A series of books by Nora Roberts (writing as J.D. Robb), featuring police detective Eve Dallas in 2058 New York City. The series has been described as Law & OrderIN THE FUTURE! She meets, and later marries, the multi-billionaire Roarke. The series concerns Eve and Roarke, and their efforts to catch various killers, psychos, and the occasional case of science gone bad.
Books in this series
Naked in Death (1995).
Glory in Death (1995).
Immortal in Death (1996).
Rapture in Death (1996).
Ceremony in Death (1997).
Vengeance in Death (1997).
Holiday in Death (1998).
Midnight in Death (1998). A novella.
Conspiracy in Death (1999).
Loyalty in Death (1999).
Witness in Death (2000).
Judgment in Death (2000).
Betrayal in Death (2001).
Interlude in Death (2001). A novella.
Seduction in Death (2001).
Reunion in Death (2002).
Purity in Death (2002).
Portrait in Death (2003).
Remember When (2003). Two-part novel. The first part covers a diamond robbery taking place in the 2000s and a number of murders connected to it. The second part takes place in the 2050s and has Eve Dallas investigating the decades-old case. Since a new series of murders has started.
Divided in Death (2004).
Visions in Death (2004).
Survivor in Death (2005).
Origin in Death (2005).
Memory in Death (2006).
Haunted in Death (2006). A novella.
Born in Death (2006).
Innocent in Death (2007).
Eternity in Death (2007). A novella.
Creation in Death (2007).
Strangers in Death (2008).
Ritual in Death (2008). A novella.
Salvation in Death (2008).
Promises in Death (2009).
Kindred in Death (2009).
Missing in Death (2009). A novella.
Fantasy in Death (2010).
Indulgence in Death (2010).
Possession in Death (2010). A novella.
Treachery in Death (2011).
New York to Dallas (2011).
Chaos in Death (2011). A novella.
Celebrity in Death (2012).
Delusion in Death (2012).
Calculated in Death (2013).
These books contain examples of:
Absent Aliens - There is space travel in Robb's 21st century, but it's mostly background, and there's no mention of non-human life. (Aside from the villains Eve chases)
Abusive Parents: In the backstory of both main characters, with the sole exception of Roarke's real mother, who died soon after he was born.
Acting for Two - An odd and amusing meta example. One of the stories is a sort of Crossover, with the first part (pre-Urban Wars) featuring a couple involved in a theft mystery, and then an Eve and Roarke story that's a murder mystery. The first part is written by Nora Roberts, while the second part is written by... J.D. Robb. (The info page at the back of the book asserts that the "two authors" share a house, an office, and a husband.)
Asshole Victim - There are a lot of these. Eve starts out essentially forcing herself to sympathize with them and feel for them. Witness in Death has her openly admit that she couldn't feel sorry for the victim, nor truly condemn his murderer. Her previous attitude is lighter to absent later on, when confronted with such victims.
Big Applesauce - Both the text and some of the characters treat New York City with a reverence bordering on religion. In one book Roarke feels the need to point out to Eve that New York isn't the center of the universe, to which Eve replies that it should be. The fact that New York state exists beyond New York City is generally ignored.
Big Brother Instinct - Roarke tends to harbor protective instincts toward Eve's female colleagues, though they're not particularly weak. This is probably due to dead little sister, below.
Big Damn Heroes - Eve frequently has such moments at the climax of a novel's storyline. Roarke has also done it a few times.
Big Eater - Peabody is always nagging Eve to stop for food. It's subtly hinted she may also be doing this to make sure Dallas eats.
Harm Eve and after the NYPSD makes your life a living hell, Roarke will show you new types of pain. The same applies for harming Roarke where Eve is concerned.
It goes either and both ways, with Eve's men taking it personally when someone threatens their Lieutenant. We see this in Treachery in Death after someone has just attacked Eve from the back, in front of other detectives.
Black Market Produce: Real meat and coffee are expensive luxuries that only the mega-rich can afford. In the first novel of the series reformed (mostly) bad boy billionaire Roarke woos Lt. Eve Dallas by giving her a present of genuine coffee beans from the Brazilian plantation he maintains at great expense for his own personal supply. It's so immeasurably superior to the vile sludge that usually passes for coffee that Dallas's coffee becomes the envy of the entire Homicide division.
