One of the reasons J.D. Robb’s mystery series has continued so long, so successfully, is that it has ongoing romantic elements. There’s the main couple, futuristic police detective Eve Dallas and her financier husband Roarke, but there is also a host of secondary characters.
In the first novel, Naked in Death, Eve and Roarke meet and, eventually, become a couple. Their romance leading to marriage continues for several books, but once they’re married, their romantic relationship…well, doesn’t take a back seat, exactly. Each book offers good dialogue between the couple, some new twist on or problem with their relationship that must be dealt with, and a couple of sex scenes that relate to their current issues. Sometimes, their relationship is tied closely in with the mystery plot. Other times, it’s less so.
Since I tend to read this series two and three novels at a time, I found that I began to skim over the sex scenes, despite the fact that Robb (Nora Roberts) introduces new elements and settings. But I continue to be intrigued by the developing romances and relationships among the main couple’s colleagues and friends. New couples get a little more attention; more important characters get more “screen time” and often more relationship issues.
For example, Dallas’ police partner Peabody, a major character, keeps Dallas informed of the state of her relationship with her lover through dialogue, and in the course of the series has overcome various issues in that relationship.
The various relationships in the books are intertwined with the mystery plots; the romantic interests reappear as witnesses, suspects, victims. Different sorts of relationships are presented: the young couple, the old married couple with grown children, the high-powered couple (there are several of those), etc..
This technique of holding the reader’s interest is particularly effective, I think, because some of the secondary characters are around for quite a long time before entering into a romance. For example, it’s some time before the psychiatrist Mira’s husband is introduced. Immediately, that adds both interest to both Mira’s character and to Dallas’, because she can be seen in a different light.
Me, I’m waiting for Summerset to find the love of his life.