This week Henri talks about J. D. Robb from a man's point of view.
Nora Roberts apparently wrote this series as J D Robb for some reason not associated with the qualities of her writing or her audience's perceptions. After all, with more than 150 novels and 250 million books sold she hardly needs to do anything to improve her success but simply keep writing.
Her books use a formula and a model that works for her basic audience and stands behind her success as a writer. But her insight and depth as a writer is not as limited as that analysis implies. I like her characters. Even her villains are consistent with the social and moral models she portrays in her work. I am always looking for another author to fill my insatiable need for books to read. Imagine my surprise when I tried one of her books and got hooked on the "In Death" novels.
Now I am commonly disposed to dismiss as Chick lit or even Chick lite any books that suffer from the appellation Romance Novel. Of course I read so much socially unredeeming and unredeemed Sci Fi and Mystery fiction that I am hardly a paragon of the literate reader of myth and legend. So I finally picked up one of the series in question here and viola I was absolutely compelled to keep reading until I finished the series.
I am virtually certain that if I took a look at the Internet a whole brigade of fans of J. D. Robb would appear. Before I started reading this series I would never have guessed that I would actually like these books. So much for machismo and the art of creating entertaining characters.
Nora Roberts' main character in these books is a woman detective with more angst and controlled violence in her little finger than most male detectives ever experience. The psychological foundations of the character are well built on a fantasy of abuse and mistreatment generating a need for certainty, right and the law to reign triumphant. I have yet to see that happen in the real world but it makes for a compelling character.
Obviously I like books where the good guys win, but not without a great deal of effort and some real challenges to overcome. Eve Dallas, the main character in this series has a fine set of villains to overcome and a great cast of people around her that make it all possible. Even if the sex scenes are a bit too intense for most of us more sensitive men; even if the ideas behind the curtain tend toward the romantic rather than the masculine, these books are actually fun to read.