For various things, and averted on so few occasions that you might start wondering about Product Placement (or at least Author Appeal), since Pepsi seems to be one of the only, if not the only, major brand to survive the Urban Wars.
There's also the various drugs like Zoner, Zeus, and Exotica, which in function and approach they're basically just Marijuana, Cocaine, and Ecstasy. Would probably be just Future Slang if the series didn't try to point out that they're actually supposed to be distinct substances. (And yet, the originals have apparently disappeared from use. No one ever tokes some weed or snorts some coke, it's always Zoner or Zeus.)
Blackmail - A number of individuals use this in the series. Some of them even tried this on a murderer, in a blatant What an Idiot manuever. Every single one of these individuals ended up as an Asshole Victim.
Eve somehow manages to be both! Peabody is a straighter example of By-the-Book Cop but not entirely.
Eve tries to be a By-the-Book Cop so as to not give her suspects any legal loopholes to exploit and will resort to the less legal means (often by drawing on Roarke's talents for that sort of thing) only when she has no other option. Eve respects if not outright worships the Law while recognizing that her opponents work outside it.
Bishounen - Roarke has a talent for inspiring Perverse Sexual Lust in Eve's female associates, to her annoyance. Also Charles Monroe, for whom it is an asset to his former work.
Clingy Jealous Girl - An interesting and sympathetic example with Eve. Roarke can be very affectionate and flirty with female friends, but Eve's very good at distinguishing when she has a reason to be jealous (Maggie, the Old Flame, shows up) and when she doesn't (Roarke gives Nadine a good luck kiss or strokes Peabody's hair after a bad scare).
Cloud Cuckoo Lander - Dennis Mira, Dr. Mira's husband. Incredibly sweet and empathetic but rather spacey. Eve finds him oddly charming.
Cool Big Sis - Peabody thinks of Dallas this way, while Dallas is impressed by Mira's grace, style and poise, to the point of her mental descriptions reaching near girl-crush levels.
Cool Car - In Promises in Death, Roarke gives Dallas an incredibly cool car custom-designed for her, packed to the gills with awesome features...and painted like a junker, so it won't draw attention on the street. Eve was grateful, since she'd had to use NYPSD-issued clunkers until "Promises".
Da Chief - Chief Tibble. Commander Whitney, as her direct superior, also serves as Da Chief to Eve in many respects; both of them have good working relationships with her.
Dark and Troubled Past - Dallas, Roarke, Dr. Mira. How they each dealt with it is a large part of their characterization, and set them on their respective paths.
Sure, the characters think it's okay, and there's all sorts of space travel and VR and autochefs yay. But then you actually start gathering stuff together. Like the fact that someone's taken white-out to the Bill of Rights (for example, the 2nd Amendment has been mostly repealed). That real meat, coffee, tobacco, and other such things are so rare and expensive that some people go years without ever tasting them. That the environmental movement has grown so powerful that there are Green Cops who come around to hassle you if you're not being environmentally conscious enough. All your activities online are monitored at all times by the forces of CompuGuard. If Eve didn't rattle on about warrants and the "revised" Miranda (and get around the first half the time), you'd immediately start wondering if her world wasn't a low-level fascist state.
Then, what's not a Dystopia borders on being a Mary Sue Topia. Women are paid to be mothers if they choose to stay home with their children, and people can retire quite young (the book is vague... late fifties, sixty at the latest?) and live quite comfortable lives on their default retirement package... keep in mind people live well past 100 in the setting, so it's not all that unreasonable to think someone could live on their social security anywhere from two to four times as long as they worked. Where all the money for this comes from without taxes being so high that everyone just gets a living allowance from the government is never explained.
The Empath - Peabody's father and brother are this, and the former theorizes that Eve might be too.
Enfant Terrible: Rayleen Straffo in Innocent In Death, who started her murderous career at seven.
Engineered Public Confession - Eve pulls this off at the end of Purity in Death and Innocent in Death, though the latter was designed for one person.
Evil Counterpart - Renee Oberman in Treachery in Death is basically the opposite of Eve in every way but gender. Also Bix to Peabody. He's an attack dog subordinate with no independent thought, she's a true partner who complements Eve as part of a team.
