Review: “Tempting Danger,” Eileen Wilks

Pros: Fascinating; great world-building; excellent characters
Cons:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thanks to the vagaries of receiving review books, I started reading Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi with book five, Mortal Sins. I’ve loved it ever since, and now I’m going back to read the books I missed, starting with book one: Tempting Danger. To quote the back of the book,

Lily Yu is a San Diego detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf.

She’s hindered by cops who don’t trust her; she’s small, female, and Chinese–not the best combination in that world. It would be even worse if they knew she was a sensitive–able to feel the traces that magic leaves behind. Magical beings and magic-practicing people were only revealed comparatively recently, and people still have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. Rule, a ‘prince’ of the local werewolf clan, Nokolai, offers to help Lily understand the culture and behavior of werewolves to aid in her investigation. While she believes she can eliminate him as a suspect very quickly, there are others who just want to destroy the werewolf. Before long she realizes that someone is interfering with her case, and the evidence points to cops she thought she could trust with her life. The Feds who’ve been flitting around the edges of the case are willing to help her, but they have a proposal of their own.

The characterization is wonderful, drawn in sure strokes, and there are fun character quotes here and there.

“I’ll slow down. You’re pale.”
“I turn Caucasian at ninety miles an hour and up. Pay no attention.”

As for the sex and romance: There was maybe one line that pulled me out of a sex scene because I didn’t find it at all sexy. Other than that, the relationship between Lily and Rule is a fun one. The genre-standard ‘one true mate’ bond is here, but it’s handled differently and that makes it both good and interesting.

“We’re free to choose how we deal with the bond. We aren’t free to refuse it.”

The bond was created by a legendary goddess–it’s isn’t some mysterious pseudo-science involving pheremones or something. Because of that it leaves room for the idea that the goddess would choose two people who are capable of falling for each other in the first place. I also like that while the bond itself is non-optional, it’s made clear that there are people who are never able to become ‘okay’ with it. Again, it leaves some wiggle-room for characters to do their own thing. It seems to spark attraction and a strong need to be with the person one is bonded to, but it doesn’t force love–that has to develop on its own, although the attraction gives it a nice jump-start.

Tempting Danger dives straight into the story, counting on our being able to keep up when world background pops up. In fact, the only problem at all I had in this area was some confusion as to what ‘the Sundering’ was.

I must note that there is some dark material in here involving a heinous attack on a child. It’s kept brief and not used to titillate; it’s used as background that brings more depth to a character. But I know some folks will want or need to avoid it, which is why I mention it here.

I’m very much looking forward to catching up with the rest of the series!

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