Riley Jenson appears to be a werewolf, but she is actually half vampire. This means that she has the reflexes and mind-clouding ability of vampires, but still changes into a werewolf at the full moon. She lives with her twin brother, Rhoan, and they both work for Melbourne's "Directorate of Other Races," which is a sort of police force that is supposed to control crime among supernatural beings and protect humans from them. Rhoan is a guardian (a sort of top-level agent), but Riley appears to be a sort of secretary, despite the fact that her supervisors want her to become a guardian, too.
The books opens as Riley gets a feeling that her twin is in trouble. Not mortal danger, just...trouble. Because she and Rhoan (for no good reason I could tell) keep their brother/sister relationship secret, she has trouble convincing his boss that he needs help, being able only to say it's a "feeling" she has. When Rhoan hasn't returned from his mission by the following morning, when he was scheduled to, they send another agent to investigate, but Riley decides to do some searching on her own.
Werewolves, it seems (at least in this universe) have hormones that rage as the moon nears fullness, and - unless they find their sought-after soul mate, becoming monogamous thereafter - they basically need to have copious amounts of rampant sex with however many mates they have or can get. Humans simply don't understand this need (which is unlike anything that actual wolves experience, one might add) - and that is possibly why I found my belief in the strength of Riley's concern for her brother to be a bit undermined by the constant time-outs for sex with different (always very rich, Ferrari- or Porsche-driving, stunningly handsome) people along the way to his rescue.
She finds an incredibly handsome, naked rich vampire on her doorstep, who is also looking for her brother, and while she doesn't trust him, her boss pairs the two of them together to search for Rhoan. Other guardians have been disappearing lately, including Riley's closest friend (the agent sent to search for Rhoan). Riley's concern for her missing friend is, typical of her self-centered nature, not expressed by worry for her friend's well-being - instead, Riley laments that she doesn't make friends very easily, so she hopes nothing bad has happened to her friend!
The plot was fast paced (except for the frequent sex detours, which seemed tacked on and did little for character or plot development, unlike, in my opinion, those in Laurell Hamilton and Kim Harrison's novels) and intriguing, complete with cloned villains, secret laboratories and strange, hybrid creatures. But I spent most of the book trying to figure out if I liked it or not. Riley was very self absorbed and displayed appalling judgment on many occasions, so I kept losing sympathy for her. Her passionate determination not to become a guardian was never fully explained. She clearly loves the adrenaline rush of the investigation, so what was the big deal? Why cling to a job as secretary when her abilities lie in a different direction? Certainly not cowardice, as she is fearless and a strong, able fighter, thanks to her mixed heritage.
I'm still not sure how I feel about this one. Often the initial book or books in a series are a bit uneven (I felt that way about the first Kim Harrison Rachel Morgan book), but they get better and better as they go along. I like the idea of a vampire/wolf hybrid, but don't feel it was explored fully in this book, at least - if it's just that she's a faster, stronger werewolf, it's not as intriguing as it might be. Even though she can run and fight in 4-inch heels (and stake vampires with her wooden heels when the opportunity arises). It was certainly a fast-paced adventure, and it introduced some interesting characters (I particularly liked Rhoan and his partner), so I may try the second one in the series.
Books in the Riley Jenson series:
1. Full Moon Rising
2. Kissing Sin
3. Tempting Evil
4. Dangerous Games
5. Embraced by Darkness
6. The Darkest Kiss
Full Moon Rising (#1 in the Riley Jenson series) by Keri Arthur (Bantam Books, 2006)
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