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REVIEW: Thunder Moon by Lori Handeland

Dear Ms Handeland,

Book CoverYour books are like potato chips or popcorn or anything smothered with chocolate. I can’t stop reading them anymore than I can restrict myself to one serving of a snack that’s bound to go straight to my hips and stick there like superglue. Sigh. Just when I think that you must be running out of supernatural legends or myths to bring into the Jager Sucher world, you trot out another one and write a book about it. And yes, I did google the subject of the latest paranormal beastie to bedevil your characters and also noticed a bunch of other legends listed at one site in particular. Seems like every group/clan/bunch of people have their own particular bugaboo to scare them in the dark.

After reading last years entry in your Nighcreatures series, “Hidden Moon,” I knew that Cherokee sheriff Grace McDaniel would a heroine at some point. She’s another of the “tough as nails” women you seem to specialize in and of whom I can’t get enough. But while some heroines like this end up grating on my last nerve, yours have enough of a sense of humility and poke fun at themselves enough so that I can laugh along with them.

Grace is competent at her job, willing to roll with the punches, cares about the people she’s been sworn to protect, even the drunks and rednecks, and can track almost anything that walks through the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Georgia town of Lake Bluff. Things which move right through solid objects and can fly might stump her for a little while but she soon figures out what to do about them too. I also like that she doesn’t get along with Elise Hanover (Dark Moon is one of my least favorite of this series) as I can’t stand Elise either. So sue me.

Books written in first person don’t bother me. In fact I often enjoy them quite a bit but sometimes I do miss not having the other lead character’s point of view. Since you usually have your heroine suspect her hero of being the baddie for at least a little bit of the book, I can see why you need to restrict what we the readers know but I wistfully wonder what goes on in the minds of these heroes. Ian Walker, another hero with secrets in his past, pops up in Grace’s world right when things start to go wonky and the music from “The Twilight Zone” should start sounding in her head. It doesn’t help Grace’s equilibrium that the heat between these two sizzles like the thunder which starts the story. But she is clear headed enough to order her deputy to investigate Ian’s bona fides as a doctor.

I like Ian yet I felt that some of his revelations were veering towards deus ex machina territory. I also didn’t care for Elise Hanover’s closed mouth. Yeah, I did mention I don’t like her, right? One character I was happy to see again is Doc Bill, the local ME. I bet he could entertain a lot of people at the next medical conference he attends.

Looking back at some of my previous letters, it would appear that many of the issues that annoyed me are ones which still do so I guess I just need to deal with it for future books. But then, what’s the deal with the Jager Suchers? Is this the end of this series? Or is there more to come? I couldn’t help laughing at the way Grace follows their underground actions by reading the tabloids but if it works for the MiB, then why not a small town Sheriff. From the excerpt at the end of “Thunder Moon” it seems that you’ve got a new series planned. I await it eagerly. B


This book can be purchased in mass market. No ebook format. Please, St. Martin, please get with the twenty first century.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Jill Myles
    Feb 14, 2008 @ 16:20:28

    I liked this book a lot, but mostly because of Grace. I pretty much guessed the ‘bad guy’ right away, and I thought the hero wasn’t that interesting. But Handeland has a terrific voice and she’s definitely an auto-buy for me.

    I do wonder at the cliffhanger at the end…and I’m eagerly looking forward to Handeland’s new series!

  2. DS
    Feb 14, 2008 @ 20:11:09

    Amazon has a Kindle edition. I downloaded the sample chapter because this sounds interesting. Any problem with starting with this one? (Mixing up the books in a series does not bother me if I can make sense of them. I read the first four books in C J Cherryh’s foreigner series in total back ward order so you can see my tolerance is high.)

  3. Jayne
    Feb 14, 2008 @ 20:53:15

    I think you should be fine starting with this one. One nice thing about this series is that the past heroines/heroes aren’t all hauled out for each new book to show us how happy they are or what they’re up to. You could also refer to her website which has information about each book in case you get lost — but I doubt that you would. The main thing to remember is that horrible beasties are loose in the world and that a super secret organization was formed after WWII to help hunt them down and keep the majority in the world from knowing that these monsters exist.

  4. Ann Aguirre
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 11:44:08

    I was just talking to my husband about Lori last night. He was asking for more recommendations for reading material. He’s been frustrated with the last batch of urban fantasy — he said he feels like the author is either good at creating heroes, but the secondary characters are cardboard (or vice versa). So I mentioned Lori as being really good at characterization.

  5. Review Round-up! « Urban Fantasy Land
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 14:54:41

    […] Dear Author review’s Lori Handeland’s Thunder Moon. […]

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