Naked in Death (In Death Series #1)by J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts
As NYPD Lt. Eve Dallas races to find a serial killer, she becomes very involved with one of the suspects. Her overpowering feelings for a man she barely knows could jeopardize her investigation, her faith in herself--and her life. J.D. Robb is the pseudonym for bestselling author Nora Roberts.
“Superstar Nora Roberts dons a new pseudonym and proves why she is one of the world's most remarkable storytellers in this ground-breaking novel of life and death in the 21st century...Superbly suspenseful and strikingly original.”—RT Book Reviews
“Danger, romance...a masterpiece of fine writing.”—Rendezvous
“Eve, Roarke and the rest of the cast will enchant you, and the murder plots will enthrall you.”—The State (Columbia, S.C.)
More Praise for the In Death series
“Robb is a virtuoso.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“It’s Law & Order: SVU—in the future.”—Entertainment Weekly
“J. D. Robb’s In Death novels are can’t-miss pleasures.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben
“Anchored by terrific characters, sudden twists that spin the whole narrative on a dime, and a thrills-to-chills ration that will raise the neck hairs of even the most jaded reader, the J. D. Robb books are the epitome of great popular fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane
Read an Excerpt
NAKED IN DEATH
By J. D. ROBB
G. P. Putnam's SonsCopyright © 1995 Nora Roberts
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSHE WOKE IN THE DARK. THROUGH THE SLATS on the window shades, the first murky hint of dawn slipped, slanting shadowy bars over the bed. It was like waking in a cell.
For a moment she simply lay there, shuddering, imprisoned, while the dream faded. After ten years on the force, Eve still had dreams.
Six hours before, she'd killed a man, had watched death creep into his eyes. It wasn't the first time she'd exercised maximum force, or dreamed. She'd learned to accept the action and the consequences.
But it was the child that haunted her. The child she hadn't been in time to save. The child whose screams had echoed in the dreams with her own.
All the blood, Eve thought, scrubbing sweat from her face with her hands. Such a small little girl to have had so much blood in her. And she knew it was vital that she push it aside.
Standard departmental procedure meant that she would spend the morning in Testing. Any officer whose discharge of weapon resulted in termination of life was required to undergo emotional and psychiatric clearance before resuming duty. Eve considered the tests a mild pain in the ass.
She would beat them, as she'd beaten them before.
When she rose, the overheads went automatically to low setting, lighting her way into the bath. She winced once at her reflection. Her eyes were swollen from lack of sleep, her skin nearly as pale as the corpses she'd delegated to the ME.
Rather than dwell on it, she stepped into the shower, yawning.
"Give me one oh one degrees, full force," she said and shifted so that the shower spray hit her straight in the face.
She let it steam, lathered listlessly while she played through the events of the night before. She wasn't due in Testing until nine, and would use the next three hours to settle and let the dream fade away completely.
Small doubts and little regrets were often detected and could mean a second and more intense round with the machines and the owl-eyed technicians who ran them.
Eve didn't intend to be off the streets longer than twenty-four hours.
After pulling on a robe, she walked into the kitchen and programmed her AutoChef for coffee, black; toast, light. Through her window she could hear the heavy hum of air traffic carrying early commuters to offices, late ones home. She'd chosen the apartment years before because it was in a heavy ground and air pattern, and she liked the noise and crowds. On another yawn, she glanced out the window, followed the rattling journey of an aging airbus hauling laborers not fortunate enough to work in the city or by home 'links.
She brought the New York Times up on her monitor and scanned the headlines while the faux caffeine bolstered her system. The AutoChef had burned her toast again, but she ate it anyway, with a vague thought of springing for a replacement unit.
She was frowning over an article on a mass recall of droid cocker spaniels when her telelink blipped. Eve shifted to communications and watched her commanding officer flash onto the screen.
"Lieutenant." He gave her a brisk nod, noted the still wet hair and sleepy eyes. "Incident at Twenty-seven West Broadway, eighteenth floor. You're primary."
Eve lifted a brow. "I'm on Testing. Subject terminated at twenty-two thirty-five."
