This is the fourth in the Riley Jensen Guardian novels. I’m just giving fair warning right away, if you haven’t read the first three books, don’t even bother picking this one up until you do. These books happen in direct succession to each other, and starting at this point will frustrate you. Which would be a shame as this is an emininently readable series.
Riley Jensen, half-vampire and half-werewolf, (a dhampire) has been firmly enrolled as a Guardian, basically a special forces team that polices the paranormal community, such as vampires, werewolves, and many other interesting races. The Guardians can be judge, jury, and executioner all at once, so they are all very familiar with violence. Riley tried to avoid becoming a Guardian like her twin brother Rhoan, but the choice was basically ripped away from her.
In this book, something wicked this way comes – literally. While trying to have a normal date with her on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend Quinn, a close encounter with an evil unknown entity sets Quinn off on a mysterious errand, and brings Riley into the investigation of a series of brutal murders that have no explanation. Since the murders stump even Jack, the head of Riley’s agency and an extremely old vampire, that is saying quite a bit. Quinn definitely knows more than he is telling, which is nothing new in Riley’s relationship with him.
As with all the books in this series, the violence is graphic and so is Riley’s love life. Werewolves are very sensual creatures, and during the full moon they must have sex, or their moon heat can turn into blood lust, a very bad thing for everyone involved. Her attitude toward her sex life is casual, but there are definite difficulties facing her and her current partners. Her investigation puts her life in greater danger than the Guardians have faced before and their enemy is not your run-of-the-mill bad guy.
I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series, and this was no exception. I like Riley’s character, she’s comfortable with herself, and although not happy with her new Guardian role, she puts her best foot forward. She’s not afraid to stand her ground, but has her vulnerable side also. One of my favorite aspects of this series is her relationship with her twin. It’s nice to see a sibling team with love and respect for each other, instead of the “Cinderella” type siblings, or the saccharine sweet cardboard characters that appear briefly, for no real reason, in some books. Rhoan is a secondary character, but there is nothing minor about his part in these books. He and Riley don’t always agree, but their bond is always there.
My only concern with this book is the foreshadowing that the author is moving into the same type of situation Laurell K. Hamilton has created in her Anita Blake series, and I don’t want to see that happen. I don’t mind books with a multiple partner set up, but I’d like to see some resolution that actually works. There is no hint of that thus far in this series.
However, these books are fascinating and have great potential, so I’m cautiously optimistic and will continue to have this author on my auto-buy list for the next one.