Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
This book is the second in the series and it would help to read them in order, but there is enough subtle recapping to read this alone. The series has a fun modern noir vibe. Be aware they describe brutal murders and this case deals with cannibalism. Lowell is a gruff, cuddly sort. Being a packless wolf shifter and ex-cop makes him a little prickly what with the prejudice and lack of respect the public has for either. Lowell’s boyfriend and business partner is John, pyrokinetic and mystery author. How he manages to not set certain people on fire makes him a better person than me. The series is set in Boston and they serve a diverse praeternatural community. They get hired by a young Terran named Fergus to look into the murder of his Beast (lion shifter) boyfriend Mateo. Lowell’s obnoxious hedgehog-shifter stalker is back to help with the case. The reader gets to see more of John’s friend Macy. I hope she gets to help on a case in the future. The few “good” cops are highlighted as helping them. As with the first book, most of this is “pounding the pavement” to solve the case with brief moments of their life they try to fit in around trying to find the killer and not getting killed.
Soon the bodies start to pile up. The victims being packless allows the opportunity of learning more about werewolf culture and pack structure. The blatant prejudice against packless with an actual hate group was sad. Being packless seems a lot like being shunned and has spiritual implications also. It is against the law for packless to form a pack, so they are afraid to even be friends or gather in groups for anything social or meaningful life events. I definitely want to see some activism on that front in future books.
As always, John is a bundle of energy and much a source of amusement. His complicated relationship with his mother is a source of stress that being with Lowell gives him the strength to deal with. Lowell has the strength to emotionally deal with the way things happen with his mother’s pack thanks to having John. These two are just so cute together and the love scenes are hot, but also emotionally move their relationship forward. I may have unfairly judged the first book because I think I have been reading a lot of science fiction in which the world building is all in the first book like a huge info dump–then I get upset if it’s never used or revisited again. This series works the other way–the world building happens gradually in the stories as more characters are added that the author will revisit again in the future and the reader will learn more about them when the time comes. Overall, I enjoyed this book. As with any P.I. series there will be some cases more interesting than others, but with likable main characters, intriguing side characters, and poignant social commentary to give this unexpected depth, I will continue to read these.
The cover was designed by Aisha Akeju. It matches the first cover in the series and catches that modern noir vibe well, but doesn’t give you much about the story
Kindle Edition, 193 pages
Published March 25th 2019 by Less Than Three Press, LLC