Perhaps one of the things I like about Lieutenant Eve Dallas, homicide cop for the New York Police and Security Department in the year 2060, and the reason I chose her for my own entry to my Blogger Challenge, is the complexity of the character. Eve’s author, J. D. Robb – better know as the romance author Nora Roberts – has had about 40 books to work out her personality, and her relationships with Roarke, her multi-billionaire Irish husband; her partner and protégée, Detective Delia Peabody; her ex-grifter rock-star best friend, Mavis Freestone (Eve was the one that busted her and brought her into the straight and narrow); and the many other characters that have built up around her over all those books. Eve’s past is assuredly scarred; abused massively as a child by her father, despised by her mother, she escaped from that situation by killing her abuser while still a girl. The trauma left her memories of the event blocked for years, and it’s only recently that she is able to cope with recalling them, and only then because of the love and support of Roarke, whose own childhood, as a pickpocketing urchin on the streets of Dublin for his Fagin of a father, was about as vicious as hers.
She has grown into a woman with a passion for justice, a drive to see those she stands for receive what compensation the system can offer the dead, by putting their murderers away for life. She’s tough, no-nonsense, and often has little patience for any around her who cannot accept her viewpoint. Only since marrying Roarke has this altered to a degree; having someone who can love her for all she is has allowed Eve to sometimes lower her ferro-cement-coated, meters-high defenses, acknowledge the friendships and relationships she has built, and just be plain vulnerable. Roarke is there to love her, to hold her and keep her together when the nightmares strike her in the dark, as they have often done until the past year or so of their time, and to work with her to close some of the knottiest murder cases served up to the NYPSD in the post-Urban Wars years.
Her clothing style is as no-nonsense as she is; in fact, it’s no sense. She’s satisfied with whatever she pulls out of the closet as long as it fits and isn’t covered in bloodstains. Having grown up a ward of the state after running away from the killing of her father, Eve never had the opportunity – or inclination – to learn social graces, or the money to indulge herself in clothes or makeup. She’s actually very uncomfortable with the purchasing power she can command as the wife of possibly the richest man on the planet. To her, spending time in a store – any store, no matter what it is she needs to purchase – is the equivalent of a session on the rack with the Inquisition, and she’d probably look rather outrageous at times if Roarke didn’t vet her choices before she drove in to work. Roarke, of course, knows how looks matter; it’s all part of the game of presentation for the wildly successful industrialist. It amuses him to see Eve’s reaction when she discovers yet more fabulous suits or dresses hanging in her closet, put there by the “clothes fairies” (meaning Roarke and his majordomo, Summerset).
She takes as little concern in her face as in her wardrobe. Her brown eyes (“whiskey-colored,” as Robb often phrases it) rarely see shadow or mascara, unless she is at a business or society function with Roarke (having been unable to weasel out of it); lipstick – “lip dye” – tends to smear when she puts it on; and she’s under constant threat from Tina, her very occasional hairdresser, to get a stripe shaved down the center of her scalp if Eve takes a scissors to her own “choppy” brown hair.
All this isn’t to say that Eve is completely unconscious of how important a look can be at times. She just isn’t usually worried about it. But, going into a meeting where she is confronting an incredibly dirty police lieutenant from another squad, she wants to present the impression that here is the equivalent in power to her adversary, and she knows that she needs help in putting it together:
When [Roarke] walked into the bedroom with a towel slung around his waist [Eve] stood in a short robe doing something he rarely if ever saw her do. Actively studying the contents of her closet.
“This is weird,” she said, “but I need to…. Pick something out for me to wear, will you? I need to look in control, an authority, serious. Seriously in charge.”
Frustrated, she circled her hands in the air. “But without looking planned or studied. I don’t want it to come off like an outfit, but–”
“I understand you.” He stepped in, studied the jackets first. He’d selected every one of them himself as wardrobe – much less shopping for wardrobe – was dead low on her list of priorities.
“Not red, but burgundy. It’s not bright, not bold, but deep and serious – and transmits authority, particularly in this very tailored cut. With these pants – a serious gunmetal grey, and this top in a slightly softer grey – no fuss, no embellishments. The grey boots, as they’ll give you one long line, with the jacket as the subliminal element of authority.”
She puffed out her cheeks, blew out the air. “Okay. You’re the expert.”
Once she’d dressed she had to admit there was a reason he was the expert. She looked put together but not – how had she put it – studied. And the red – sorry, burgundy – did look strong.
Plus, if she got blood on it, it might now show. Much.
She frowned at the little silver studs he held out. “I hardly ever wear earrings to work. They’re–”
“In this case, just a bit of polish. Simple and subtle.”
- J. D. Robb [Nora Roberts], Treachery in Death, chapter 4. Copyright 2011 by Nora Roberts; published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Group (USA). PS3568.O243 T. 813.54 [dc22]. eISBN: 978-1-101-47586-7.
As can be seen from her reaction to the simple stud earrings, her tastes in jewelry are also beyond basic. Bling has never played a part in her life until she married Roarke, and it doesn’t particularly now, when she could afford to put a major dent in the stock of both Tiffany’s and Cartier’s in one day. There are only two pieces of jewelry that she regularly will not do without: her wedding ring (which I left out here), and a large teardrop diamond pendant, also given to her by Roarke. Occasionally, she’ll wear a set of earrings that were supposed to have been owned by Gráinne, the Irish pirate queen and warrior. Roarke, though outwardly an agnostic at best, is not above giving her talismans for aid and protection; indeed, an inscription in Irish on the inside of her wedding band is a spell of protection — which seems to have worked, especially when combined with Eve’s ferocious fighting skills.
If you have a taste for police procedurals with a science-fiction tang and a good dollop of pure sexy romance, check out the In Death series. Eve is a fascinating character, and worth the investment of reading time.
- Skin: PXL Candy, sunkissed, nude lips, light eyebrows
- Eyes: Poetic Colors (Dark wood)
- Hair: Amacci Doris (dark brown)
- Top: Persona Iris knitted top (grey)
- Pants: MOLiCHiNO Kay pants (mesh, XS; grey)
- Blazer: Entente Classic Blazer (burgundy; perhaps too bright for this instance, but here it is)
- Shoes: Feets SL Arizona boots (grey)
- Jewelry: YavaScript round stud earrings; Classique Simplicity teardrop diamond pendant
- Makeup: Blacklace Beauty Hi-Gloss Lips (Clear 50%; put on her to give her lips just a little shine and wetness.)