"We have override," he said, without inflection. "Pick up your shield and weapon on the way to the incident. Code Five, Lieutenant."
"Yes, sir." His face flashed off even as she pushed back from the screen. Code Five meant she would report directly to her commander, and there would be no unsealed interdepartmental reports and no cooperation with the press.
In essence, it meant she was on her own.
Broadway was noisy and crowded, a party that rowdy guests never left. Street, pedestrian, and sky traffic were miserable, choking the air with bodies and vehicles. In her old days in uniform she remembered it as a hot spot for wrecks and crushed tourists who were too busy gaping at the show to get out of the way.
Even at this hour steam was rising from the stationary and portable food stands that offered everything from rice noodles to soy dogs for the teeming crowds. She had to swerve to avoid an eager merchant on his smoking Glida-Grill, and took his flipped middle finger as a matter of course.
Eve double-parked and, skirting a man who smelled worse than his bottle of brew, stepped onto the sidewalk. She scanned the building first, fifty floors of gleaming metal that knifed into the sky from a hilt of concrete. She was propositioned twice before she reached the door.
Since this five-block area of West Broadway was affectionately termed Prostitute's Walk, she wasn't surprised. She flashed her badge for the uniform guarding the entrance.
"Yes, sir." He skimmed his official CompuSeal over the door to keep out the curious, then led the way to the bank of elevators. "Eighteenth floor," he said when the doors swished shut behind them.
"Fill me in, Officer." Eve switched on her recorder and waited.
"I wasn't first on the scene, Lieutenant. Whatever happened upstairs is being kept upstairs. There's a badge inside waiting for you. We have a homicide, and a Code Five in number eighteen-oh-three."
"Who called it in?"
"I don't have that information."
He stayed where he was when the elevator opened. Eve stepped out and was alone in a narrow hallway. Security cameras tilted down at her, and her feet were almost soundless on the worn nap of the carpet as she approached 1803. Ignoring the hand plate, she announced herself, holding her badge up to eye level for the peep cam until the door opened.
"Feeney." She smiled, pleased to see a familiar face. Ryan Feeney was an old friend and former partner who'd traded the street for a desk and a top-level position in the Electronics Detection Division. "So, they're sending computer pluckers these days."
"They wanted brass, and the best." His lips curved in his wide, rumpled face, but his eyes remained sober. He was a small, stubby man with small, stubby hands and rust-colored hair. "You look beat."
"So I heard." He offered her one of the sugared nuts from the bag he habitually carried, studying her, and measuring if she was up to what was waiting in the bedroom beyond.
She was young for her rank, barely thirty, with wide brown eyes that had never had a chance to be naive. Her doe-brown hair was cropped short, for convenience rather than style, but suited her triangular face with its razor-edge cheekbones and slight dent in the chin.
She was tall, rangy, with a tendency to look thin, but Feeney knew there were solid muscles beneath the leather jacket. But Eve had more-there was also a brain, and a heart.
"This one's going to be touchy, Dallas."
"I picked that up already. Who's the victim?"
"Sharon DeBlass, granddaughter of Senator DeBlass."
Neither meant anything to her. "Politics isn't my forte, Feeney."
"The gentleman from Virginia, extreme right, old money. The granddaughter took a sharp left a few years back, moved to New York and became a licensed companion."
"She was a hooker." Dallas glanced around the apartment. It was furnished in obsessive modern-glass and thin chrome, signed holograms on the walls, recessed bar in bold red. The wide mood screen behind the bar bled with mixing and merging shapes and colors in cool pastels.
Neat as a virgin, Eve mused, and cold as a whore. "No surprise, given her choice of real estate."
"Politics makes it delicate. Victim was twenty-four, Caucasian female. She bought it in bed."
Eve only lifted a brow. "Seems poetic, since she'd been bought there. How'd she die?"
"That's the next problem. I want you to see for yourself."
As they crossed the room, each took out a slim container, sprayed their hands front and back to seal in oils and fingerprints. At the doorway, Eve sprayed the bottom of her boots to slicken them so that she would pick up no fibers, stray hairs, or skin.
