Trust Me

Desperation In Death comes out shortly. As always, I enjoyed spending time ( a lot on this side of the page!) in that world, with the characters who inhabit it. And hope you will, too.

Whenever we announce a new In Death, there’s excitement and speculation. There’s also—inevitably—a continuing complaint from some readers.

It goes something like this:

The last book (or books) disappointed me/ wasn’t up to par because —name a favorite reoccurring character or characters —wasn’t in it/them or wasn’t in it/them enough.

It’s difficult to address or explain the reasons for this in a two sentence reply on Facebook, so I decided to address and explain here.

First: Trust me.

If you’re invested and attached to these characters, it’s because I created them. I know them—and yes, gentle reader, even better than you because they came from me.

It’s my job to write the best book I can. To do that, I have to respect and honor the story, and the people in it. It’s simply not possible to craft the best book I can if I try to shoehorn every character—even your personal favorites—into every single book in the series.

When a recurring characters shows up, it’s because it fits the story, the scene, the tone, the purpose. When they don’t show up, they didn’t fit.

It’s my job to craft the story.

Trust me to do my job.

If I wrote thinking: I have to squeeze Mavis into this, and Bella, and Louise and Charles, and Nadine, Feeney, and so on, the story would suffer for it. I’m not going to do that. Not ever.

Let me add an aside. I absolutely love writing scenes with Bella. I find her a joy, and find more joy in seeing Mavis’s evolution as a mom. But the books aren’t about Bella, Mavis and motherhood, or Eve’s often baffled reaction to both.

When they do come in, it’s for a purpose. To further the story, to lighten or darken the mood, to provide information, to interact in a way that makes sense in the storyline.

I’ll add in the In Death world very little time spans between stories—much, much less time than the six months span in which they’re published. How would it make sense for Lt. Eve Dallas to interact with all the recurring characters every few days when she’s pretty busy investigating murders? It just doesn’t.

Connected to the above complaint is: There wasn’t enough Roarke—which I firmly believe a good portion of readers expressing this actually mean: Not enough sex with Roarke. (Hard to blame you!)

But the same reasons apply. I’m not going to shoehorn sex scenes in either. They, like any scene, either flow into the story, for a purpose, or they don’t. Also, Roarke’s pretty busy running his empire, and while I have crafted ways—that make sense to me—to have him on the page, contributing to the investigation, even just as a sounding board—he and Eve have their separate careers and duties to them.

Roarke doesn’t work at Central, or in the field. He’s evolved into a consultant—officially—because it made sense, and opened a way to give him more page time, and added to his understanding of and respect for what Eve does.

There are books in the series where nearly everyone finds a way onto the page—for a purpose. And there are books where hardly anyone outside the main characters show up. Because they don’t fit in that storyline.

Trust me to know when they fit, when they don’t.

Since I’m devoting a blog to this, let me address a couple more questions/hopes.

I have no idea—none at this time—if/when Baxter will enter into a serious relationship. I have no idea—none at this time—if/when Morris will find another love. The purpose of the series is clear in the name. In Death. It’s about a cop investigating murder. Each time, every time. That comes first. The primary purpose is not to hook up every character in a romantic relationship.

The secondary purpose is, absolutely, the connections—emotional connections, the evolution of long-standing characters, and/or the introduction of new ones. But the purpose is not romantic relationships for all. And for me, and I do know them, many of the characters are perfectly content with their lives as they stand.

I had no thought to write Nadine into a serious relationship. Until Apprentice In Death. It flowed out—from the scene where Jake first appeared because it fit, it made sense, and Jake’s character worked. The chemistry worked, a nice surprise for me.

The same thing may happen for one of the other characters in an upcoming book—as yet unwritten—or it may not. Ever.

And yes, Mavis is still pregnant, and will be for several more books. That’s how the timeline of the series works, it’s the way I structured it a couple decades ago. Decades for you and me, about three years for the characters in that world.

Some people may just be tired of the series, find themselves burnt out on it. That happens, and it’s okay. Some cycle through disappointment in a book or a couple in a row because they didn’t get to see their favorite(s) play a part.

I can only say to that: Trust me. They’ll be back when they have something to add to the story.

Again, I hope you enjoy Desperation In Death. And can happily tell you, Mavis, Leonardo and Bella all appear in this one. Because they fit.

Nora

40 thoughts on “Trust Me”

  1. Your stories, your characters, and as a reader, I fell in love with them from book one. Of COURSE I want to see all of these special people in each and every book. Of COURSE I want each one of them to find their happiness in a relationship. But after this many books, I know that if my favorite character or favorite type of scene, etc, isn’t in this book, it may be in the next or the one after that. And no matter who or what is in this one, I know I’ll love it because I have loved and trusted each book before it and never been unhappy at the end…except that it ended in the first place! ❤ ❤

  2. I love, love, love this series. I love the characters, the way they are developed, their relationship to/with each other. Thank you for your integrity in your writing. I count on it.

