by Keri Arthur
Review by Paige Roberts
Dell Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 0553588478
Date: 27 February, 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Tempting Evil is the third book in the Riley Jensen guardian series, but the first book in the series that I read. A lot of folks are comparing Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen guardian novels to Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake vampire hunter novels, with good reason. Both have a butt-kicking heroine with tons of attitude and superpowers that combine the powers of a vampire, a werewolf, and an affinity for the dead. Both heroines have an unearthly beautiful, powerful vampire and a handsome werewolf vying for their love while their powers require them to have sex with pretty much any attractive supernatural guy in the area. Both live in a world where vamps, weres, and more exotic creatures of the night are real, but the background is otherwise the modern world that we know. Both work at enforcing the law on the super-powered folks whose abilities make them more than the average cop can handle. In fact, having read the Anita Blake books, I had a profound sense of déjà vu when I first picked up a Riley Jensen book.
That said, there are also some very obvious differences. The Anita Blake books started out as very similar to traditional murder mysteries with a rather prudish heroine being tempted into an occasional sexy sub-plot. As the series progressed, the books became more and more erotica with a bloody plot slipped in between the long elaborate sex scenes and complicated relationship conversations. Riley Jensen is unashamedly sexy from page one, and the erotic scenes come as fast and furious as the gory, fast-paced action sequences. If Riley isn't dragging the clothes off of one of her handsome supernatural paramours every few pages, then she's dragging bad guys through their worst nightmares or vice versa. These books are definitely pure sexy action adventure, without a trace of the mystery genre to slow anything down.
While I found the sheer frequency of the fight sequences and sex scenes a little excessive for my taste, I found the world vividly realized and fascinating. Keri Arthur's version of Melbourne, Australia was exceptionally rich in detail. Her menagerie of beasties and monsters and things that go bump in the night each have their own mythology, culture, history, and driving forces. In such a world, the guardian organization Riley works for would be a logical necessity. Someone like Riley who can meet both the libidos and the claws of the locals on equal ground with her insults, fists, and passion is certainly enjoyable to ride along with.
So, if you like your erotic scenes hot, fast, and frequent, your heroine sassy, sexy, and tough, and your stories packed with hard-hitting action in a vividly realized fantasy world, then Tempting Evil and its companion novels could be just what you're looking for.