Note: There are necessarily spoilers for previous books in the Alpha and Omega Werewolf “Fripper” Series. (What’s a Fripper? See my post, here.)
Charles is the son of the Marrok, or head of all the werewolves in North America. He also serves as his father’s enforcer, meting out justice [a.k.a. death] to werewolves who are threatening the good of all by doing politically incorrect things, like eating humans. Since the werewolves “came out” to humans and the Marrok imposed stricter rules on their behavior, there has been too much killing for Charles to do. Charles feels overrun by the ghosts of those he has dispatched, and fears that they will make their way through his mate-bond to his beloved Anna, and threaten her sanity as well. Therefore he virtually cuts her off, to protect her: no soul-to-soul communication, no sex, no cuddling, no nothing. Anna is not happy.
The Marrok thinks it might help if Charles goes with Anna to Boston, to help solve a crime involving a serial killer who is targeting werewolves and fae in addition to humans. In Boston, the two work as consultants for the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and a new organization, Cantrip – the Combined Nonhuman and Transhuman Relations Provisors. The investigation heats up when Lizzie, the daughter of the important fae Alistair Beauclaire, goes missing – presumably the next victim of the killer they seek. As they all struggle to find out who and where the serial killer has taken Lizzie, their own lives become endangered as well. And worse, Anna and Charles are not communicating through their mate-bond, which not only impacts their relationship but inhibits the investigation. The fact that one can be fairly confident how the story will end does not diminish the page-turning suspense of the denouement.
I love how the paranormals make fun of one another qua paranormals. For example, Isaac, the hip and streetwise alpha wolf of the Boston pack, calls Alistair Beauclaire Lord of the Elves. He is full of admiration for and even trepidation of Charles, but this doesn’t stop him from making jokes about him as well.
I love how the Marrok, the most fearsome leader of all the werewolves in North America, makes breakfast pancakes in the shape of deer for his son and his son’s wife.
I love how Charles, uniquely among the werewolves, has a self that is separate from his “brother” wolf, and the two communicate with each other, sometimes even disagreeing with one another.
And I love the relationship between Anna and Charles – at least when it’s working! In this installment of the series, there’s a great love/sex scene in the woods while they are tracking the serial killer, but otherwise, romance unfortunately takes a back seat to politics and crime solving. (As you may know, according to “Entertainment Weekly,” a “shipper” is “a fan who’s deeply invested in the romance-or the possibility of romance – between two characters.” Well, you might call me a were-shipper of sorts, so obviously my favorite aspects of this series are the sequences when Anna and Charles are bonding, physically or otherwise.)
Evaluation: This is a fun series that fans of Charlaine Harris and Kelley Armstrong would have no problem coming to love. You could read this without reading the previous books in the series, but why would you want to?
Published by Ace Books, part of the Berkley Publishing Group, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 2012