Dana Gibbs, a biologist who specializes in wolf behavior, is in Arizona to attempt to participate in a search for the culprits in a number of brutal and bloody killings. Some believe a pack of wolves is to blame and Dana wants to make sure that, even if that unlikely prospect is true, the wolves are studied, not slaughtered.
Morgan was a practicing psychiatrist before unwillingly taking part in a ritual that made him a werewolf. Now he lives by himself in a cabin in the wilds of Arizona, hoping to put together a cure for his curse.
The book opens with the ritual that changes Morgan's life. I thought making the cause of the werewolf curse an actual magic spell was an interesting and refreshing take on the typical werewolf tale.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story didn't maintain that level of freshness. I found the actions of the characters to be frustrating and foolish. It seemed that plot point after plot point was brought about by someone doing something stupid. Dana's ineptitude was particularly hard to take because it involved her seeming to have no clue about animal behavior whatsoever. Hard to believe since she's a renowned animal behaviorist. But all these moments were clearly contrived to drive the action and that was extremely frustrating.
The leads don't really spend enough time together, in my opinion, to create the kind of bond needed for the climax of the story. Morgan is forever leaving Dana alone in the cabin while he goes off and does his thing. We get a lot of repetitive inner monologues, but not much dialogue between the two of them before they're suddenly hopelessly devoted to one another.
The book is a romance and does have a sex scene. This was a particularly uncomfortable part of the book as it crossed the line that always presents itself with werewolf /shifter stories. I'm talking about the bestiality line, of course. Even if I'd been enjoying the story up until that point, I would have been taken out of it for the freakishness of the scenario. I've given the story a "sensuality rating" of 3 because it basically fits the parameters, but the discomfort caused by the scene might rate it a little differently (I didn't find it "sensual" in the least) for individual tastes.
I liked the setting, a lot of snow and backwoods, and I liked the feeling of isolation that the author conveyed. It was eerie and effective. I liked the leads well enough (when they weren't pushed into empty-headed behavior to contrive a plot point) and wished their story could have been more satisfying than it was. And, as I said above, I did like the werewolf mythology in the world building. I thought the way Dana discovered Morgan was a werewolf was particularly clever.
Unfortunately those things that I liked were not enough to overcome the unfortunate contrivances in the story.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Beanbag Love.
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