|Lily Yu is a San Diego homicide detective who is out to prove herself. While she’s a good detective, she’s also young, female and Chinese – so Lily finds herself working twice as hard as her comrades in order to gain respect. When her chief names her lead on a grisly murder case, Lily is determined to solve it by any means necessary. Which means she may have to call on her paranormal abilities. Lily is a sensitive, meaning she can sense magic. A handy gift to have when it appears the murderer is a werewolf.
The maimed body is found a short distance from a seedy nightclub, a known werewolf hangout. When Lily goes in to interview the patrons, she runs into Rule Turner – a werewolf prince who just happened to be having an affair with the dead man’s wife. This naturally makes him a prime suspect, but what Lily doesn’t know is that there are political intrigues going on within the werewolf clans that make Rule believe he’s being set up to take a fall. He’s determined to help Lily with her case, if only to clear his name, and given her lack of knowledge about werewolves she agrees.
Wilks has created a world where humans know that the supernatural exist. The wrinkle being that the supernatural are persecuted and not easily trusted. Tempting Danger not only features the “sensitive” Lily and werewolves, but also gnomes, sorcerers, telepaths and spell casting. This cuts down on any tedious disbelief on that part of the characters, and makes the atmosphere of the story quite dark and interesting.
Lily is also interesting, in that she essentially carries the whole novel. Wilks spends a lot of time on her heroine, and it pays off. Not only is she a smart, tough detective, but also she’s Chinese. Let’s face it, Asian characters in Romance Novel Land are not a dime a dozen. Wilks also takes some time to explore Lily’s ethnicity, in the form of her old world grandmother and her drive to prove herself to the rest of the police force. There is also the required emotional baggage Lily is lugging around, but when Wilks finally gets around to revealing it, it’s so heartbreaking and tragic that it deepens Lily as a character.
Unfortunately, the rest of the novel is a convoluted mess. The best way to describe it is that it’s like reading a book three in a series instead of book one. Most of this involves the werewolf stuff. The reader learns early on that there is some sort of political intrigue going on within the clans, but the conversations between Rule and his family don’t go anywhere. Essentially they talk in circles, sounding vague and using “werewolf speak.” Having dropped the reader in the middle, the author then spends the rest of the novel catching up. It’s admirable that the author does some world building, but there is literally no set up for the reader. It’s sink or swim.
This adversely affects Rule’s character since he’s almost too mysterious to really care about. The reader never really gets to dig deep with him. He’s hot, a ladies’ man, and hides behind a playboy image, but we never really get to see the real Rule. It also hurts that his relationship with Lily is thrust upon him due to werewolf legend/beliefs. Sure he is attracted to Lily on sight, but this reviewer never got the feeling that he chose her because he cared for her. More like, she was chosen for him and there wasn’t much either one of them could do about it. The author tries to back pedal with the ending, but essentially Lily and Rule are together not because they chose, but because it was chosen for them.
In the hands of a less skilled writer, Tempting Danger probably would have been fairly mind numbing. The convoluted and confusing supernatural aspects did detract from the story, but Wilks’ heroine is so top notch that it’s a hard book to dismiss outright. With more books planned in this series, one can hope that as the author goes along the reader will become more familiar with the world and the characters she has created.