Dear Ms. Warren:
A reading friend initially recommended your series to me last year with the book, Big Bad Wolf. I am a big shifter fan and was looking forward to reading this release. (It crept up on me). There were two things I particularly liked in this story: the mystery and the courtship. Ironically (or not), components of those two factors also bothered me the most.
Josie Barrett is Stone Creek, Oregon’s veternarian. She took over her father’s practice upon his retirement. Her single minded focus on becoming a veternarian has left her little time for personal relationships. At least this is the excuse given for the fact that Josie has never before recognize Eli Pace as a sexual being.
Eli Pace is the sheriff of Stone Creek, a town that is comprised primarily of Others, mostly shapeshifters. Why Eli is there is a question that is raised but never really answered. He, too, has been ignorant of Josie’s charms until he barges in one night carrying a gun shot wolf.
I liked that this was a departure from the previous book which was more urban in setting and involved pack politics. This was more of a scientific whodunit. The wolf that Eli brings to Josie is really Lupine (shapeshifter) and to her surprise and dismay, the wolf does not heal nor can she shift. Worse, once the wolf’s mate is found, he, too, shows signs of a mysterious Lupine illness which is resulting in an unexplainable high white blood count.
I really enjoyed seeing Josie use her training and skill as a veterinarian as she tried to ascertain the source of her patient’s medical problems. Her employment was an integral part of the storyline. Having no medical background myself, I can only say that the medicine sounded right and added a layer of realism to the paranormal setting.
I liked their courtship which included the sudden realization of the other as a sexual and attractive being and then the banter and flirting which followed. Unfortunately, the characters move from not even knowing the other existed to true love within five days. Love is faster than a speeding bullet in this book. The rapidity of Josie and Eli’s feelings for each other were disappointing because it seemed like care had been taken to create a basis for their relationship that extended beyond the common “mate bond” that so often fills these books.
This build up and then disappointing denouement to plot points happened more than once. For example, much is made of Josie’s levelheadedness. She promises not to interfere with Eli’s investigation, after all she is human and he is preternatural. But she violates this promise to her detriment in a kind of silly way. Eli thinks about the best way to bring the villains to justice, such as considering what testimony he will need to get a conviction but then violates basic probable cause requirements (i.e., you can’t just go breaking into someone’s home to make your case). The scientific mystery held my attention for most of the book and the resolution seemed so over the top that, again, the careful planning that went into it seemed for naught.
Paranormals have a tough time catching my attention these days so that fact that I read this in one sitting, even despite some of the disappointments, means I’ll be on the look out for the next Other book. B-
Proviso: This is a St. Martin’s Press book thus the current ebook price is listed at $14.00. Also, no nook link because apparently BN isn’t selling the ebook even though its subsidiary, Fictionwise, has it.
Second Proviso: I have no idea what is going on with Warren’s website