Private Investigator Nikki James has a lot to contend with. Her lover, Michael Kelly, walked out without so much as a goodbye, and what seemed like a simple case of stopping a runaway teen brought her face-to-face with another clutch of deadly vampires. But if that seemed bad, it is about to get a lot worse, because when Michael returns, it is not for her, but for the case.
Wealthy men are starting to vanish from a resort in Jackson Hole which is exactly where Nikki’s runaway teen seems to be as well. Something nefarious is going on at the luxury spa, but what? The last thing Michael needs is a confrontation with Nikki especially when his control over his blood-lust is still so tenuous. But posing as a newly-wed couple at the swanky resort may be the best way for both of them to solve their respective cases. This time, Nikki is determined to make Michael see that life apart is worse than death. Yet before she can make him see the light, a spectre from Michael’s past rises that could destroy any hope she has of a future with him. Because this time the threat isn’t physical. It’s a matter of the heart.
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. It’s from one of Keri Arthur’s early series, the Nikki and Michael series and having now read it I know that Keri Arthur definitely evolved her writing talents far beyond what this series has to offer. That said, it’s not bad, it’s just not great.
At the end of the first book in the series, Michael walked out on Nikki without a word and left her dealing with her heartbreak alone and wondering what she did wrong. When six months later people start vanishing from a luxury hotel Michael reappears and takes Nikki with him to investigate as she is always on the tail of the culprits from investigations of her own.
This book balances the relationship between Nikki and Michael and their supernatural investigation at the hotel nicely, with fire imps, magic, and vampires. You can see elements of what is to come in future Keri Arthur books boiling under the surface but at this stage in the game she hasn’t quite find the formula.
Nikki wants to be a strong character but is too reliant on Michael saving the day as she gets bashed on the head or knocked out by magic. Of course it’s written that she’s there to save Michael but I couldn’t help feeling that it was the other way around…until the climax where she finds some mojo.
Knowing that Keri Arthur in later novels gets the formula right in creating really strong female characters who don’t need the male counterparts (even if they are there) means that this is just a downfall in an early novel where she was finding her feet.
It was an enjoyable read but not my favourite of Keri Arthur’s by a long shot.
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Title: Hearts in Darkness
Series: Nikki & Michael
Author: Keri Arthur
Genre: Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: Dell / Piatkus
Publication Date: 27 August 2013
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook
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