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Guest reviewer for Paranormalhaven.com. Goofy and gregarious, although mostly sensible. Love to chat about books! :)

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Dancing With the Devil: Nikki and Michael Book 1

Dancing With the Devil  - Keri Arthur ****posted as a guest review over on paranormalhaven.com*****I have read and enjoyed Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series as well as her newer books involving Risa Jones. When I found out that she was re-releasing books that had been published over a decade ago, I wanted to read them and enjoy them as much as I had with her later novels. That being said, I did have some issues with Dancing With The Devil and the overall read is definitely not nearly as fun as the Riley Jensen or Risa Jones books.Nikki James is a private investigator with special psychic talents. She’s been hired to find and retrieve a teenager by the name of Monica Trevgard and things don’t go exactly as planned when she locates Monica. She meets Michael Kelly as she’s trailing Monica and evading some creepy creatures of the night. It’s established very early on that Michael and Nikki have some sort of particular psychic bond, and that’s one of my least favorite tropes in the PNR/UF world. It can eschew character development on both their parts, and it does to a big extent in this book.The psychic phenomena that takes place between Nikki, Michael, and our villain is written in a rather bland and haphazard manner. More often than not, it ends up boring me as opposed to making me intrigued. Michael tells Nikki he’s been hunting Jasper for a long time, but doesn’t bother to fill Nikki in on how he and Jasper (our villain) are similar. She finds out at the hands of Jasper when she’s captured by him. The unquestioning acceptance from Nikki regarding Michael’s telepathic abilities bothered me. The same goes for Nikki’s boss, Jake. He makes a token protest regarding a vampire’s existence, but accepts telepathic abilities no problem.The author knows how to write action sequences, of this there is no doubt. I just wish more time had been spent making Nikki’s world seem authentic instead of lackluster. I had trouble buying into the relationship between Nikki and Michael, and again, this correlates with the telepathic connection they both have. This, to me, is used as a crutch in lieu of character development, and makes for a somewhat tepid read for the entire book. For a novel that straddles the line between UF and PNR, there are surprisingly few monsters to be had other than the villain. You learn painstakingly little about Nikki as the book progresses and this did have an affect on how I viewed her character.I could see hints of the author’s style while reading the book, but it doesn’t really come close to what I’ve read with Riley Jensen and Risa Jones (hmmm, the initials RJ seem to be popular). The pacing suffers, the character development is minimal at best, and I found myself putting it down more often than picking it up. I found Dancing With The Devil interesting as a way to compare and contrast the author’s later books and how much she’s improved, but unfortunately, the novel did not deliver for me on any level.