Expy - Eve and Roarke bear a very strong resemblance to Mel Sutherland and Sebastian Donovan from Roberts's 1992 novella Entranced.
Fair Cop: Trueheart is a rare male example. Even Eve mentally describes him as "hunky".
Roarke. Eve frequently snarks about him buying whole countries; the reader may be forgiven for getting the impression that this is only kind of an exaggeration, given that any business or building Eve's investigations lead her to runs approximately a fifty-fifty chance of being owned by Roarke's company.
It's much higher than fifty-fifty. It's eventually only remarkable when it turns out Roarke doesn't own the building or business in question. Roarke will then explain why he considered buying it but decided not to.
With one noted exception. The Statue of Liberty. Roarke simply states, "Nobody owns her."
Forgets to Eat - Eve, unless it's junk food. Roarke goes to great pains to make sure she stays fed. More subtly, so do Summerset and Peabody.
Gentleman Thief - Roarke and Summerset are both former ones, but their skill is undiminished. Roarke, at least, keeps in practice.
Give Me Back My Wallet - Every now and then, Eve will catch other people getting their pockets picked, and apprehend the thief. But Roarke has been shown to pick Eve's pocket without her noticing, for fun.
Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Dr. Mira in Midnight in Death is unable to understand David Palmer's villainy. Eve Dallas is similarly unable to understand her own mother in New York to Dallas.
Granola Girl: Peabody was raised this way, but totally rejected the lifestyle.
Eve and Roarke, after a whirlwind courtship. Also, the Miras, the Feeneys, Mavis and Leonardo, and the Whitneys. Despite the books' subject matter, it's actually rather common among the first- and second-tier characters. More than, say, any of the Law & Order series.
Roberts/Robb likes this trope. A lot. Especially paired with whirlwind romances. To the point that it counts as a subversion with Peabody and McNab when their relationship takes a while to build up and isn't smooth sailing in the least.
There is Morris and Coltraine, who were developing a relationship across several books ... until Coltraine was murdered in Promises in Death.
Hero of Another Story - The other Homicide detectives, particularly Baxter and Trueheart, close their own cases and report to Eve throughout the series. This is even lampshaded in the narration, which describes them as "the leads in a buddy movie."
Played with. The killer in one novel murdered a foster mother who abused both her and Eve, and told Eve that they were similar enough to have done the same. Eve says no, she wouldn't.
Most of the time, Eve has to speak to Roarke about this to stop him doing something he'll regret.
Actually it's more often her stopping him from doing something she'll regret. Roarke, to judge by past example, seems like he'd be perfectly fine with it, but he respects that there are lines it would make Eve unhappy for him to cross.
Generally portrayed more positively than is usual for crime-and-punishment fiction, but Eve (and everyone else) still has the usual prejudice against them.
Eve seems to think that regular cops should catch dirty cops (how she considers this particularly different than the "rat squad" is unclear). Of course, in the process of catching dirty cops, Eve tends to break departmental regulations and full-blown laws like they were bubbles on bubble wrap.
Interservice Rivalry: Oh, man, is this trope played straight to a T or what? The New York Police Department and the Internal Affairs Bureau tend to butt heads a lot in this series. The New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have some major hostilities between them. The FBI is mostly portrayed as stuck-up, arrogant, and above the dirty and grimy streets. The New York Police Department and the Homeland Security Organization develop some major hostilities between them. Oddly, the HSO is portrayed like the Central Intelligence Agency - dark, shadowy, powerful, has no conscience, and will break laws and regulations to the point of crossing one too many lines. The CIA is nowhere to be found in this series - whatever happened to it?
One book has the Transit Police trying to grab glory in the attempt to capture a fleeing suspect. The supervisor tries to wrest command of the team from Eve, and then a trigger-happy transit cop shoots Trueheart and causes him (and the suspect) to be badly injured. The transit cops (rightly) have some strips of hide taken off by their commander.
In the Blood - Eve and Roarke sure hope not. Whether or not this is true is a major theme in the books.
It's Personal - Much of Treachery in Death. The Corrupt Cops, particularly their ringleader Renee Oberman, were one for Eve, as she defines so much of herself by the work. However, she wouldn't have known about that if Peabody hadn't accidentally witnessed a conversation about their crimes. Scaring Peabody half to death made it even more personal. By the end, she's basically trying to dig the deepest possible hole and toss Oberman into it.
