Review of Timothy (Leopards Spots #3) by Bailey Bradford

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Rating: 3.5 stars

Dr. Timothy Trujillo, a snow leopard shifter, has arrived in Mongolia to work on the Snow Leopard Conservation project working to save the species from extinction. But Timothy also has another agenda.  He is searching for answers about his families history.  All Timothy and his family back in Colorado know is that his grandmother came from Mongolia and that her clan was killed when she was a child, leaving her the sole survivor.

On their first day in town Timothy and his best friend, Dr. Dane Calderon spot a gorgeous  man watching them intently.  it becomes even more worrisome when that man follows them through the streets of Dalanzadgad to their hotel. Tall, dark and handsome turns out to be Otto Marquat, son of the head of the Snow Leopard Conservation Programme and a Snow Leopard shifter too.  Timothy is stunned by that fact and he is overwhelmingly attracted to Otto in every way.  Timothy is lost without any of the shifter history or culture to aid him now that his cat’s instincts are taking over.

Otto Marquat has a job to do for the project and for his family.  Otto tracks down poachers and turns them over to the authorities.  Right now he is on the trail of a particularly nasty poacher, one who threatens the lives of all Snow Leopards in Mongolia, animal and shifter alike.  He is unprepared for Dr. Timothy Trujillo as he recognizes immediately that Tim is his mate, something Otto thought he would never find.  Not only is the timing bad but Timothy is acting like he is unaware of their status as mates.  Now Otto has two mysteries on hand, that of the identity of the poacher and the reason behind the curious naivete of Timothy. Together, Timothy and Otto must find and stop the poacher before they can go forward with their lives, and the poacher will stop at nothing, including torture and kidnapping, to reach his goal – the death of the snow leopards.

Of the three books in the series so far, Timothy is my  least favorite, or more accurately less satisfying.  I loved Bailey Bradford’s characters and  think she did a good job with Timothy and Otto.  Timothy was an unknown going into this book and I feel like I really got to know him by the end of the story.  Timothy is insecure about his looks as he and Oscar (Leopards Spots #2) are the only members of his family that share the same physical characteristics of blond hair, blue eyes and a smaller statue.  He feels bland, made more so by his best friend Dane, a character I adored. It takes Otto, a strong character to show Timothy how beautiful he actually is.  In fact the relationship between Timothy and Otto is based on mate attraction and sexuality in a strictly animal sense at the beginning, so much so that it almost obliterates the plot line.  I like that it is their animal natures that draw them together and not a case of instant love.  And yes, two cats in heat would forget about nothing else for a while but I felt that while it was very hot, I wanted more exposition to go along with it.   Other characters such as Steve and Lona, Otto’s parents and Ganzukh, Otto’s friend and Mongolian wrestler, are equally well done.  But Dr. Dane Calderon, Timothy’s best friend, almost steals the book away so vividly is he portrayed.  In fact he is easily my favorite character, not a good thing in a book called Timothy.

The plot line also gave me more quibbles to contend with.  Timothy’s main reason for his trip to Mongolia is to trace his family’s history.  As far as Timothy and the rest of his family are concerned, they are the only snow leopard shifters alive as his grandmother’s family were slaughtered in their native land, leaving his family ignorant of all shifters and shifter cultures. And yet is he stunned to learn that Otto is a Snow Leopard shifter too? Not really, Timothy seems to take it in stride whereas most of us would have been flattened by such a stunning revelation that here is his journey’s goal in human form. To know who you are is a powerful impetus and I had been looking forward to learning the family’s history.  And yet in the book, it is given short shrift which completely baffles me.  All that is mentioned is “oh yeah, I heard about a clan getting killed, too bad it was Timothy’s”.  We learn nothing!  How do you set up such a great plot line and totally abandon it? And even Otto’s  shape shifter family background is given shallow treatment too.  We get a mystical element towards the end which doesn’t really make much sense and then an abrupt ending.  Timothy asks Otto to marry him and that’s all she wrote, folks, leaving huge holes open in the plot that are never resolved (what happened to that poor boy, why was he tortured, what happened to Dane and Ganzukh, will Otto’s sister ever get laid, on and on it goes). What makes all of this really a shame is that the elements were all there for a great story and the author either ignored them or blew them up in her own fashion.

I want to see who is the focus for the book in the series is about. We now have two continents of snow leopards as locations. We still have that situation with the cougars in the States, and Oscar’s wolf pack but quite frankly, I want to know what happens with Dane and the Mongolian wrestler too.  I am just sorry that  after the joys of Levi and Oscar, their cousin, Timothy, didn’t bring as much to the table.  Lets hope for better luck next time. And please, give us Dane and Ganzukh story too, they deserve it.

Books in the series in the order they should be read:

Levi (Leopards Spots #1)

Oscar (Leopards Spots #2)

Timothy (Leopards Spots #3)

Cover:  Another glorious cover by Posh Gosh.  I wish the book lived up to it.

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