Great crime fighting duos are timeless. Batman & Robin, Starsky & Hutch, Holmes & Watson, and the list goes on. But they’re not very romantic. Not to me anyway. So, who are the couples who detect by day and well, a-hem, you know what by night . . .
My all time favorite caped crusading couple is David and Maddy from the TV series Moonlighting. Here you have Maddy, former model turned private eye, and David, a schlep of a man down on his luck and needing a job. Their disdain for one another eventually turns into something more. Major ha-cha-cha.
More recently we have Castle and Beckett from the TV series Castle. Castle is a James Patterson-esque novelist and Beckett a hard nosed detective. The opposites attract formula works really well here. One is rich, one middle class, and both are pretty hot.
As far as books go, we have this couple who appears on list after list as one of the greatest romantic couples of all time. Eve Dallas and Roarke (no last name apparently) from J.D. Robb’s Romantic Suspense series In Death. I’d never read the books before, so I decided to check it out. I had to; some romance blog had Roarke beating Jamie Fraser from Outlander as Romance’s all-time greatest hero.
There are many fans of this series and I am afraid for my life typing this. They will not be very happy with what I am about to say.
In Death, much like my hope for this couple, was DOA—dead on arrival. The clichés were sooo cliché. How cliché? I rolled my eyes more reading this than my tweener does when I check the cleanliness of her room.
When Roarke meets Eve, you know what his inner thoughts are as he sizes her up: “She had a mouth made for sex.” My mouth instantly filled with vomit. Gross. Just absolutely gross.
This couple basically acted like hormonal teens, like a couple on a soap opera from the 1980s. Eyes meet, they think nasty thoughts, and they fight the attraction with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink. You knew where this was going from the start, no surprises what-so-ever.
Roarke made comments to Eve like, “I will have you, when I have you . . .” Really? You ain’t got me, I’ll tell you that, buddy. Zero depth to these people. They are opposites in many ways, had rough lives, whoopty-doo. Same goes for the other duos I name above. And the series takes place in futuristic 2060, which is definitely not my thing. Oh, and I figured out who dunnit in the first fifty pages. That really ticked me off.
I am a James Patterson junkie. Patterson, Cornwell, and Brown. Thrillers, serial killers, international mystery—I devour them. So Robb, aka Nora Roberts, really needed to bring her A game in the mystery department and failed miserably.
I guess I should have said this right away: I am not a cookie-cutter romance-reading type of gal. Human emotion, raw emotion, gets me every time. The characters I choose to share my time with have to be layered, deep, and challenging to me as a person. When I read a book, I do not want the author to believe I am stupid. So stupid that I must be read/written down to. I lost some brain cells reading this.
Some fellow aspiring writers asked me to give the series a chance, at least until the third book. Third? Why should I waste my money three times? But for the sake of research for this post I gave in and bought the second novel, Glory In Death. I will not be buying the third. The crime/murder bored me to tears. Right away you have Eve investigating, Roarke linked to it, blah blah blah. A repeat of book one.
As I skimmed through I found a love scene. It actually gave me hope for the couple. They had a nice chat about life. Yes, I like that. The conversation turned to a pretty hot make-out session. Not bad at all. The tide started to turn. Then Roarke did it again. The line read like this: “He let himself empty into her, heart, soul, and seed.”
I literally threw the book across the room. Seed? Really? In the middle of making love/lust you have images of the word seed and of it emptying into someone? Grossed out yet again. Cliché after cliché, these books left me shaking my head. No way in this world does Roarke come close to Jamie Fraser from Outlander. No way at all.
People in romance reading and writing circles praise the chemistry of this couple. Chemistry? If you're going by the fact that they saw each other from across a room and wanted to do each other in ten seconds flat, then okay, they have good chemistry. But it’s superficial, fake, and contrived. You take Jamie and Claire from Outlander and their attraction was so subtle at first and it was built up in layers and turned into this love . . . a story so gut-wrenching that it will stay with me forever.
Maybe it got better after the next few books—there are like 30 in the series—but if J.D. Robb wants me to read them, I want a refund on the first two.
If Hollywood made this into a movie, the only way I’d go see it would be if Ashley Judd played Eve and Gerard Butler played Roarke. At least I’d have some decent eye candy get me through the crappy plot.
Jamie and Claire are still the couple to beat, IMO.
Chemistry: HA-CHA out of a full HA-CHA-CHA. They get it on pretty, as long as they don’t talk or think.
Tension: 1 of out 3 MUSCLE KNOTS; a neck roll would shake it
Conclusion: 0 out of 3 SIGHS; more like 3 out of 3 Yawns. I saw it coming.