Ditto in Purity in Death. The bad guys manage to, in quick sucession, hurt Trueheart and force him to make his first kill, seriously injure Mc Nabb, endanger and hurt Feeney, and get Peabody stabbed. Oh yeah, and execute a cop. Eve alternates between crying and a blind rage.
Last Name Basis: Feeney, Peabody, McNab, Summerset. Common for cops and other law enforcement personnel in general. Roarke takes it to the extreme; presumably he had a given name at one point, but he refuses to claim it now.
Like a Daughter to Me: In Conspiracy in Death Mira compares her feelings to Eve to the ones she has for her children.
Mugging the Monster: Eve's abusive former foster mother discovers that Eve has married into the Fiction500 and tries to blackmail Roarke. Roarke is not having it, already has six killings under his belt, and is very protective of Eve. He terrifies the woman into retreat. She dies, but he didn't do it.
Nature Versus Nurture - Eve and Roarke are doing their best to overcome genes and upbringing. It's revealed that Roarke, at least, has half a decent set of genes.
Never Forgotten Skill: Roarke was quite the accomplished pickpocket and thief in general in his youth. He still is, actually, and he'll never forget his skills at stealing as long as he lives.
Nice Character, Mean Actor: In Celebrity in Death, the actress who plays Peabody in the Icove movie turns out to be a vindictive, obsessively jealous bitch who tries to intimidate, blackmail, and/or stalk various coworkers and associates.
Non-Idle Rich - Louise Dimatto, Roarke (on occasion), and Eve (after marrying Roarke).
Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon - in Witness in Death. Subverted; the person who switched the prop out for a real knife was the actress who used it to stab the victim during the play, and knew all along what she was doing.
Not With Them For The Money: Eve's relationship with Roarke occurs in spite of his obscene wealth rather than because of it. She is horrified when he presents her with an enormous diamond as a souvenir from a trip to Australia, and after their marriage she not only refuses to think of his assets as hers, she gets mad at him when she realizes he's been putting funds into an account in her name and demands that he take it back.
Her standard responses are that she actually married him for the coffee or sex.
Powers via Possession: In Possession in Death, Eve get possessed by an old gyspy's ghost and seems to gain a few powers, of sorts. She can read Russian and Romanian, and see dead people. When the spirit leaves, she offers to give Eve her gift of seeing the dead, but is turned down.
Some of the later books seem to have begun wandering into this area. The idea that justice may be more important than the law isn't too bad itself... but Eve always seems to be the judge of what's justice. Past book thirty or so, she goes from bending the law when it's absolutely necessary to breaking it at will. If she weren't generally presented as unfailingly right, it would almost look like a case of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
Oh...let's be honest. This trope has been present since the very first book of this series. For Eve, Roarke is this trope. Vengeance in Death had Eve finding out about some very serious crimes, however justified, committed by her husband. She had to choose between the law or her husband. Take a wild guess on which one she picked. Then there was Creation in Death, which had Eve finding out from the killer that he prepared documents a long time ago that will legally allow him to commit suicide. She has Roarke erase the documents, and states quite clearly to him that she is crossing the line. Of course, the book demonstrated that the killer was a Complete Monster, so Eve's actions could be considered a Crowning Moment Of Awesome and not a Moral Event Horizon. If it is any consolation, Eve discusses her actions with Roarke in Salvation in Death.
Psychic Powers - Some have been proven scientifically by the time of the series, and possessors thereof are registered with the state. Peabody's brother Zeke has them, and they form a part of Visions in Death's plot.
Real Women Don't Wear Dresses - In-Universe. Dallas is torn between her disdain and admiration for more traditionally feminine, girly women. She isn't particularly fond of Peabody's growing tendency to dress in a more girly, relaxed manner, rather than an intimidating, cop-like style. The book itself doesn't really take Dallas' side, though.
Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? - A number of Eve's more sensational cases get brought up throughout the series, but the Icove case is the most popular. In the novels that follow Origin in Death, the story gets turned into a bestselling book in-universe, and then into a movie.
