Creation in Death, published by GP Putnam in November 2007, is the 25th book in the futuristic police procedural series about a Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the New York Police and Security Department. What started in 1995 as a three-book experiment by a then unknown author named J.D. Robb is now a series that keeps readers waiting with bated breath for each installment.
More than a decade ago it wasn’t public knowledge that the genius behind J.D. Robb was best-selling author Nora Roberts, but readers were immediately taken with Eve Dallas’ integrity, strength and heart and her burgeoning relationship with the mysterious Roarke.
The Gothic Journal hailed Robb’s work as “a unique blend of hard-core police drama, science fiction and passionate romance” while The Paperback Forum called it “a fantastic new detective series.”
Since then, 18 of the 25 J.D. Robb titles have landed on the New York Times Bestseller List. And Innocent in Death, the February 2007 release, hit the bestseller list in the number 1 spot.
J.D. Robb was a product of numbers: by 1995, there was a surplus of Nora Roberts’ titles to be released by her publishers and she continued to create more. Reluctant to publish romantic suspense books similar to what she was already writing under a pseudonym, Nora had been playing with the idea of a strong, idealistic woman on the NY police force in the future. J.D. Robb was born. The initials were taken from Ms. Roberts’ sons, Jason and Dan, while Robb was a shortened form of Roberts.
She wrote a three-book arc that had Eve Dallas solving three different murders, but winding its way through all three was the continuing thread of her relationship with the mysterious billionaire Roarke that started in the first book when he was a suspect in a high-profile case.
Looking back from the vantage point of the release of the 25th book in the series, Nora commented, “I think we saw solid potential with the release of the first book. Enough, at least, for everyone to say: Okay, let's do three more.”
She continued, “For me, the emotional investment clicked during the first draft of the first book. I really fell for the characters, and hoped the readers would respond to them so I could keep writing the series.”
A series with a continuing, and growing, cast of characters gave Nora the chance to explore the people she created and peel the layers off book by book. Eve and Roarke were about to get married at the end of that initial three-book arc and are on their honeymoon as the fourth book opens. This afforded Roberts the chance to explore a marriage through the subsequent 19 books to the delight – and despair of some readers.
Those readers have been vocal about their desire to see the couple have a baby or for Eve to become a captain in the department. A baby, explains Nora Roberts would change the way Eve does her job – which is physical and emotional to the point of exhaustion. The answer to that frequently asked question is that a baby would mean the end of the series. As for a captaincy, it’s always possible.
Besides the exploration of the marital state, the cast of characters has grown as Eve, very much a loner in Naked in Death, has opened up her circle to include a partner, her fellow officers and a domineering butler who came along with Roarke. Again, readers have become addicted to seeing what’s going on in the secondary characters’ lives and when there isn’t enough of a particular favorite, they love to ask “Why not?”
“It's the story – it’s always about the story,” explained Nora. “It's gratifying when readers fall for secondary characters and want more. Sometimes there is more--and sometimes there just isn't. If a character has a recurring role, then he or she will pop up--as a cameo or in a more active role--when the story calls for it.”
It wasn’t until the 12th book in the series, Betrayal in Death, that the publisher fully acknowledged that J.D. Robb is indeed Nora Roberts. In the fall of 2003, the two parts of the Nora Roberts whole joined together to write Remember When. The first half was a Roberts’ romantic suspense set in the present, the second half was a Robb In Death that saw Eve picking up a thread that relates to the first part of the book.
Each In Death book now carries the banner: Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb. What started as an experiment is now firmly a part of the Nora Roberts phenomenon.