Blue Moon, by Lori Handeland

>> Thursday, April 20, 2006

book cover
Blue Moon (excerpt), starts Lori Handeland's Nightcreatures series, which is in its fourth entry by now.

By the light of a blue moon, danger prowls—

Miniwa, Wisconsin is under siege, but not by the usual summer tourists. The area's normally shy wolf population has begun stalking human prey, and their victims have been disappearing... or worse. Something is happening in the woods. Something brutal and primitive…

and desire is unleashed...

Officer Jessie McQuade has seen plenty in her years on the force—but nothing as intriguing as the gorgeous, naked man she encounters while tracking a rogue wolf. Professor Will Cadotte is a Native American activist. He's also the only man capable of distracting Jessie from her work. And for a cop, distraction—no matter how pleasurable—can be deadly. It's against Jessie's better judgment to accept Will's help in her investigation, yet she soon finds herself doing exactly that—and more. Will's dark, penetrating eyes see into a part of Jessie's soul she never knew existed. It's exhilarating...and terrifying.

Now, as a town's deepest secrets come to light, no one is safe: not friends, lovers, or strangers. And as Jessie follows a bloody trail to the shocking truth, she'll have to decide who she can trust when the moon is full...
I really don't know why I haven't read many werewolf romances, because I've quite liked most of the ones I've read -including this one. A B.

Jesie McQuade is a police officer in the small Wisconsin town of Miniwa. She's pretty much the opposite of a girly-girl and is a really good hunter and tracker, so when one night she's called to the site of an accident on the highway and finds a woman who seems to have been bitten by the wolf she hit with her car, Jessie immediately takes off after the animal. She tracks it to right outside a mysterious cottage in the woods, where she loses the track and finds a beautiful naked man with some brusing on his hip.

The following morning, Jessie receives another emergency call, which brings her right into a horrifying situation at the elementary school. Rather than a "typical" school shooting, which was what Jessie was expecting, she finds that the accident victim from the night before (a teacher at the school), has gone berserk and basically eaten the principal. When Jessie arrives, she's ready to continue her meal with one of her students, but she and her boss manage to shoot her before she does.

And this is only the start to a bewildering succession of incidents, which makes even the anti-woo-woo-stuff Jessie begin to believe there might be werewolves around in her town, and that it might fall to her (and to a very strange old hunter) to stop them from taking over.

Not to mention that, to add to an already stressful situation, in the course of her investigation she's forced to work with the Professor Will Cadotte, who happens to be the only expert on Ojibwe matters around and the very attractive naked man she met on the woods on the day in which things started to go bad.

Blue Moon was a real page-turner. Handeland managed to combine the romance and the werewolf stuff wonderfully, so whether she was concentrating on Jessie and Will or on the very strange things going on in Miniwa, I basically couldn't put the book down.

I really enjoyed the direction in which she took her werewolf plot. The explanation given was fresh and original and fascinating, and I liked the way the scene was left all set up for the following books, all the while closing the action in Blue Moon perfectly. Jessie is perfect here, a bit doubtful and scared sometimes (as befits a normal woman who comes face to face with all this weirdness), but also kick-ass enough when she needed to be. The only thing I didn't like was how Handeland didn't really resolve the "is Will a werewolf or isn't he" conundrum. Don't want to give any spoilers, but this area was a teeny bit unsatisfying.

I think I liked the romance even better than the paranormal plot. At first, I was a bit doubtful, because I just didn't like the way the tough Jessie went all gooey and girly and silly with Will. Soon, however, this element of the book really hit its stride, and it became hot and sweet and really romantic. These two had some lovely chemistry, and even though I might have liked a little more development in the romance, what there was did make me buy it completely.

Book 2 in this series is Hunter's Moon, which fortunately I already have in my TBR. It probably won't be long before I pick it up.


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