Apr 17 2014 1:00pm

10 Things I’ve Learned from J.D. Robb’s In Death Series

Concealed in Death by J.D. RobbWhen I first started reading J.D. Robb's In Death series, there were maybe just six books written in the series, and I had happened to pick up the second book. I loved it and went back the following week and bought all of the books available at that time. And have bought every one in the series since then. I love the world Robb has created, but what keeps me coming back is the characters. I adore the main and recurring characters in that series. I think of them as old friends. I actually miss them between books! The series does more than entertain; it can teach you, if you let it. Below are the top ten life lessons I’ve gleaned from the In Death series.

*Note: Beware of mild SPOILERS if you have not read the majority of the series*

1. Compromise really is the key to a successful relationship

At the beginning of the series, Eve is a no-nonsense cop with no tolerance for criminals. Roarke is a wealthy businessman with a dubious past and a healthy disdain for rules and authority, including the police. Over the series, Eve has strayed slightly from the straight and narrow and Roarke has become less shady. The compromise from them both has helped to strengthen their bond.

2. A criminal past will not necessarily stop you from achieving your dreams

Case in point, Eve’s best friend Mavis. When we meet her, Mavis is a lounge singer in a far from classy establishment. She and Eve met when Eve busted her for grifting. Now, though, Mavis is a mom and a rock star (no, seriously, a literal rock star) and is married to one of the hottest designers in the world! So don’t let a little blemish on your criminal record hold you back; get out there and be somebody!

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb3. Opposites Attract

Delia Peabody has a square face, has been described as “sturdy” & “chunky” with a “jelly belly,” she once had a bowl cut and has spent a lot of her time in the series in sensible shoes. Ian McNab is pale, has a skinny frame with narrow hips, wears a waist length ponytail and is considered pretty. When they first meet, they could not be farther apart in their looks and the way people regarded them. But that didn’t stop them for falling for each other. Peabody and McNab are the most fun couple featured in the series. And the most freaky. Because Peabody and McNab GET. IT. ON. Honorable mention in the Opposites Attract category? Just the main couple of the series, Eve and Roarke, the Cop and the Criminal.

4. Not every woman desires to look pretty and glamorous

I don’t have much in common with Eve Dallas, but I do share a lack of love for a lot of things considered “girly” and “feminine.” Eve breaks out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of getting her hair done and having make-up slathered on her face and does everything she can to avoid it. She’s even been known to hide. It’s one of my favorite things about her.

5. Having a partner with a strong Irish brougue can be beneficial…to your lady parts

Pretty sure you don’t need me to elaborate here. Just think of the whispered sweet nothings. UNF! Roarke also has a tendency to let his accent slip during intimate times. Be still, my panties.

6. There are benefits to marrying rich

Roarke is just about the richest man on and off planet in this series. He can give Eve anything she wants. He established a bank account for her, he buys her jewelry, clothes, cars…things she doesn’t even think she needs. But the best perk of having a rich man in J.D. Robb’s imagined not so distant future? He can afford to buy real coffee beans. It’s a pricey commodity in their world and he keeps his woman stocked with it at home and at work. Worth it’s weight in gold to Eve.

Creation in Death by J.D. Robb7. Prostitutes are people, too!

Ever heard the phrase “you can’t housewife a ho”? No? Oh. Maybe you hang in different circles than me. Ahem. Anyway, it means you can’t turn a prostitute into a happy homemaker. But this series proves that you can. Well, sort of. The series has turned male “licensed companion” Charles Monroe into a happy husband and that’s close enough!

8. Even at the top of your game, you can be bested

Eve is arguably the top cop of the New York Police and Security Department (NYPSD). She is a tenacious detective notorious for closing her cases. But, we are over 40 books and novellas into the series and she still hasn’t been able to ferret out the identity of the candy thief that plagues her. I love that someone continually challenges her, even in this small way; it keeps her from being too perfect at her job.

