Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49) Vendetta in Death discussion


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Roarke

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Monica I have a question for diehard fans like I used to be.

When I first started reading this series, I saw Roarke's behavior toward Eve as sexy, most especially when she gave as good as she got. I also have to admit to ignoring the especially problematic moments (problematic moments specifically meaning his drugging her in Immortal and Holiday, undermining her authority in Judgment and Reunion, and deciding when she sleeps and what she eats and wears throughout the entire series) because they were easy to look past because they'd fight about his controlling behavior and eventually come to a compromise.
My question is, does it seem as if his role in the books has been reduced to a paternal one? They used to be partners, but now it seems as if his chief purpose is to control her diet, sleeping habits, clothing choices and, most problematically, remind readers that though she is the cop in the relationship, she is still a female who needs her man with her during early morning and post-shift cop work, "whether[she] likes it or not" (Robb).
I'm asking because the last few books feature a Roarke who is generally respectful of his wife but who regularly treats her like a child.
I'd really like to discuss this with someone, as no one really seems to be addressing this particular aspect of the books.


Best,

Monica


message 2: by Fin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Fin That's a really interesting take and I don't think you're wrong. For me, it's hard to discuss Roarke in a vacuum because I think something similar is happening to all of the characters. But specifically to Roarke, yes, I think he's stopped developing as a character and has essentially taken on the responsibility of parenting Eve. He's also basically become a cop and a member of her team. She just happens to also sleep with him.

But I think the same sort of thing is happening to Peabody. Even as Trueheart seems to be growing as a detective, Peabody is the sympathetic detective who wears pink and remains completely unsure of herself.

Sadly, it's almost like they've become parodies of themselves.

Also, sadly, I don't see where Robb goes with this. I mean, I will read the "In Death" series as long as she writes it, but it needs to evolve and the only way I see that happening is for Eve and Roarke to start a family, or at least to start moving with purpose in that direction. With Eve starting to embrace more of the role she believes she plays as Roarke's wife and coming to understand that she doesn't just have to be a cop.

But Robb has said she will not continue the series past that point, and that's a true tragedy because I think the series would be even better with a little Eve or little Roarke running around and watching how they both navigate their lives with that new addition.


message 3: by Monica (last edited Nov 07, 2019 07:15AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Monica Hi,

This is an overly lengthy response ; read when you get time.
I totally agree with you on all counts.

I’ll also add that nearly all of the colorful and interesting minor characters (Baxter, Mira, Charles, Louise, Mavis, Crack, Feeney, Summerset, Trina, Nadene, and even the brass) are either completely absent or reduced to brief and pointless walk-on parts.
Peabody’s stagnation is a bit heartbreaking, as she is among some of the lovelier characters of the series. I’d also like to see her move out of the whole “I’m fat and ugly” mindset, and not just because her boyfriend finds her attractive.

As for Roarke, his paternal relationship with Eve really grates, not simply because it smacks of sexism, but because it is way too late in the series for Eve not to have figured out how to take care of herself.

That his chief function in the stories is as the paternal figure that eve "needs" does not say promising things about the direction of the series.

I’m going to assume that Rob/Roberts is so used to writing masculinity in one way (dominant, overprotective, and willing to do what they decide is what’s best for women whether they like it or not) that to do otherwise is to go too far out of her element. Doing otherwise would also involve rounding out his character and, though I hate to say it, writing with a passion for the series.

Robb has been writing these books for over 20 years and might be burned out; this would explain the lack of a narrative ark, the recycled tropes and themes, and the general flatness of the characters.

As for roarke being just another member of the team, You are absolutely right.
Lots of fans think Eve takes advantage, but I would argue that hee brings that on himself. He gets overprotective and often inserts himself into police business (See Judgment and Reunion). Robb plays fast and loose with police procedure (there’s creative license and there’s inversion, even if you take into account the setting) so that his presence at and involvement in major takedowns is sanctioned

He’s trained his wife not to “argue” when he decides he’s going to escort her to crime scenes and in-home questionings because too late at night or too early in the morning.