  3. It love the series and the character arcs, and there are times I miss a certain character I do understand that they wouldn’t fit that particular book. It just makes it nicer when they show up in a later book.
    I would hate it for her character’s arc because she was so traumatized but I would love if we were to somehow get an update on Nixie someday.

  4. It always surprises me that people have the gall to tell an author how the story should go or which characters should be in it. If you love a series of books and the people who inhabit them, it should follow that you can and should trust the author to write them exactly as they should be written.

    I understand that not every story will be to everyone’s taste; that not every character will show up as often as we might like. But we are the audience not the author. And I’m so happy and grateful that Nora is the author of this wonderful series. And that she continues to share her stories and characters with us despite the complaints and “suggestions” that continually crop up.

    Thanks, Nora!

  5. I am looking forward to reading Desperation in Death. Whoever shows up in the book will please me since they will be a part of the story. Like many people, I get impatient for events/people to move along, but I also enjoy wondering and imagining what will happen next. As in real life, we don’t see all our friends and family every day (would probably drive me nuts and leave no time for my ordinary day-to-day tasks), so I understand and will never criticize your choices for who appears in a story. I know they’re still in Eve’s life, and will pop in as needed. I look forward to the birth of Mavis’ baby and how Bella will deal with a sibling, and how they will fit into Eve’s cases and life. Anticipation is a joy, and the In Death series gives me lots of anticipation. I am constantly amaze at how you create new stories and keep the series fresh. You keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  6. I’ve been reading this series since 1998. I was 16 years old when I started. I’m 40 now, and I’m still reading it and waiting for the next book. In all reality, I just pre-order the next one without even reading what it’s actually about. I’ve also gotten my mom reading this, who started a year after me. We both wait for the next one. Of course there are certain books that hit stronger, closer to home, and certain characters, although I love to see them all develop. I always figure if someone or something I want to see isn’t in this one, it may be in the next. I just want to say thank you for sharing you’re writing and mind with us. I’m sorry people try to tell you what to do. I can’t wait for the next one…and the one after.

  7. I trust you with all my heart. Love all the In Death books, some more than others, but there’s not one that I would say that I hated. Even though I love the sex scenes, when I’m reading a book for the second or upteenth time, I tend to skip them to get to the bottom of the story. I don’t generally miss some of the secondary characters so I’m ok if Mavis or Bella or Nadine are not in the story. I would surely miss Roarke or Peabody but that’s about it. Keep up the good work and desperately waiting for Desperation In Death! Bye

  8. Looking forward to the book! I feel bad that you feel the need to explain yourself to your readers. It is ok for a reader to feel what they do for the books…that is why we love them and read them. I am just sorry people feel the need to let you know they know your characters and how they live in your head…or should. Thank you! I fell into the series about 8 years ago on accident….happy accident at that!

  9. I love the In Death series. It doesn’t bother me when certain characters do not make it into the story. I devour the book as soon as I get it from the library and leaves me begging for more. Thank you to Nora,JD and Laura for keeping it real. Can not wait for desperation.

  10. I think that is one of the interesting thing about the books. To see who shows up and why! I enjoy the way Dallas figures it out and the different ways she plans and works things to the end. Love all the characters of course but always can’t wait to see who will be there for the ride. Works for me. Over 50 books later and still coming back for more. Chill and just enjoy!!

  11. I completely trust you, Nora, I have from the very start. An indie bookseller suggested Naked to me which I read overnight. I came back the next day and cleared out all the In Deaths she had. I read them in order and f a book was missing from the stash, I ordered it and inhaled another novel from my TBR stack while waiting. I don’t skip to the back, either, what is the point of doing that? It’s the journey that counts. The wondering what or who I’ll see in this next book. Having every one in every book would be boring for everyone, I’d think, including you. You’ve created a complex and complicated world that is fascinating and sometimes downright scary, and I’d never miss a word of it. Count me among the ones who trust you to do it, you’ve never failed. Also, welcome home from all your travels. I really enjoyed your travel log and was thankful you got home before that part of the world also caught fire. Stay safe.

  12. Thank you so much for saying ‘it’s ok’ to choose certain books. I love the mystery & current-time novels you write yearly, but haven’t gotten into the In Death or the Magic stories. Was wondering how authors would feel about readers who only enjoy portions of their collection. I so look forward to rereading (or Re-listening to audiobooks) of some of them & look forward to your next one!

  13. I write in different areas of fiction, because I enjoy it, and have interest. Not all readers have the same interest—so why not read what you like? No obligation whatsoever to read all books written by any author.

