I took up December's
challenge to find new authors and show them some support. These may not be new authors in the sense that it's their first book, but they were new to me.
I have read Tor books before, but only sci-fi/fantasy. I read that they had branched into romance some time past, but I hadn't read any until now. C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp have come up with a doozy in Hunter's Moon
It's told in first person, through our "hero" Tony Giadone. The story starts with a Sam Spade vibe, one of those It was a rainy night in the city by the bay, with a fog so thick you couldn't see your own thoughts
kind of thing, which I totally dig. Tony is meeting a woman in a bar, a potential client. He takes all kinds of precautions, because Tony is a paid assassin. The woman nervously explains that the person she wants whacked is...herself.
This is where I was really glad it was told in first person. The woman, Sue, makes Cinderella look like Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Seriously. Her drunk, needy mother and abusive sisters have treated her like a servant all her life, and now think they own her since she won the lottery. Yes, the lottery. She knows they will never leave her alone, and she will be guilted into taking care of Mom (who purposely fell down a flight of stairs to make sure Sue would take her in) and paying for everyone the rest of her life. She can't stand the thought, and is so emotionally abused she thinks her only way of escape is death.
I'm so glad I wasn't allowed in her head. I wanted to whack her myself and get back to the good stuff with the hunky hit man. If you can get past this plot point, she does get better. It's all so over-the-top, I was morbidly fascinated. Tony is attracted to her, but that's not why he refuses. She's too recognizable, and that's bad business. I have to say if you can get over the he-kills-people-for-a-living thing Tony is great. Sue pays him to listen to her, just so she can talk it all out. He takes her to his hotel, where he rents a suite on the top floor for three days every so often. Can you guess why? I'll give you a hint: one these three days, there's a full moon.
Yes. As if a lottery winning suicidal wimp who is too scared to do it herself and hires a hit man isn't enough for you, he's also a werewolf. At this point, there's really no reason I should have kept reading. There are so many things wrong with this. But it's kind of like Springtime for Hitler- it shouldn't have worked, but it did.
Tony politely offers to hit Mom and the sisters, but no. They're family, after all. Sue puts the hit on hold, and she and Tony start dating. Oh- she's not weirded out by the werewolf thing at all. Seems she saw one when she was just a tyke, who protected her when she was lost in the woods. I couldn't help thinking: She can't tell her mother to take a hike but she's brave enough to sleep with a werewolf assassin? Whatever.
It was cool to read about Tony dealing with his new senses. Smell takes on a whole new meaning to him, and he associates scents with emotions. Fear smells like hot and sour soup, etc. He can even take delight in discovering new ones, and he uses the new sharper senses in his work. He does occasionally do jobs for the local mafia. While exploring his relationship with Sue, who is going to therapy and growing a spine, Tony fights a rival mob boss who, we find, is also a shapeshifter.
We're then told about the Sazi, werepeople who will go to any lengths not to be discovered. Tony's part of that society now, but he isn't happy about it. Suffice to say, Sue is Tony's mate, only she's human and that's not supposed to happen, Tony and mob people fight, but are sighted by local media and so are taken into the Sazi Protection Program, and Tony and Sue are given new lives with papers to prove it.
Tony and Sue become so close that they have a sort of telepathy; a function of mates. And here's the one passage in the book that made it all worth it. Tony goes out on a job. Sue, who is in his head, "sees" what he's doing and is appalled. Contradictory, she knows, but being faced with the reality of what he does throws her. Tony whacks the guy, then lays it down for Sue: I was raised this way, and I don't have a problem with it. You knew who I was when you got involved. Deal. I imagine this is why Sue is such a pushover- most women would back away at this point, but I can see Sue caving in.
I liked it, probably because it's one of the few times I have seen the Alpha hero of a romance stay Alpha. They always get wussified! Twu wove changes them into softened mama's boys that can't stand the sight of blood. Tony has to change occupations in the strict social world of the Sazi, but that's to keep Sue and himself alive, not because he's discovered his feminine side.
The true GRRRRR factor in this book? The sequel. Tell you about it later.