3.5 out of 5 stars

Dancing with the Devil  - Keri Arthur

My Initial Reaction...

I read Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series years ago, so I jumped at the chance to read this series. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of what I loved about Arthur's style mingled with something somehow very different in Dancing with the Devil.

The Characters...

Nikki James is my favorite kind of heroine; she's got a rough past that has left her emotionally damaged, but incredibly tough. As a private investigator with a psychic ability that packs more than a little punch, she lives a high-risk life and, when combined with nagging guilt from her past mistakes, she's as dangerous to her enemies as she is to herself. Nikki doesn't know the meaning of "can't" or "no" and I love her for it. But that's all part of her tough exterior; she's much more complex than she'd like you to know. At one point in my reading, I wrote in my notes "man! she is a kick-ass chic, hot seductress, and trembling child all rolled into one." And that pretty much sums up the complex character that is Nikki James.

 

Nikki may have a rough exterior, but that does little to fool Michael Kelly, who has some psychic gifts of his own. The story switches periodically between his and Nikki's point of view, but even when in his mind there's so much mystery to him - clearly we'll have to get to know him better in future books. I think what comes through most clearly about Michael is his internal conflict; he's had to conquer a lot in his past - that much is clear - and it's left him unwilling to attach himself to anyone, even Nikki, to whom he has an immediate psychic connection. We learn so little about him in Dancing with the Devil and I for one can't wait to learn more about this mysterious and oh so sexy vampire.

 

I couldn't leave this section of the review without giving a quick shout out to Jake - Nikki's boss and father figure. He's a character that grows on you instantly. He's so fatherly toward Nikki and, despite having no supernatural abilities of his own, he's holding his own. He get's caught in the crossfire and refuses to be the victim; he looks out for Nikki - not just as a boss or friend, but like a father - and that wins him serious bonus points in my book.

 

The Story...

Dancing with the Devil opens with Nikki working on her current case, trailing Monica, the rich, spoiled brat of her client, when she lands herself into something much more dangerous than she even knew existed. Suddenly tracking down Monica is more than a job, but about saving innocent lives, including her own. Thankfully fate has inexplicably dropped Michael into her lap to help her. If only she knew more about him, why he was there helping her, and his history with the vampire behind all the trouble - James.

 

Dancing with the Devil is everything I want from Urban Fantasy - high paced action, kick-butt heroes/heroines, and that little bit of sexual tension that drives you bonkers. The action scenes are pretty great, especially since Arthur is playing with psychic abilities that pack a serious punch. More than a few times I drew in a breath of marvel from something the characters were able to do psychically. And Arthur is incredibly gifted at those teasing moments between Nikki and Michael. She really utilizes their psychic bond to heighten the sexual tension in all the right ways.

 

I wish I could say I was hooked from beginning to end, but I can't. Unfortunately it took me longer than I would like to get invested in the characters and the plot. For one, I felt like the world building was a bit haphazard and some crucial information about that world came later than I would have liked. And I rolled my eyes a few times at the instant trust that Nikki has for Michael - which became even more infuriating later in the book when he's challenging her to trust him. She went back and forth on the trust way to fast for me - I think I got a bit of whiplash! But the last 50% at least had my glued to the page, so it's worth the wait and occasional whiplash.

 

Concluding Sentiments...

Overall Dancing with the Devil didn't disappoint. I loved the action and the Arthur shocked me with her ability to tease and drag on that sexual tension so artfully (considering her Jensen series was NOT about the tension!) I'm looking forward to the next book!

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Source: http://fantasyismorefun.com/2013/09/book-review-dancing-with-the-devil-by-keri-arthur.html