Again, I’m going to put this down to Robb needing to emphasize the differences between their sexes (he will protect his woman, even if she’s been trained to protect herself) and to reassure a certain portion of her audience that eve, for all her street smarts, training, and cop-instinct, is “female” and thus needs her man.

Like you, I also frown on the notion of a baby for Eve and Roarke as a series ender. The implication that Eve can’t be a mother and a cop bugs me, as does the lost potential for some serious plots.

I think Robb could do some interesting things with that storyline; an underground organization is murdering nannies and absconding with the children of wealthy and prominent people.

What if Mavis’s nanny takes little Bella Eve and Siobhan Charlotte Mavis to the park, only to be stunned to death by a droid and relieved of her two charges? We’d have a murder mystery and a “race against time” story all rolled into one.
As for her role as Roarke’s wife, I've also heard fans complaining that Eve is a failure at it. I think she’s doing a fine job. She isn’t your average “girl,” and she isn’t really a people person, but she regularly subjects herself to beauty treatments so that she looks pretty in her revealing evening dresses and glittery sky scrapers at parties where she must share space and make conversation with vapid socialites and other white collar folks who make her itch. If she decided to retire early (it would have to be early retirement, unless the medical technology is such that women can become pregnant in later years) to pop out heirs, lunch, shop, and serve as hostess and arm-candy for her billionaire husband, I’d assume she was replaced with a droid.
More importantly, Eve’s being late for a dinner party can’t be helped, just as Roarke’s needing to leave town for a business trip can’t be helped. They both work demanding, high stakes jobs that mean sacrifice. It’s just lucky that Roarke, being the boss, has more room to blow off his work than Eve does.

All in all, I’ll continue looking forward to and reading installments as they come out, but not with the enthusiasm that I once did.


Best,

Monica


Monica This is very long. I try to keep these brief, but this topic inspires venting and I can’t help it. 😊


Ho Boy; the superfans (this especially includes those who love 50 shades, Twilight, and other books featuring controlling and abusive “hotties”)would blow gaskets all over the world! Roarke’s death would definitely take the series in an interesting direction. We'd see Eve struggling with the grief and dealing with the financial/business aspects of the aftermath.

The murder investigation would be epic.

I also agree that Eve would have to rediscover the parts of her that were sacrificed in the name of "good" wifehood, mainly the autonomous, independent cop who trusts in her ability to take care of herself, the sensible woman who gladly eschews the "girly" in favor of the practical, and the adult who selects her own clothing, chooses her own meals, determines her own sleeping and eating schedules, and ingests medication when she thinks it necessary,.

Still, I'd rather see Eve divorce his ass (I think she should have done this when he raped her in Judgment, if you ask me) and have him work to win her back.

I'm not talking a one book separation, either; Eve and Roarke should really come to terms with the dynamics of their relationship and think critically about his paternal behavior.

I can totally see Roarke undermining her authority during the dangerous bits of an op and getting another cop killed. Say one of the detectives is in trouble and Eve has to risk her life to save him or her. Roarke decides to physically restrain his wife, effectively sacrificing this detective’s life in order to protect “his” woman.

There is everything to suggest that this could happen, and the fallout would be delicious in a “I told you he was an asshole” kind of way.

The time apart would give Eve the opportunity to rediscover those aforementioned sacrificed parts of herself.

Honestly, and you can take the armchair psycho-babble for what it’s worth here, I think Eve puts up with the control because of the abuse and abandonment she suffered as a child. She isn't having the nightmares anymore, and she's mostly forgiven herself for what she had to do to her "father," but her constant concessions to her husband’s authority don't gel with the tough person she's supposed to have become.
Do you think she's learning to be obedient because she was trained to do so? My other question is, even though she appeared to get past Stella's rejection of her, might she be doing things that make her uncomfortable in order to keep Roarke happy so he won't walk away? Might she be trying to hold on to the father she should have had when she was a little girl (well, minus the sex, of course)?