Eve was already wary. Under normal circumstances there would have been two other investigators on a homicide scene, with recorders for sound and pictures. Forensics would have been waiting with their usual snarly impatience to sweep the scene.
The fact that only Feeney had been assigned with her meant that there were a lot of eggshells to be walked over.
"Security cameras in the lobby, elevator, and hallways," Eve commented.
"I've already tagged the discs." Feeney opened the bedroom door and let her enter first.
It wasn't pretty. Death rarely was a peaceful, religious experience to Eve's mind. It was the nasty end, indifferent to saint and sinner. But this was shocking, like a stage deliberately set to offend.
The bed was huge, slicked with what appeared to be genuine satin sheets the color of ripe peaches. Small, soft focused spotlights were trained on its center where the naked woman was cupped in the gentle dip of the floating mattress.
The mattress moved with obscenely graceful undulations to the rhythm of programmed music slipping through the headboard.
She was beautiful still, a cameo face with a tumbling waterfall of flaming red hair, emerald eyes that stared glassily at the mirrored ceiling, long, milk-white limbs that called to mind visions of Swan Lake as the motion of the bed gently rocked them.
They weren't artistically arranged now, but spread lewdly so that the dead woman formed a final X dead-center of the bed.
There was a hole in her forehead, one in her chest, another horribly gaping between the open thighs. Blood had splattered on the glossy sheets, pooled, dripped, and stained.
There were splashes of it on the lacquered walls, like lethal paintings scrawled by an evil child.
So much blood was a rare thing, and she had seen much too much of it the night before to take the scene as calmly as she would have preferred.
She had to swallow once, hard, and force herself to block out the image of a small child.
"You got the scene on record?"
"Then turn that damn thing off." She let out a breath after Feeney located the controls that silenced the music. The bed flowed to stillness. "The wounds," Eve murmured, stepping closer to examine them. "Too neat for a knife. Too messy for a laser." A flash came to her-old training films, old videos, old viciousness.
"Christ, Feeney, these look like bullet wounds."
Feeney reached into his pocket and drew out a sealed bag. "Whoever did it left a souvenir." He passed the bag to Eve. "An antique like this has to go for eight, ten thousand for a legal collection, twice that on the black market."
Fascinated, Eve turned the sealed revolver over in her hand. "It's heavy," she said half to herself. "Bulky."
"Thirty-eight caliber," he told her. "First one I've seen outside of a museum. This one's a Smith and Wesson, Model Ten, blue steel." He looked at it with some affection. "Real classic piece, used to be standard police issue up until the latter part of the twentieth. They stopped making them in about twenty-two, twenty-three, when the gun ban was passed."
"You're the history buff." Which explained why he was with her. "Looks new." She sniffed through the bag, caught the scent of oil and burning. "Somebody took good care of this. Steel fired into flesh," she mused as she passed the bag back to Feeney. "Ugly way to die, and the first I've seen it in my ten years with the department."
"Second for me. About fifteen years ago, Lower East Side, party got out of hand. Guy shot five people with a twenty-two before he realized it wasn't a toy. Hell of a mess."
"Fun and games," Eve murmured. "We'll scan the collectors, see how many we can locate who own one like this. Somebody might have reported a robbery."
"It's more likely it came through the black market." Eve glanced back at the body. "If she's been in the business for a few years, she'd have discs, records of her clients, her trick books." She frowned. "With Code Five, I'll have to do the door-to-door myself. Not a simple sex crime," she said with a sigh. "Whoever did it set it up. The antique weapon, the wounds themselves, almost ruler straight down the body, the lights, the pose. Who called it in, Feeney?"
"The killer." He waited until her eyes came back to him. "From right here. Called the station. See how the bedside unit's aimed at her face? That's what came in. Video, no audio."
"He's into showmanship." Eve let out a breath. "Clever bastard, arrogant, cocky. He had sex with her first. I'd bet my badge on it. Then he gets up and does it." She lifted her arm, aiming, lowering it as she counted off, "One, two, three."
"That's cold," murmured Feeney.