    1. Totally agree with you Ms. Nora. People have a choice to read or not to read, to choose a book or to avoid it. I have read many books by other authors that I did not find appealing, but I am glad I read them. Negative comments are not my forte, but I do provide positive feedback when asked and if I have something unpleasant to say about a book, I try to say it with respect, professionalism, and class. Writing a book or novel is not an easy task and I admire those whose mind are so creative and can write stories that make one laugh, cry, and go to a place that may or may not be comfortable. Your books have not disappointed me in any way, so keep writing them your way because I will always be a fan and have been for many, many years!

  14. Nora, I prefer your earlier trilogies. I don’t read your Death books and the last three magical series just aren’t working for me. So what.? YOU are the author, and I do not have to love everything you do, think, wear, say, or write. It doesn’t work that way!

    I am SOOOOOOOSOSOSOSO grateful for your earlier series, which I faithfully re-read every 9-12 months(i read 2-3 books a week). If your writing evolves into more of the kind I like, I will be thrilled. If it evolves to something else that doesn’t resonate for me, I will still have the books I love.

    You do what inspires you. You already bring me constant joy.

  15. I absolutely love this series!! I’ve reread the books multiple times and never tire from doing so. While there are a couple books I don’t go back and read, too dark for me, personally, I would NEVER be presumptuous and tell Nora how or what to write!! Why would that though occur to anyone??? I’m just thankful for prolific authors, like Nora, who continue to produce these gems for us readers. Can’t wait to read the new book!!

  16. Hello Ms. Nora,
    I hope this message finds you and your family well and safe. I personally want to say that your books, all of them, to include your In Death series are by far my favorites. Although I read other books and genre, I always go back to yours. Your writing skills and the thought you put into your books and characters are what lure me in. I enjoy the fact that the In Death book series introduces new characters while including my favorite ones from time to time. Regardless of the scenario, you always manage to write a book that I cannot put down once I begin to read it. That is what I call a gifted and talented author. Your books are the first ones I reach for when my personal world is flipped upside down because it takes my mind away for all the hurt, frustrations, and sadness that sometimes fall on my lap. So, Thank You for providing me with an outlet when I just need time to breathe and relax and think about nothing other than losing myself in one of your wonderful books.
    Blessings,
    Baby Girl

  17. I have never ever been disappointed in an In Death book and I’ve never questioned how or why you write what you do. I’m just grateful you are.

  18. If you miss a character go back to that book and get your fill. That’s what I do and I’m fine with it. If I have a favorite scene with Roarke and Eve I just re-read the book or scene. No big deal no complaints. Leave Nora alone so she can write the 📚. That’s what we love the best. More stories please. Nora keep them coming. You have more people who wait for your books with bated breath then complainers. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

  19. I just finished Faithless in Death last evening and it ranks as one of my favorites in the series! My favorite thing about this series is, hands down, the continuation of the story of Eve. I love reconnecting with recurring characters and trying to remember their back stories as they interact with Eve! No complaints here!!!💜😁

  20. I am on my 4th re-read of the series. Currently reading Vengeance and as always noticing things I missed before. Rereading all of the books before reading the newest book makes it even better. I look forward to each new book, and the only thing I don’t like is having to wait for the next one.

  21. You are a world-renowned author. You’ve been on the bestseller list for years. You are revered and much beloved. You know what you’re doing.
    ‘Nuff said!

    Thank you!
    sylvia

  22. Its sad that this needs to be discussed again. Of course all the books can’t he favorites. As much as Roarke & Eve’s relationship is primary for me, it would be unrealistic to have their sex scenes hot and heavy in every book. It would loose it’s punch if it was. Unless you think you can do a better job than Nora, then keep your complaints to yourself. As for me. The first chapter of Desperation got me more hooked than any other first chapter. And I’ve read & reread every single ID book. Words are not enough to express my appreciation to you for creating the ID world. I’m too busy to read most books but I’d never miss a new ID BOOK.

  23. As a reader, not a writer, I fully trust the writer to do her job. I would be very upset if anyone came into my workplace and tried to tell me how to do my job.
    I wonder if some readers forget the timeline in these books. I have very good friends I go weeks without talking to. Why not the same for Eve! I love the side interactions as well, but it was Eve who intrigued me from the beginning and still does.
    Nora continue as you have been. You are an exceptional writer and I enjoy every book on different levels.

  24. I so totally, TOTALLY agree with you Nora. I absolutely love the serie and it’s because it’s all about Eve/In Death. Since January this year, I’ve been re-reading the whole serie and getting to remember how each character came into it. It’s been a real nice experience, I’m up to Obsession . I took a quick break in February for Abandoned and am looking for September. Not sure I’ll continue after Obsession (pun intended) but it was really fun. Thanks for all the wonderful stories, romances and in Death.