Eve's ongoing feud with all sorts of mechanical and/or electronic systems. For example, the drink machine at Eve's precinct which seems to hate her as much she hates it. It's practically Once a Novel that she orders someone else to get her a tube of Pepsi from the thing.
Eve forgetting her gloves.
Sailor's Ponytail: Roarke in the In Death series has longish hair which he normally wears loose, but when sitting down to do some intensive technical work he pulls it back in a stubby ponytail which the narration, via Eve's point of view, describes as making him look vaguely piratical
The essence of Eve and Roarke's whole relationship even after they get married.
Sole Survivor - Poor little Nixie Swisher witnesses the slaughter of her whole family at the tender age of nine. (Survivor in Death)
Strange Minds Think Alike: In Witness in Death, Eve answers the assertion that Roarke would jump in front of a maxibus for her by saying, "They don't go very fast." Later in the book she asks Roarke, who was not present for the original conversation, if he would jump in front of a maxibus for her. His reply is, "Absolutely. They don't go very fast."
Strawman Political - In the first book at the very least, the parties have discarded their former names and are now just the Conservatives, Moderates, and so on. The Conservatives are evil and corrupt to a man, depicted as snarling tyrants obsessed with destroying contraception because they hate women being able to control their reproductive faculties. And of course, the Conservative Senator who wants to make prostitution illegal and gun ownership legal is a slobbering, incestuous child-raper.
Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Both Eve and Roarke turn out to have murder in their backstories. As a child, Eve stabbed her father to death in self-defense when he raped and beat her. Roarke, meanwhile, turns out in Vengeance in Death to have gone on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and killed several men involved in the rape, torture, and death of Summerset's daughter Marlena.
Therapy Is For The Weak - Eve isn't very receptive to Mira at first, but she comes around, and even sees psychology as a valuable tool.
There Are No Psychologists - Averted. Charlotte Mira serves both as Eve's confidante and case consultant/The Profiler. Eve has also been known to recommend Dr. Mira to others who've gone through especially traumatic experiences, and Nadine is revealed to have some sessions with her as well.
They Fight Crime - A multi-millionare ex-criminal and a cop team up together to solve crimes.
To the Pain - Roarke explains to a shadow of Eve's past that he'd like nothing more than to peel the skin from her bones. One thin layer at a time.
Type Four. Webster is in love with Eve who is married to Roarke. Roarke is aware of Webster's infatuations, resulting in the two men fighting each other briefly. Afterwards, they come to an understanding: Webster is in love with Eve, and Roarke doesn't mind as long as Webster doesn't try anything on her, and remembers she is his wife.
In Treachery in Death, Webster recently started a relationship with Darcia Angelo and it seems pretty serious. So he's moving on and things are finally resolving.
Vengeful Vending Machine: Eve Dallas hates vending machines, and the feeling seems to be mutual. They tend to malfunction whenever she attempts to use one. It's so bad that she habitually has someone else put her money in for her and press the button whenever she wants to buy something from one.
Villain by Default - There's plenty of those, with drug dealers, pedophiles, defense attorneys, and others.
Walking Techbane - Machines tend to misbehave around Eve, maybe because she beats them half to death when they aren't cooperating.
What Measure Is a Non-Human? - Droids are a bit of a muddy area, here. While no one outright says they're sentient, and it's mostly implied that they're just well-programmed to emulate some emotional responses, they do display traits like fear and self-preservation... usually when Eve threatens to have them taken apart or destroyed for not being as cooperative as she'd like.
"Isn't it funny how no one likes a dirty cop, but nobody wants to hang out with the guys that catch them?" Eve promptly ignores this utterly apt and pointed observation from her former friend and continues to refer to Internal Affairs as the "rat squad".
Eve has a severe fear of heights. Only her iron discipline keeps her from externalizing her strong internal reaction. She also has a fear of cows, but it's not as violent. Both of these are symptomatic of a general case of semi-agoraphobia, derived from living in large cities her entire (remembered) life.
Both shrink as to nothing compared to her fear and loathing of anything even vaguely resembling a hospital. In fact, no matter how injured or fatigued she is the only way to get her to submit to treatment is if she's unconscious and/or physically restrained. It verges on the masochistic.
World War III - The Urban Wars, a period of very violent worldwide civil unrest. Roarke mentions that it ran longer in Ireland than most places.