REVIEW: Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes Book 5) by Angel Martinez
Book five in the Offbeat Crimes series
Hoax animals and a consulting vampire on the prowl—ACO Jason Shen never thought having a cop boyfriend would be this hard.
All Animal Control Officer Jason Shen ever wanted was a quiet life of rescuing lost kittens and helping animals in need. Having a paranormal cop boyfriend guarantees an end to the quiet part. What at first seems like a random encounter with jackalopes in the park might be more than chance and when State Paranormal sends a handsome, charming vampire to consult with the Seventy-Seventh, he finds his relationship with Alex on shaky ground.
Officer Alex Wolf hoped his humaning skills were improving but now he can’t unravel the strange politics at State Paranormal or why Jason’s family seems to hate him. There’s no time to puzzle things out, either. Bizarre animals are loose in the city, Jason’s acting strange—and is the vampire captain from State flirting with him? Wolf’s going to have to keep his head in the game if he’s going to have any chance of putting the pieces together and keeping the city safe from the strange critters terrorizing its streets.
Dear Ms. Martinez,
Things are getting real now as the “Offbeat Crimes series heads into the last two books. The feeling that someone is out to get them is crystallizing among the members of the 77th Precinct – the abnormal abnormals . They’re the paranormals who do the weird stuff like telekinesis with fruit or being able to talk to wild birds.
Right now, they’re being called in to State Paranormal because of the fall-out from the paranormal villain take-down in the last book and none of the officers are looking forwards to being sneered at by the asshole werewolves and snooty vampires in Harrisburg. Things initially go exactly as feared with a vamp snob curling his lip at them. And that’s before they even get grilled by the Board.
Back home with only warnings and desk duty for Kash, the officers regroup and start policing only to encounter more strangeness in the form of “hoax animals” come to life. Jackalopes in Philly parks? Woofen-poofs attacking at a shelter animal charity event? Hoop snakes at Kyle and Kash’s wedding? Some weird magic is being let loose and it’s obviously being directed at them. And oh joy, after Alex sniffs out a similarity between the first two events, it’s enough for State to send down a consultant (77th reads it as a babysitter/snoop). Nothing like having the vamp snob among them especially as he seems to be flirting with Alex.
Alex is a wolf though and a “one man” wolf at that though ACO Jason Shen is having trouble believing that Alex won’t eventually tire of him. After all, he’s not a hot shot doctor like many of his siblings. Will Alex remain happy with Jason given how Jason’s traditional family acts towards them. Trying to figure out humans is hard enough for Alex but this minefield plus an unwanted vampire flirtation and bizarre animals might just be too much for him.
When we left them at the end of “Feral Dust Bunnies,” Alex and Jason were settling into their relationship but things were far from HEA stage. Though Alex’s adopted Mom seems to like Jason and approves of her son’s relationship, there were hints that Jason’s family life wasn’t as accepting. Then there’s Audacity who is now firmly Alex’s furry daughter.
Audacity likes things done “just so” and is not shy about expressing her feelings about supervising her dad as he gets ready for work – without her standing watch Alex could drown in the shower or cut himself shaving. Like one of mine, Audacity uses the seat-down toilet as a convenient way of hopping to a good vantage point. I also get paws under the bedroom door to hurry me along out of bed.
The officers at the 77th precinct have been excited about the engagement of Kyle and Kash but Alex was surprised at Jason’s reaction and coolness towards it. After experiencing Jason’s family’s hostility towards him and his relationship with Jason, it makes more sense – or might if Alex was better at “reading” human facial expressions and actions. He does feel the negativity though.
Alex also misses understanding if the State vamp is flirting with him but thinks Jason might not be happy about it. That along with the Shen family cold shoulder has Alex worried that Jason might be getting tired of him and his problems “humaning.” Meanwhile Jason fears that his strong, heroic cop boyfriend might be more interested in a fellow cop and paranormal rather than plain ordinary animal control officer him who has no ambitions that match his siblings’ accomplishments.
Despite not always catching on to human interactions, it is Alex who puts the pieces of the hoax animal plague together and has the skill to discover the “who” and how to interact with her. His innate kindness and fondness for his mother also helps him crack the Shen family reserve and begin to take part in their “pack.”
I enjoyed watching Alex and Jason work out their relationship and how the it felt like an organic part of groundwork of that was laid in their two books. It was also great to see the officers of the precinct pulling together to solve the crimes. The question of the master villain behind the plague of strange events that the officers of the 77th have been dealing with is still a mystery much less why they’ve seemingly been targeted. I’m looking forward to All Being Revealed in book six as well as seeing how badly wounded Krisk is doing and hoping that Kash and Kyle will finally be able to go on their honeymoon after their fabulous fusion wedding. And if Audacity takes a major role in the last book, I won’t be upset. B