  25. After 14 years of reading this series, I now read it as a whole. I’m not bothered by some character not showing up in one/60th of the story – which is how I see each book. I will read whatever you write in this series, Ma’am. (And re-read again and again.)

  26. I absolutely trust you, Nora. Thank you so very much for the many hours of excitement, comfort and joy you bring me with all of your writing!

  27. Love your books. They take me away from an insufferably boring life. I look forward to each new one and love the characters. That being said. They are your books. You author, me reader. It seems a lot of people forget that. Trust you I do. Keep doing what you do.

  28. It’s not that we don’t trust you, NR – it’s that we’re shameless fans! 😇

    We all have our favorite characters and things we want to see, but that’s just to let you know who your fans love – not who you have to write. I’m very partial to Peabody (wonder why that could be? 😃), Nadine (especially now that she has a regular boyfriend and Quilla as an intern), and Mr. Mira. (I’d love to read a story about him as a young man falling in love with Dr. Mira, and what she was like as a young woman – I suspect she and Eve had a great deal in common back then! But that’s just me….)

    1. When readers say the book or books weren’t good because their favorite characters didn’t show up, or have enough page time, it’s NOT shameless fans. It’s readers complaining I don’t write to their specific wants.

      I think you missed the point of the blog.

      I’m not writing Mira’s story. I’m writing a series about a homicide lieutenant. I don’t know why some readers find it so hard to accept.

  29. The In Death series is one of those very rare pieces of media where (with the exception of the bad guys, obviously), “I love everyone in this bar!” I love the characters, new and old and while I have my favorites, I don’t expect to see them in every book, because the books aren’t being written FOR ME. Nor do I want them to be.

    When characters I love pop up (Tico! Charles! Officer Shelby bc she’s fabulous and tough and also yay lesbian rep!) I’m delighted. I’m also thrilled whenever the Urban Wars are referenced, because it’s such an incredibly fascinating source of backstory and worldbuilding and only ever enhances the story.

    I’m happy to read what Nora writes and if my favorite minor or secondary characters get a mention or an appearance, that’s just icing on what’s usually an already great story.

  30. For me, there are really only two main characters to the In Death books. People might be surprised to find that Roarke isn’t one of them. From the first, these books have reminded me of the British police procedural Prime Suspect.
    Much like Prime Suspect, the In Death stories, to me, have always been about this single-minded, abrupt, persistent, pragmatic cop and the one thing that (she believes) makes her who she is: the job of solving murders. It is only through her interaction with the secondary and tertiary characters that we discover (just as she does) that Eve is multi-faceted and much more complex than we initially believed. Yet, at the end of the day, the story really is still about Eve and how she goes about the job of solving murder.

    Any one of the characters that people love so much (Roarke, Peabody, Baxter, Feeney, etc) can be taken out/killed off and while it might impact Eve and add to those layers, Eve is still going to be a cop solving murder. The stories simply wouldn’t work without either.

  31. If you don’t mind me letting a cat out of the bag on Abandoned in Death, what made me consider it a bad installment was the flashback and kidnapping scenes involving the antagonist. I feel like that they were very unnecessary and threw things way off pace. As a result, I couldn’t really get into how Eve and the rest of the protagonists worked to solve this case. As a result, I considered this installment to be the worst one since Conspiracy in Death (yeah I’m dead serious)

    Now don’t get me wrong, you were obviously trying to do something different, and I would probably be the first to admit that maybe I don’t want to really know what a villain is thinking, nor do I want to know their past in a big exposition. Secondly, you and others can tell me that I could skip over those parts, which you can do in an e-book, but you can’t really do it in an audiobook which is why I ended up skipping out on getting the audiobook version.

    I bring all this up, because I think you probably might appreciate my post as legitimate criticism as opposed to the cliche whiners that you normally get in your other installments. That being said, I am looking forward to listening to Desperation because it will be the first installment that I will be listening to in my new residence of Missouri.

    1. The point of the blog post is I can’t write for ‘you’, Really, your post isn’t criticism, it’s opinion. Yours–what you like, what you don’t. You considered it a bad installment. You didn’t like this particular book for your particular reasons.

      You.

      It happens. It’s bound to happen again.

      Absolutely nothing you wrote in your post will influence how and what I write. It can’t. I’m always sort of amazed any reader thinks it can,

      You must understand many other readers might have thoroughly enjoyed that particular book for the exact reasons you didn’t.

      Who’s right?

      Everybody.

      So I write what I write. Trust me, or don’t.

      1. I actually Laughed Out Loud after reading Ms. Roberts’ reply. So smart and so right on! And having read every single “In Death” book, I Really hear our beloved Eve in there too. Love It!

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