Lately I’ve been wondering if I should give up on the “In Death” series. Thirty-six books plus novellas in, they’re still decent reads, with suspense, and humor, and characters I’ve grown fond of. But I’m also racking up a list of annoyances.
– Eve is always right. Not that she doesn’t make mistakes, but she’s an unbeatable, unfoolable judge of character. This leaves very little room for real mystery of the “whodunnit” variety. There’s no point in suspecting someone Eve doesn’t suspect.
– Only Eve and Roarke are allowed to have conflict. It’s great that they do have conflict, and that their relationship continues to evolve. But all other relationships in their sphere are eternally roses and sunshine. Love happens at first sight and with complete understanding. Parenthood is nothing but smiles and burbles. Perhaps the intent is to increase the comfort level of the book, when so much that happens in them — murder, rape, torture — is upsetting to think about. But part of Eve’s journey is learning how to have people in her life, how to be a good friend. How can she fully achieve this when none of the demands of friendship are ever made upon her, when she never has to provide a shoulder to cry on or a couch for the night? And really… the secondary characters are just getting dull.
– The worldbuilding is inconsistent. This is perhaps an inevitable result of writing a futuristic series for almost twenty years. Technology catches up, or goes in a different direction. What something futuristic — a ‘link, an autochef — meant at the beginning of the series now means something else. I tried my geek husband on the series and he liked it enough to read more than one, but as a science fiction reader, he just couldn’t take it for long.
I’ve seen people argue that the series has gone on long enough and should just stop. I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but I think it would be great if it would slow down. If Robb didn’t write so many books, so fast. If she took time to give some thought to what could happen to the characters besides another crime to solve, to what real life holds for most people, to what the future might be like aside from her original vision. For now, what we’re getting is In Dearth.