Monica I'm also tired of Robb pretending like Eve is the only one who needs help dealing with a dark past. I know Eve is the protagonist, but this idea that Eve is more damaged than Roarke because she’s female is problematic, not simply because it wreaks of biologically essentialism but because it makes Roarke a Gary Stew who can walk through emotional/psychological fire with everything intact.

The measures he takes in the name of “love” and “care” are creepy, full stop. They’re indicative of some serious control issues. I’m willing to bet he’s got all kinds of trackers on her. The drugging thing was always creepy, and she's done it to him, so that almost, almost cancels out, but everything else, most especially the sex (both of the consensual and the nonconsensual variety), reads like Roarke needing to control "his" woman the way he controls his employees and businesses.

He had zero control under his father’s “boot,” but he’ll damn well have it now, even, and especially, over “his “woman.

Would he really have “[dragged” her back to where she belonged” (Robb) if she’d left him in Innocent in Death?

Would he divorce or kill her if he caught her cheating?

What if she just didn’t want to be married anymore? Would he lock her in a holoroom until she changed her mind?

He’s got more of his father in him than either he or Eve are willing to admit, and I sometimes worry that that could be dangerous for Eve.

Certainly, nothing like this will ever be explicitly explored in the books, but for me, investing in a romance is difficult if the answer to the question “is he/he a threat to him/her” isn’t proved, via characterization, deliberate implications, or plot progression, to be an unequivocal no.


Monica Yup.

I have no doubt that he'd go all ruthless stalker in a way that would have Summersett trying to talk him down if Eve even thought about leaving.

He'd make an excellent villain, now that I think about it.

As for Eve, all of the fight seems to have gone out of her.

The best moments, for me, have been the fights. Now that she has been trained, there is no disagreement. He makes a rule and she follows it.

He's not above getting physical with her when he's angry. If I remember correctly, he jerks her up by her shirt in Creation when she takes a job related risk without asking permission first.
I'm guessing she obeys because she doesn't want to push him to that point again.
That, taken with the rape in Judgment, makes me seriously question her safety in that marriage.

Add to that the weirdness of having your overprotective husband on the scene while you do your job, and the implications of looking like a weak and helpless female in front of your team and other officers, and you've got your garden variety, declawed heroine of a flagging, arcless series.

Sigh.


Monica LOL!
Can you imagine the outrage! They'd be burning piles of those books in the streets!
I'm willing to bet that at least half of them, gooey eyed uber fans that they are, are reading for Roarke rather than Eve.

What does it say about me that I'd enjoy watching said outrage?

Roarke dying would definitely remind people that these books are, first and foremost, Eve Dallas mysteries.
I loved Roarke when he was the handsome geek who stayed in his lane unless called upon to get involved in the cop stuff; remember when he loved to just "watch her work" (Robb) rather than control or protect her from it?

I loved seeing Eve and Roarke work through the moral and socioeconomic differences between them.
Somewhere, that all got lost in a sea of old-fashioned, caveman romance tropes and antifeminist pushback.


Monica Cindy wrote: "*LOL* I'd have to leave the country for suggesting it. *LOL* I would like him so much better if he just got involved when she asked for him and was not so controlling and borderline abusive."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j98jY...
Uh oh, better watch out! The superfans gonna gecha!

My thoughts exactly about the abuse and control thing. I can promise you that if anyone, be it my spouse, siblings, parents, or friends, decided they nnew what was best for me and were going to accompany me to work, we'd have a problem.

If any one of them drugged my food/drink, I'd be calling the cops.

If my jealous, possessive, and angry spouce decided he was going to have sex with me, whether I wanted it or not, one of us wouldn't survive the act, most especially if he's pissed because I stopped him from killing another cop.

Hell, if he disrespected my role as a cop and undertook to beat another cop to death as I watched, someone really might not survive.

That relationship is all kinds of wrong, and that doesn't bode well for the series overall.


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