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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 and Order Special Victims Unit IN 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).

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 complete monsters Eve chases)
  • Abusive Parents - Both main characters.
    • Apart from 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.)
  • And This Is For - Eve has one after the fact, with the knockout being for the victim.
  • Anti-Hero: Eve is Type III, Roarke Type IV
  • 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 the victim was such a Complete Monster that she couldn't feel sorry for him, nor truly condemn his murderer. Her previous attitude is lighter to absent later on, when confronted with such victims.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses - Eve and Roarke on at least two occasions.
  • Badass Grandpa - Pretty much everyone who actually participated on some level in the Urban Wars Took a Level In Badass. Some of them took more than one level and retained it better.
  • Bad Dreams / Catapult Nightmare - Eve. Certain things will make her lapse into flashback when awake. Often dragged out of them by Roarke.
  • Battle Butler - Summerset is normally quite reserved, but has been shown to kick a little ass. Especially in Flash Back.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button - 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.

 Detective Jacobson: Drop the fucking weapon, you fucking motherfucker or I'll fucking scramble your brains. Hands up! Hands up where I can fucking see them, you fucking cocksucker. You fucking breathe wrong, you fucking blink wrong, and I will fuck you up.

Eve: That was some very creative and varied use of the word fuck, Detective.

Jacobson: Fucker. On your fucking face, you fucking shit coward. Stream my Leutenant in the fucking back? Fuck you!

    • He then proceeds break one of the man's fingers.
    • Like most examples of this Trope, if you hurt, injure or kill another cop, no matter who you are, the NYPSD will drop everything to hunt you down.
    • Police corruption for Eve.
    • No matter how injured she is, even when a case is over Eve will still fight to avoid going to a hospital.
  • Best Served Cold - Prior to the series, Roarke meticulously planned and executed 7 murders across the globe, over the course of a decade. The men earned it.
  • 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.
  • Bland-Name Product - 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.
  • By-The-Book Cop/Cowboy Cop: 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - 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.
  • 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.
  • Dead Little Sister - Summerset's daughter, Marlena, fills this role for Roarke.
    • Crack's sister dies in a later novel, giving him a huge Heroic BSOD.
  • Death Glare - Most of the older characters have one, but the prize has to go to Roarke, as seeing it was described as "[looking] into the face of murder."
    • Bonus Points for actually being willing and capable of the act, but usually doesn't because there is either no point, or more common, it would upset Eve.
  • Determinator - Plenty of them, but especially Eve. She will run herself until forced to stop and rest, generally by fellow determinator Roarke.
  • The Ditz: Mavis
  • The Dreaded - The departmental grapevine is apparently "more scared of [Eve] than Oberman". Eve's response:

  I like fear. It's versatile.

  • Dye Hard - Mavis has a different hair color every time she appears, even within a single novel. There's no indication in any of the novels as to what her actual natural hair color is.
  • The Empath - Peabody's father and brother are this, and the former theorizes that Eve might be too.
  • Engineered Public Confession - Eve pulls this off at the end of Purity in Death.
  • 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' 1992 novella Entranced.
  • Fair Cop: Trueheart is a rare male example. Even Eve mentally describes him as "hunky".
  • A Father to His Men: Dallas is a Gender Flipped Example; although she's a Jerkass and rarely emotional, or maternal, she does feel protective about them. It's reciprocated in kind.

 Peabody: You've got one of the crappiest offices in Central. It makes us proud.

Dallas: Seriously?

Peabody: You don't care about the fancy, you care about the job. And your men. Everybody knows it.

  • Fiction 500 - 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."
  • Fun Personified/Genki Girl - Mavis.
  • Future Slang: Drugs are chems, sedatives are soothers, painkillers are blockers and sneakers are skids, just to name a few.
  • Gentle Giant - Leonardo.
  • 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.
  • Hair Colors - Mavis and Trina, self-induced.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper - Eve is pretty much an irritable dick to everyone around her. All the time. Even when she's in a good mood.
    • Yep, she can be put with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor House.
  • Happily Married - 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 and 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 McNabb 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."
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl - Leonardo ("built like a redwood") and Mavis ("pixielike").
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - All the titles follow the style <Word> in Death.
    • Averted by New York to Dallas.
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him - 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.
  • Internal Affairs - 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.
    • Let the record show that Eve does angst over the laws and regulations that she breaks.
  • 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?
  • 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 did the deepest possible hole and toss Oberman into it.
  • Jerkass Facade: In Dallas' case more like Jerkass Wall Of China.
  • The Ladette: Guess.
  • 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.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Dallas's surname comes from where she was found.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot - Several instances.
  • Morality Chain - Eve to Roarke, stopping him killing quite a few people and the reason he gave up the criminal side of his enterprises. God only knows what would happen if she ever died.
  • Must Have Caffeine - Eve
  • 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 harriden 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).
  • No Social Skills - Eve
  • 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.
  • Only One Name - Roarke. Nora Roberts has stated that she will not reveal his given name.
  • Percussive Maintenance - Eve's standard method of dealing with any and all technology.
  • Politeness Judo - Roarke is an nth degree black belt in it.
  • Precision C Strike - The only time Eve uses the word in the entire series kicks off a particularly vicious stream of invective.
  • Print Long Runners - 29 titles plus.
  • 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.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot - There are "droids", both human and animal, but close observation can make them as not real.
  • Ripped from the Headlines - The science gone bad stories often feature concepts that are theoretical now.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge - The motive of at least one villain. Roarke also had one prior to the series.
  • Running Gag - The candy thief, who is probably just waiting to become a Chekhov's Gunman.
    • 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.
  • Scary Black Man - Chief Tibble and Crack.
  • Self-Made Orphan - Eve. Justified like you wouldn't believe, though.
  • Serial Killer - Several, but particularly The Groom.
  • Sidekick - Delia Peabody to Eve; Troy Trueheart to Baxter.
  • Slap Slap Kiss - Peabody and McNab.
    • 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)
  • 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.
  • Taking the Nerve Disruptor - Eve does this for Summerset, her continuing low-level antagonist.
    • Roarke gets saved from a stab wound in the same manner by Mick Connelly, leading to one of the tearjerkers in the series.
  • There Are No Psychologists - Averted. Charlotte Mira serves both as Eve's confidante and case consultant/TheProfiler. 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.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl - Dallas and Peabody. One's the hard-charging Badass cop, the other tries to be. But their reactions to Trina the stylist (Dallas: Dear God no!, Peabody: Let me at it!) really bring it home.
    • Also Dallas and Mavis. And Dallas and Dr. Mira. Really, any other female character in the series is girly compared to Eve.
      • Most of the men are girly compared to Eve, sometimes Roarke will know more about feminine matters than Eve herself. Which isn't hard, to tell the truth.
  • Tranquil Fury - Roarke is the champion of this trope within the series; Eve is actually more scared when he gets like this than when his anger shows in his actions.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia - Eve, who had forgotten most of her Dark and Troubled Past at the start of the series.
  • Triang Relations - 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.
  • Turn in Your Badge - Leads to a major Heroic BSOD for Eve and pisses off Roarke
  • 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.
  • Western Terrorists - Doomsday (a cyber-terrorist group) and Cassandra, the latter in turn being an offshoot of the pre-series Western Terrorists Apollo.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? - When Crack returns from his Walking the Earth stint, Eve asks him to help her with some undercover work. His attempts and the results of such are never mentioned.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero? - "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".
    • Maybe Eve does not want to look like she is sympathizing with Interal Affairs Bureau to the other cops.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? - 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 unconcious 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.
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