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A Murder and Mayhem Bookclub review,
This review is from: Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian) (Mass Market Paperback)
It's always hard for a werewolf to back away from a fight. Riley Jenson isn't just your garden variety werewolf either; the vampire part of her is asserting itself more as she ages. It is already too late for her twin brother Rhoan to reproduce. Rhoan's vampire characteristics have always been more evident than her own, and he is now as infertile as those in the ranks of the undead. Hoping it is not too late for herself, Riley has been making some discreet inquiries into fulfilling her own private fantasy, that of having a child.
Working for the Directorate of Other Races, Riley fears for her twin Rhoan every time he is called out to run interference between the "beasts" and humans. Rhoan is a Guardian, able to walk the streets in the daylight hours, doing his part to keep the uneasy peace of beings that are only loosely governed by the same rules as the rest of the citizens of Melbourne. When one night Riley wakes up to a scene of horror in a dark alley, she isn't sure whether she was running away for her life or trying to get back into the compound behind her. With scant memory of the last few weeks Riley is afraid, and for more reasons other than the fact that she is naked and covered in someone else's blood. Her strength and unusual qualities have not gone unnoticed by those who have previously wanted to mess with her genetically. Escaping the compound with the assistance of a gorgeous male shape-shifter named Kade, Riley runs back into the arms of those know her best: her brother, her boss and her ex-lover, the gorgeous and enigmatic vampire Quinn. They all agree; whoever is trying to create a super-race of paranormal beings is not doing it for any higher purpose. The clones that have attacked them in the past were not perfect, and they all had deadly intent.
Australian author Keri Arthur has written an atmospheric book of the night world, populated with wraiths, shape-shifters and bloodsuckers, all at war with each other and with their own unnatural agendas. As with the first book in the series (FULL MOON RISING (2006), the "rules" of this fantasy world are largely her own, whilst observing inviolate agreements about vampires frying in the sun and such like. It's refreshing that Arthur has created a character that isn't constantly beating herself up over what she is and moralizing about the depravities of her kind; Riley Jenson gets on with her life and does not apologize for whatever means and methods have been required. Tagging these novels as "paranormal romances" puts too rosy a light on them as there isn't a scrap of romance to be seen to detract from the seething sense of hidden menace. Good attention to detail with the hand to paw (or claw, or fangs) fight scenes rackets up the action component in the read.
As with all novels in this booming genre of urban fantasy, KISSING SIN is another of those guilty little pleasures. A bit of sauce is good, sauce is all part of the fictional vampire and werewolf scene, but the amount of gratuitous sex indulged in by Riley Jenson here is very off-putting. Not for its content, graphic or otherwise but more for its frequency and irrelevance. Another trap; too many hot and willing male characters popping up all over the place with whom Riley supposedly has a true connection. Less is going to more here, as with the reader's attention being dragged about all over the place (too many future plot threads perhaps); the emphasis is taken away from the developing storyline. All the ingredients for success are here and were laid out well with the first novel of the series, but the freer hand given with KISSING SIN detracts greatly from the read.