9. Friends can be family, too!

Eve and Roarke are both loners with not much family when the series starts. But they have built familial bonds with their friends that are, in a lot of cases, stronger than the bonds they ever had with their families. Eve has the mom, dad and sister she never had in Mira, Feeney and Peabody. Summerset would do and has done anything for Roarke and Eve. Their friends love them as much as they love their natural kin and consider them family, whether they want it or not.

10. Your past does not define your future

Both Eve and Roarke had childhoods that included abuse, loneliness, despair and crime. But look at them now! They have both fought to be more than their past, almost to spite their past. And they’ve both come out on top, which can be attributed in no small part to getting together.

The In Death series has spanned decades and may be daunting to try to tackle if you haven’t already started. But I will always recommend them. There’s so much to learn plus, they’re pretty darn good.

Pen Singleton is a writer, reader, obsessive fangirl and pop culture addict. You can find her on Twitter @sweetiepiepen or fangirl with her on Tumblr

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Michelle G.
1. Michelle G.
This is one of my absolute favorite series of all times which I re-read at least once a year. You've pointed out 10 great reasons to read. I've found that there are some books that I absolutely love the character development and the interaction between the main players more than the mystery they try to solve.
Elizabeth Halliday
2. Ibbitts
This is my favorite series for several reasons, but the foremost is Eve and Roarke's marriage. J. D. Robb demonstrates to perfection that the "happily ever after" is just the beginning of the story.
Michelle G.
3. Grace S
Great points, I agree with all of them.

What I love about this series is that the secondary characters develop, grow and change as much as the mains, and we love them. They are *real*, as real and Eve and Roarke seem to be.

Do we not all love how much McNab loves his She-Body? Didn't we all mourn with Morris the M.E. when his own girlfriend became a victim? Don't we all have a bit of a dad crush on Dr. Mira's rumpled, sweet, absent-minded professor husband Dennis?

I think we're 40 something books/novellas into this world and it hasn't jumped the shark. If anything it's more addictive, more compelling and we are more emotionally invested than ever. So long as she keeps writing them, I will keep reading about Roark, His Cop and their circle of friends and colleagues.
Sue Peace
4. Sue Peace
I love Eve and Roarke too! And everyone in the series! It's one of the few I can vividly remember all of the characters!
Catherine Wester
5. ctwest53
I love the In Death books and have read the entire series, and look forward with great anticipation to each new release. I also look at the characters as old friends and enjoy their banter and antics, I especially love when Peabody talks to Eve about her and McNabb' s sex life and her reaction.
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
Old friends indeed. Ones I just have to catch up with at least twice a year. The individual mystery of each book may be more or less compelling, but the character development and the different relationships are always worthwhile. Thank heaven that JD Robb is such a prolific author and allows me to visit in this world so often.
Michelle G.
7. Travelover
I LOVE this series and all it's characters. But I am madly in love with Roarke. I have re-read the entire series at least twice a year, and it's wonderful to see the characters learn and grow from book to book. I look forward to each of the books - counting down the days to the newest release. The series NEVER gets old - the humor, the romance - they are like REAL people. Fantastic.
Pen Singleton
9. PenSingleton
@Michelle G - I totally agree; the character development is what keeps me coming back and what makes those characters feel like friends whose lives you really care about.

@Ibbitts - I think the fact that their marriage feels so real is another strength of the series. Happily ever after doesn't necessarily mean happy every minute.

@Grace S - I adore the secondary characters! I think Peabody is actually my favorite character overall. And I love how she humanizes Eve and gets her to loosen up a bit.

@Sue Peace - It's amazing how many of the secondary characters I can remember and actually care to know what's happening with them. I love when she revisits characters from previous books to let us know they're still around and growing and still interacting with the main characters.

@ctwest53 - I love just about everything about Peabody and McNab and their antics but Peabody oversharing with Eve is just about my favorite thing of all!

@bungluna - I agree. The mysteries are the point of the books but, if I'm honest, it's the characters that bring me back. We're lucky that she's able to give us great stories in addition to the characters.

