Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

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Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Not quite this author's best, but this romantic tale of battling werewolves does engage with a strong momentum to make for some fine action.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841497945

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It is not easy to move in with a werewolf. He is two hundred years old or more, and you've been a werewolf for three years. He comes with generations of baggage, a father who is the capo di capi of werewolves in North America, and a job as his assassin and general fiery dogsbody. You are only just beginning to get to grips with your new status, and his temperament, and how they are expected to mix before you're confirmed as a couple. So when it comes to him clearing up a mess with regards to a lethal, rogue werewolf nearby - making humans take too much notice - the timing could have been better.

This book suffers a little from jumping in at the deep end, although in one regard it is the first in the series. There was a shorter fiction before this, which might explain the mess we begin with that Anna is leaving behind - a fractured, abusive band of werewolves she has escaped from, with the help of hunky new 'man' Charles, and more than a few killings. It's a beginning that might not help, but the investment in working out who is who, who is getting left behind and just what and who her new life might entail, pays off.

Before too long we are seeing Briggs' usual finely crafted lore, as the headstrong and esteemed Charles, and his new friend, are accepted (or otherwise) within their pack and community. Anna, it turns out, is an Omega, to his Alpha male, which makes her headstrong in a different way, as well as more maternally calming. A skill that might be needed when too many people are being found killed in the wintry woods nearby.

Your appreciation of this book might hinge too much on whether you accept the reasons for Anna and Charles to be the party involved in clearing up the mess, and it did at times seem bludgeoned into place. Beyond that we get a good urban fantasy in an unusual setting - gone is all literal urbanity, and we're tracking across mountainous wastes in search of death. Beyond that the genre styles are used to a T - the romantic side of things prominent but never getting in the way of proceedings, which mount up to a long, sustained drama that both gets us into the minds of our protagonists, and creates tense action.

All this amounts to a great mix of strong characterisation, and a plot to keep one pinned to the pages as they race by. I still have a final reservation, however, in that this book, as it is set in a werewolf world, does not have the diverse characterisations and species interaction of her other series, which began with Moon Called. It has slight cross-references, however, so is definitely set in the same world. Fans will regardless be eager to cross over, but they may find as I did the thrust of the concluding drama a lot more satisfying than the more tentative build-up.

This, as I say, is a second series from this author, and they seem destined to run in parallel, with the sequel, Hunting Ground, published in the UK in October 2009, with the fifth of seven in the parent cycle in 2010. Once again their UK cover design is better than the American original - one further reason for me to thank Orbit Books for my review copy.

The latest - and best - book from Briggs prior to this was the highly commendable Bone Crossed.

Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega Series in Chronological Order

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