Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.
Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.
Off The Beaten Path is one of the best stories I have read or listened to this year. The actual plot, characters, and settings were fresh and interesting even when it was a shifter story. The world-build goes hand-in-hand with the current time and it’s easy to imagine this semi-dystopian place where werewolves are part of everyday society.
The pacing in the story gives the reader enough information about where the story was heading without missing the opportunity to include small details like smells and the weather. Even the type of cars, electronics, and clothes played an important role without weighting the story down.
The only thing I wanted more of were details about the pack’s life after everything was set and done. How everything changed and how everyone reacted. How they dealt with the changes and the new work—if any—the alphas got assigned.
Overall, this is a perfect story for those who want something different. It has a lovely romance, the right about of smexy times, a lot of flirting, angsts, and drama without taking from the tension and the serious side of the plot. It has great balance and a hit of humor.
The narration by Jack Wesley gave the book the extra push needed to make it four dimensional. It was more than then narration, it was the whole production. From the characterizations to the distinctions when the scenes took place outside or over the phone. Even the video calls had their own distinct feel. It was worth listening to it.
The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows Ward and Henry in front of a setting that matches the story’s descriptions. It really works.
Narrator: Jack Wesley
Length: 6 hours 23 minutes
Published: January 12, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English