Dancing with the Devil (Nikki and Michael #1)
Published: July 30, 2013 (Dell) originally published 2001
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
This series is actually a re-release from 2001. Keri Arthur went back and re-edited the series and, as I understand it, the other three books in the series will be released in consecutive months after Dancing with the Devil releases on July 30.
Nikki is a private investigator on a case following a client’s out-of-control teenage daughter to see what kind of trouble she gets into and try to prevent her from getting into more trouble. Things go horribly wrong one evening when she follows the girl into an abandoned mansion and discovers a dark, evil presence waiting for her. Nikki escapes this encounter when a strange man, Michael, shows up and rescues her. What Nikki doesn’t know is Michael was there for a reason and he has his own vendetta against this evil.
The book started out pretty abruptly. There wasn’t enough build up before we, and Nikki, were just thrust into trouble. It felt like we got all the information after the fact. Michael’s presence and their developing attraction to one another felt rushed and convenient more than actual attraction. I will say by the very end of the book, I felt the chemistry more than I had it in the beginning. I think where the story fell short for me was the characterization. We are given very few facts about the past of our characters, but when we are they just don’t seem plausible enough to account for the characters’ actions. I don’t know if these are things that will be brought up later in the series.
On one side, Nikki was a very strong character. She’s gone through a lot in her past. I like that even though she’s dealing with some very scary people she doesn’t back down from the fight. On the other hand, the fact that she doesn’t back down proves to be her downfall on more than one occasion. At times I felt as though she was trying too hard to prove that she was tough and so she would just plunge right into the chaos without waiting for backup or thinking things through first. That was very frustrating to read, especially since it happened repeatedly, and usually ended up with Nikki or someone else seriously injured. So her strength was both a good thing and a bad thing.
Michael, though, was a great character. I think without him I wouldn’t have liked the book half as much as I did. He was the voice of reason throughout the book, even though his voice was often ignored by Nikki. It’s no secret that Michael is a vampire (just read the back of the book), and being a vampire, he’s lived a long life and we haven’t even started to uncover all the details about his past. Hopefully that will be something Keri Arthur delves into in the remaining books.
In her Riley Jensen series, the world knows about the supernatural (vampires, shifters, etc.), but in this series those supernatural beings are still hidden with the humans none the wiser. It’s a different dynamic than what I’m used to reading in her books. There has to be a lot more care / secrecy around those that aren’t in on the secret.
I will say that Keri Arthur throws a twist in with our hero and heroine and it’s interesting. I’m always happy and surprised when an author can take a topic that’s been written about (in this case vampires) and add something to the mix to make it their own and make the story unique. Also, I can appreciate that Keri Arthur doesn’t give our characters the happily ever after right away. It’s obviously something that they are going to have to work for, but hopefully it will come in the end.
Even though Dancing with the Devil started out middle of the road for me, the build up by the end leaves me really wanting to know what’s next for Nikki and Michael. Arthur has a way of not fully settling anything with her characters until the very end of a series so I’m definitely drawn in to reading the next book.
Sexual content: Sex