"He's cold. He smooths down the sheets after. See how neat they are? He arranges her, spreads her open so nobody can have any doubts as to how she made her living. He does it carefully, practically measuring, so that she's perfectly aligned. Center of the bed, arms and legs equally apart. Doesn't turn off the bed 'cause it's part of the show. He leaves the gun because he wants us to know right away he's no ordinary man. He's got an ego. He doesn't want to waste time letting the body be discovered eventually. He wants it now. That instant gratification."
"She was licensed for men and women," Feeny pointed out, but Eve shook her head.
"It's not a woman. A woman wouldn't have left her looking both beautiful and obscene. No, I don't think it's a woman. Let's see what we can find. Have you gone into her computer yet?"
"No. It's your case, Dallas. I'm only authorized to assist."
"See if you can access her client files." Eve went to the dresser and began to carefully search drawers.
Expensive taste, Eve reflected. There were several items of real silk, the kind no simulation could match. The bottle of scent on the dresser was exclusive, and smelled, after a quick sniff, like expensive sex.
The contents of the drawers were meticulously ordered, lingerie folded precisely, sweaters arranged according to color and material. The closet was the same.
Obviously the victim had a love affair with clothes and a taste for the best and took scrupulous care of what she owned.
And she'd died naked.
"Kept good records," Feeney called out. "It's all here. Her client list, appointments-including her required monthly health exam and her weekly trip to the beauty salon. She used the Trident Clinic for the first and Paradise for the second."
"Both top of the line. I've got a friend who saved for a year so she could have one day for the works at Paradise. Takes all kinds."
"My wife's sister went for it for her twenty-fifth anniversary. Cost damn near as much as my kid's wedding. Hello, we've got her personal address book."
Excerpted from NAKED IN DEATH by J. D. ROBB Copyright © 1995 by Nora Roberts. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
J. D. Robb is the pseudonym for a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including the bestselling In Death series. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.
- Keedysville, Maryland
- Date of Birth:
- Place of Birth:
- Silver Spring, Maryland
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have absolutely loved this book! It is filled with mystery, murder, romance and suspense. It is set in the future so it is a little different than all the other mystery books out there. I can't wait to read the rest of series. It is a lot like Janet Evanovich's series, which I can't get enough of.
This was the first In Death Book I had and I had to have it on my Nook . I love all of Nora's In Death and the day she stops I will be very sad for I find them all so good . I just read High Noon and I think she should have made a Series of them also . kind of in the line of her In Death . If enough of us ask she may do so . Bt a great read
Love in death series!! My boss lent me the first one a few months ago and I've been addicted since. I will admit some are better than others but I love them.
I really love this series, but I was stupid and started at like book 20. I had never heard of the In Death Series, so I just picked up one that looked really good. I was hooked and always meant to go back to the beginning. I was thrilled when I finally got a library card and they had the entire series. Being the first in the series doesn't make any less than the rest. It was great to finally understand how somethings come into play later on. Although, I did miss some of the characters that appear later. I love Eve and Roarke. They are such an interesting couple even from the beginning. I will continue reading them in order now just to catch all the stuff I missed!
I have read and enjoyed Nora Roberts fot years, but this is my first experience with the In Death series. It was an easy read, but enjoyable. I would definetly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries. I have to complain about the review thar gave away the ending. It' s not the first time that has happened since I began reading on this Nook, and I think it is childish and inconsiderate. These are supposed to be reviews, not " book reports". Nevertheless, this is a good story; good enough that I plan to continue reading the series.
The futuristic setting in this book had great potential. Though I liked this better than other Nora Roberts books, I still found it disturbing. The fact that the victims were legal prostitutes lent itself to an overabundance of sex and violence. I enjoyed the romance but there again went to far for my liking.
Loved it! This is the start to a very addictive series!
