Chasing The Shadows
First published 2002 280 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Private Investigator Nikki James is in San Francisco at the request of her business partner and best friend, Jake. His friend's wife is missing, and he is determined to find her. The authorities believe the kidnapping is the work of a sick mind - Nikki knows it is something much worse. Vampires. Six of them. And they know who she is and why she’s there.
Michael Kelly has returned from a vampire hunting exhibition in his homeland and wants to relax. When he discovers Nikki's gone to San Francisco he has no choice but to follow - not only to keep her safe from the vampire gang, but because he fears the psychic talents she's beginning to develop; abilities she should not have and cannot control. But as the body count begins to rise, so too does the danger.
Soon Nikki becomes a target, but she has no intention of obeying Michael’s demands that she leave. She’s tired of playing it safe and wants him to realise it’s all or nothing: she’s either a full-time partner in his life, or she’s out. Nothing, however, prepares Nikki for the price she has to pay for her stubbornness – the life of someone she loves.
Chasing The Shadows is the third book in Keri Arthur’s Nikki and Michael paranormal romance series. The Nikki and Michael books are a four-part serial vampire romance that always features the same protagonists: Nikki (a psychic PI) and Michael (a 360 year old supernatural investigating vampire) so it is necessary to read these books in series order. It is also worth noting that this book was originally published in the US by ImaJinn books a few years ago, so if you think the story sounds familiar but don’t recognise the book cover that could be why…
Chasing The Shadows is set about four months after the events of Hearts In Darkness, the second novel in this series that saw Nikki and Michael happily reunited. In the time since then the shine has worn off their relationship as the reality of being a stay-at-home girlfriend has set in for Nikki. Rarely seeing Michael, who is away battling supernatural monsters for the Circle (the mysterious group that he works for) she chafes at being left behind while he faces danger.
Bored and fed-up, Nikki jumps at the chance to help her old boss Jake investigate a series of kidnappings from the San Francisco hotel where he is currently overseeing hotel security. Michael has also been sent to investigate the same kidnappings by the Circle who suspect vampire involvement. Nikki’s psychic gifts soon mark her out as a threat to the kidnappers who waste no time in targeting her for death.
From a romantic relationship development perspective there really isn’t much difference between Chasing The Shadows and the previous books in this series. Michael loves Nikki wants her to go home where it’s safe and, while Nikki loves Michael, she wants to stay and work the case. This novel is just repeating what has been said before in both Dancing With The Devil and Hearts In Darkness where Nikki and Michael have constantly argued over Nikki’s involvement in his work.
Chasing the Shadows isn’t a complete repetition of the earlier stories though. The background plot is once again completely different, with Nikki and Michael having a new mystery to solve and new bad-guys to vanquish. Plus Nikki’s psychic talents develop further too, as her thrall bond with Michael amps up her latent psychic powers to new heights.
I think it’s fair to say that if you’ve liked the previous novels in this series then there is no reason why you wouldn’t like Chasing the Shadows too. While the relationship elements of the story may feel like they have stalled, the mystery plotline keeps the novel zipping along at a good pace and by the end of the story readers are nicely set up for Kiss the Night Goodbye, the final instalment of this series.
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