Friday, October 30, 2009

Review - "Bound to Shadows" by Keri Arthur

In the darkness, demons come out to play . . . and someone must bring their sins to light.

Part vampire, part werewolf, Riley Jenson knows what can happen when vamps don’t play well with others. But she’s never seen anything like this: a series of brutal murders surrounding the latest hot spot for vampire-human hookups—and the victims aren’t just killed, they’re beheaded. Now Riley is launching into action, toying with a seductive—and highly suspicious—club owner, and finding herself in the middle of another mystery: women being killed one by one, without a trace of violence.

For Riley, solving multiple cases—in a world going mad with human and vampire passions—would have been tough enough. Instead she has two jealous lovers on her hands: Kye Murphy, the amber-eyed werewolf who makes Riley’s wolf blood howl—and Quinn, the cool, elegant vamp who has over a thousand years’ experience at fulfilling women’s desires. While she’s busy juggling these two sexy beasts, Riley’s detective work takes a stunningly violent turn. Finding a murderer is now a matter of life and death. Especially since the killer has long since found her . . .
Bound to Shadows is the eighth Riley Jenson Guardians novel and they just keep getting better. As with the previous book, Deadly Desire, Bound to Shadows is solidly focused on Riley – her personal life and her career. Keri Arthur has created one of urban fantasy genre’s sexiest heroines. In this world werewolves are highly sensual and sexually driven creatures and especially Riley. The wolf component of her psyche and the guilt-free werewolf culture makes her liaisons refreshing and sizzling. But it also causes many problems for Riley. Her werewolf soul mate Kye is back in town and determined to conquer and control her. Riley has given her heart and mind to Quinn but her libido and bond also wants Kye.

Kye is the source of her greatest dilemma and deepest fears. He has the potential to poison her happiness and his destructive nature could even lead to her death. But she is virtually powerless to resist her attraction to him. It makes for an interesting parallel that her soul mate compulsion is not dissimilar to the addiction of the Blood Whores associated with the murdered vampires. Not only does Kye intrude into her personal life but she encounters him constantly around the fringes of both of the cases she is pursuing. As you would expect Riley doesn’t believe in coincidence.

The two unrelated cases slowly weave together and Riley herself becomes the prey instead of the hunter. Bound to Shadows showcases a more mature, confident Riley as she skilfully works the angles and clues to solve the central mysteries. There are an endless number of terrific scenes in this book and some of the best dialogue in the series to date. Riley exudes a playfulness and easy rapport with all of her colleagues, her brother and his lover and even in her interviews with witnesses and suspects. Riley’s experience shines through when she needs to visit the leader of the emo vampires and doesn’t hesitate for a second to include Quinn to ensure she gets not only what she wants but makes an indisputable display of who holds the power.

There are some pretty significant sacrifices made in this book which I won’t specify so that there are no spoilers, but regular followers of the series will be both shocked and pleased. Early on a request from her brother and his lover affects Riley in a visceral way and it resonates throughout the novel. Bound to Shadows puts a lot of cards on the table and motions in play and I felt there was a weightiness to the story that I really liked.

I think new readers to the series should be able to jump right in to Bound to Shadows without previous exposure to the series but I wouldn’t recommend missing out on all the earlier fun and adventure. This book builds to a very bittersweet conclusion that is setting the stage for the final book in the series coming next year called Moon Sworn. Keri Arthur has done her character proud and I am so glad I have been along for Riley’s journey. Bound to Shadows will definitely be on my list of favourite urban fantasies for 2009.


Excerpt from Chapter 1.

Dell Publishing
Published: October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 346
ISBN #: 9780440338765

Riley Jenson Guardian Series:
  1. Full Moon Rising (2006)
  2. Kissing Sin (2007)
  3. Tempting Evil (2007)
  4. Dangerous Games (2007)
  5. Embraced by Darkness (2007)
  6. The Darkest Kiss (2008)
  7. Deadly Desire (2009) - my review
  8. Bound to Shadows (Oct 2009)
  9. Moon Sworn (Summer 2010)

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