I love the way J. D. Robb incorporates romance, suspense and thrill into her novel, the characters compliment each other which make the story work. I also love the imagery of the future, it really makes you use your imaination
**spoiler alert** This was my first foray into the Nora Roberts library. When I bought the book, I didn't know that she wrote under a few pseudonyms, J.D. Robb being one of them, but was intrigued enough to experience one of her many books. I also didn't know that this series was set in the future. Normally, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I was willing to forgive it because a few details about life in 2058 were interesting and it really was just the backdrop for what ended up being a flat story. And this was just book one of a lengthy series, but I don't think I will rush out to purchase book #2 anytime soon. I love a good thriller, but I pretty much had the guilty parties pegged early on in the story. You had the typical overbearing politician, who you just knew had to be involved in some capacity (he had a history of molestation and abuse, and ultimately murder). Then, you had the senator's nice, accommodating assistant, Derrick Rockman, but one could easily see right through that facade (he was an accessory to and guilty of murder/attempted murder). So, no real twists, turns, or surprises whatsoever. As if the predictability weren't disappointing enough, the reader had to suffer through a ridiculous romance between a salacious man of wealth and a female lieutenant, who wanted to be independent, strong, and disciplined, but ended up being damaged and needy of love. Every time Roarke and Eve were together in the book, some sort of lewd act transpired. If they didn't fully indulge in their sexual desires, they were flirting and passing on corny lines. This love story contributed nothing to the story at all, at least to me. Personally, the whole "falling in love with a perfect-in-every-fashion man who has everything a woman could want" (wealth, looks, style, wine, mansion, sexual prowess...antique firearms...and coffee (?)) was the author's attempt to live out a potential fantasy of hers, nothing more.
This is one of those series I have always heard about but have yet to dive into. I mean this book came out in 1995 and there are over 40 books! It’s a bit daunting to contemplate. It’s also written by Nora Roberts an author that I constantly see on the bestseller list but again have yet to try. Naked in Death did not disappoint one bit, and one thing I was not expecting was that it was a futuristic sci-fi-ish detective novel. I was hooked! It had a bit of a Blade Runner meets Fifth Element feel sans the comedy of Fifth Element. I finished the audiobook in two days, skipping TV, to listen and finish the book. I could not walk away! It’s gritty and raw; has such a depraved realness that goes along with the worst of society, no matter the time. Susan Ericksen was masterful in her narration and I have already grabbed the next installment....Sara
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Wonderful book for my Nook. Impossible to put down. Exciting. Already purchased book 2, starting it now.
One of my favorite books. I really like the whole series . Some of the books hook you a little more than others and this is one of them . Nora Roberts is a wonderful author .
I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Great story line
Fast paced thriller, it's like Olivia Benson in book form.
Shut up this book may be unsuitable for kids i read book 1 at age 5 and no i'm 12 and i have read the whole series spoiler alret the guy dies in the last book fyi
Still one of the best books in the series.
After reading this book, I had to see what happened to Eve and Roarke and I ended up ordering the next four books. I'm home recuperating from surgery so I have plenty of time to read. When I finished those, I ordered the next five books as a set to save some money!
**This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.** This series has been one I planned to start for a while, but at the same time I've been really intimidated by it. I mean, 41 books?!?! How do you even start a series 41 books behind? Well, with book 1 apparently. That's what I did and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Naked in Death. Especially since it's straight procedural and as a general rule, that's not my thing. The reasons I think it worked for me really well, despite the procedural element are: The futuristic setting. I love future worlds - and Naked in Death is a really good blend of our world and a future one. Eve, the main character. I love her dedication to her job and that she's an intelligent, kick ass female detective. I love her big heart and her vulnerability. I love worrying for her and can't wait to see her grow over the series. I didn't expect to enjoy the audio as well as I did, because I'd heard some negative reviews - AFTER I bought it, of course. I'm glad I gave it a try on audio though, because while Susan Ericksen wasn't the best, she wasn't bad. Her male voices were a bit more feminine than I'd prefer and her accents weren't amazing. But I liked her voice for Eve a lot and the rest I could work with just fine. And they had voice affects for the computer, which was neat. The mystery was compelling, even if I was able to solve it fairly early. It was still satisfying to watch the pieces fall together and see that I was right. I'm really looking forward to continuing this series and getting to know the characters better.