’s marriage in the form of a drop dead gorgeous, very sophisticated Magdelana Percell with whom Roarke had a previous relationship. According to Roarke, “Maggie” is no threat to the relationship but just an old friend with whom Roarke feels it is perfectly appropriate to see for a trip down memory lane. This and the glimpse of attraction that Eve sees in Roarke’s eyes makes her feel quite anxious. What Roarke fails to see this time, when it seems he always understands Eve, is that she is insecure and she doesn’t think she can measure up to Magdelana.

At one point, Peabody urges Eve to tell Roarke that this reunion with the old flame is hurting her. Eve always seems so strong, so indomitable which made the view of her emotional, vulnerable side was so compelling. The scenes between Eve and Mira and then again, with Roarke, during the reconciliation, made my eyes feel a bit damp.

Eve doesn’t know how to handle Roarke’s old flame and every time she tries, Roarke takes it as a personal insult. Seeing Roarke act childish and self-righteous served to make him more human. It was actually a welcome relief to his near perfect response rate in so many other books. Roarke and Eve acted like two people who cared about each other but were having trouble communicating and understanding each other. Like, um, real people and real marriages.

I don’t want to say too much about the murderer for fear of giving it away. The clues were there for the reader to guess who the guilty party is. The resolution of the story is heart rending with at least one individual facing a near impossible dilemna. It was definitely the best In Death book I have read in a good long while. A-

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kristie(J)
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 05:25:07

    I’ve loved all the In Death books but some more than others. IID is one of the very best of ’em. And I so agree with you – Roarke became even more endearing with his cluelessness to this reader. And he’s been damn near perfect as it is. I love when she focuses more on the relationship between Eve and Roarke and this one satisfied that craving.

  2. Angie
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 07:51:03

    Yes, yes and again yes. I’m just grateful that Ms. Roberts is a prolific writer, so we don’t have to wait a year (or years) in between new installments of these books. Yesterday, I once again ordered a copy of Naked in Death and sent it to a friend for her birthday. I’m slowly converting the world, one copy gifted at a time ;)

  3. nath
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 08:00:28

    I agree with your review :) it’s also nice to see that Eve and Roarke’s relationship is evolving and not stuck. It’s also rare that we get a whole book focused on Eve and Roarke, so that was welcomed. Luv the support Mira lend to Eve :D Finally, the murder… well, we’re not living in a good world and it shows.

  4. Tara Marie
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 08:42:08

    Born in Death was the first …In Death book I’d read in a while (years) and loved it, this sounds even better. I’ll try to get it at the library today, or at least get on the wait list.

  5. Joy
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 09:08:29

    love love loved this book. In Death is one of the few series I jumped to hardback with. I could not sleep until I knew how both problems were resolved (I usually read the books over a few days – not one). The personal story of Eve and Roarke is really what makes this work for me.

  6. Jane
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 09:39:34

    Eve and Roarke’s relationship is also what makes this series stand out from so many other police procedure books for me.

  7. Keishon
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 11:38:48

    I’m reading it right now after years of hiatus.

  8. Jane
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 11:40:15

    and . . . don’t leave us hanging like that. LOL. I am going to have to read Monnette this weekend.

  9. Robin
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 12:28:07

    This is the first hardcover ID book that “felt” like the paperbacks for me; in other words, I liked it and could read it without feeling something was “off.” For once we didn’t have to see every single character do a walk-on, or tons of backstory be filled in for new readers, or questionable character reactions (a la Visions and Divided). In fact, this is sort of the book I wanted with Divided, in terms of how Eve and Roarke handled their personal conflict. I thought Roarke’s reaction to the whole Magdalena situation was very true to his character as it had been developed up and through Portrait, and that Eve’s reaction was true to her earlier development, as well. I’m one of those readers who worries that Eve is being softened up too quickly, so I was happy to see a mix or prickly and open here, as fits with her character, IMO (it was her pattern all the way back to Naked and the fluctuations she went through with Roarke). To me, this book contained the Eve and Roarke we met in Naked and saw in Vengeance and in Portrait — all books where trust issues come to the fore for them. And Eve finally threw something in Roarke’s face I had been waiting a long time for!

    Eve and Roarke are characters who possess a tremendous amount of ego, and I like it especially when Roarke’s darker side comes out. In many ways, this was a great companion piece to Portrait and to the “issues” Roarke has had with women throughout his life (his own abandonment issues, especially). And I loved what Eve did to Roarke very late in the book. Since I guessed the murderer very early on, that was the only real moment of surprise I got in the book, and it was a good one (even though in retrospect it makes perfect sense). The copyediting still drives me batty, but the book flowed well enough to push that into the background most of the time. When Roarke thinks at one point we’re back, I thought to myself, yes you are and I realized how much I had missed those characters from the first 18 books.

  10. LinM
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:01:59

    Keishon: What Jane said. Because I’m avoiding IID. The reviews don’t help because everyone else seems to welcome Eve and Rourke like old friends. I read the first 3 “In Death” books and stopped. However, I didn’t read any romance a decade ago so I wonder how I would react now.

    Jane: Melusine is finally out in digital format. Now I can get rid of my pcopy. Loved it but fantasy written by women is my first choice. Or read this for free. The Vampire Smokes a Reflective Cigarette”

  11. Jane
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:05:33

    I love fantasy written by women and Keishon is my worst enemy given that she is always exploring new authors and amping up my TBR list. I think that Keishon and friend Jan are the two readers primarily responsible for moving me outside the romance genre.

    Have you read the Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier? I don’t see her name popping up a lot and I thought the series, but more so the first book, was beautifully written and very romantic.

  12. Jorrie Spencer
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:32:14

    Jane, I loved Daughter of the Forest, just loved. But then I couldn’t get into the next book at all and I haven’t read a Marillier since.

    I’d be curious to know what you think of Melusine, if you’ve read it. I started it, but stumbled. I occasionally think I should give it a second chance.

    (And, for the topic at hand, read and liked the first In Death book, but haven’t read further. One day.)

  13. Jane
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:37:00

    I had bought Virtu but Keishon told me the other day that it would be better if I started with Melusine so I am trying that out this weekend. I’ve got one other book to read before then. Sheesh. So little time, so many books.

  14. LinM
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 15:31:29

    Like Jorrie, I loved “Daughter of the Forest”. I did finish the trilogy; I can remember waiting for the final book to come out. I haven’t been interested in any of her books since.

    Virtu is sitting in my TBR pile. The reviews of this are so mixed that I’m waiting so that my reactions to it will not colour my enjoyment of Melusine.

  15. Beannie
    Nov 30, 2008 @ 23:59:01

    Ok. I was also up till 2 am reading this book. It was the first one of this series I had read, being as I am only 13 I have never heard about them untill I started reading about them. Innocent In Death was a great one to start on for me. I’m Hooked! LOL..

    If you have not yet read this book, Do It! I bet you don’t guess the who done it in this one.. Unless you have read most of the series, I’m starting to see a pattern.

    I love that Nora Roberts, the author, often explains the second murder from the victims point of view. It gives you just the smallest edge in understanding and insight of ‘Who Done It?’


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