@Travelover - how can you NOT be in love with Roarke? He is so much EVERYTHING!

@willaful - thank you!
Michelle G.
10. Dolly56
I too re-read this series at least twice a year. So glad I'm not the only one who does.
Not only do I love the characters, I'm addicted to the emotions the stories bring out. Laughter, outrage, sadness and joy. So many of the feelings wring you dry but the laughter fills you up.
I especially love the books dealing with Eve Christmas shopping. It fits me to a tee. Lol
Great topic for a blog post and so many insights by the commenters. Fantastic job!
Michelle G.
11. Travelover
Dolly, I think my favorite books are the Christmas holiday books (along with Born in Death), because there is always so much more humor AND sweetness in them. PLUS the "crazier" than normal murders (lol - if there is such a thing as a "normal" murder in these books) usually involving Santa Claus, Eve's insistance that she is "buying" rather than "shopping" as she tries to maintain her "bah, humbug" attitude (it's fun to mark the changes in her growth by the way she is each Christmas) - Peabody's holiday spirit (her innocent indignation when she realized Santa was a crazed killer!), Eve's logical "direction" of various decorators based on running an op - and the sweet way Eve and Roarke decorate their own "personal" tree - building "competing" snow people, snowball fighting, and the touching scenes with Mr. and Mrs. Mira, etc. are so delightful. I look forward to those holiday books - and this year I'm anticipating Festive in Death - HOW will J. D. Robb TOP the other holiday books. And Roarke is THE MAN!
Michelle G.
12. MsTree
I have all the books in the series (except the latest one) in hard copy and I am now purchasing them in ebook format as I can afford them so I can read whenever I want about Eve and Roark and Peabody and McNab and Mavis and... well, you get the picture. ^_^
Michelle G.
13. lauram
I don't mean to be controversial, but I stopped reading these after Promises In Death mostly because JDR failed to kill off Feeney (who I love) several books earlier. There was one book (Born In Death?) where it would have been the logical outcome but it felt like she ducked it and went for the happy ending, and now Feeney is just a bit-part. There's no real conflict for Eve anymore, and she's just an increasingly famous cop married to a gorgeous rich bloke, with smug-married best friends, a cute pseudo-child and the perfect adoptive family in Ireland. Sorry!!
Pen Singleton
14. PenSingleton
@Dolly56 - Thanks! I reread them over and over again, too! I just love that world so much!

@Travelover - Born in Death has one of my fave scenes ever! Eve and Roarke and their horror; so much fun! LOL

@MsTree - they all feel like friends, right?

@laruram - Feeney is one of my faves, too! I love his place in Eve's life. Glad you were able to get some pleasure from the series before you gave it up. I'm still enjoying them. I love that famous cop and her rich hubby!
Michelle G.
15. Katafer
So crazy about this series - I am working through my second re-reading currently.

My speculation is that McNab is the candy thief... but I wonder if we'll ever know.
Michelle G.
16. boofa
I am almost finished this series and I am panicking! I have caught up and am awaiting the 2014 novel. What is another great series I can enjoy now, please?
Michelle G.
17. PLinam
I've read all the books and waiting for the current one Sept 2015. I've read the to the point of rubbing the ink off the pages. I then started purchasing the audio books and thoroughly enjoyed them even more than the printed version. One I can mentality envision each character. I can honestly say that this is the only series that has completely captivated me. Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb is a fantastic writer of the imagination and I have read everything she has had published.
Michelle G.
18. tg
My goodness! I love this series....What I absolutely love is the way love is ptrayed in them. More so in the books where Eve and Roarke go for periods of time pissed off at each other, but you can still sense an undertone of love in their chaos. Magdabitch, that really gave me an LoL moment! How does JDR do it. I mean you know you're into a book when you have a weird smile in the subway, or when you burst out laughing in the bus when everyone else is quiet....cant wait for more books!
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