Lone: subtitle Wolves of Haven, Book One by Danae Ayusso sports a cover that you might not want your kids to see when you first open your Kindle with the intent on getting the little ones interested in reading. Or maybe you have precocious kids and you believe in exposing them to everything (with parental guidance). This is a werewolf book, not to be confused with a vampire book. The reader will not really know this in the first few chapters. It will appear as a normal cops and serial crime killer book but rather oversexed from the start. Then it gets into more fantasy with accompanying fantasy sex. Not a book for the family. So much for the warnings. And, by the way, I like this novel.
Sergeant Detective soon to be Lieutenant Akia de Wolfe (a werewolf book, Wolfe?, get it? Was this really necessary?) Evidently it was, because these not-so-subtle allusions in name choices pervade the book. At any rate, before the reader even figures out Akia and Captain Damian Nikas are soulmates (this is not a spoiler) the two are constantly engaging in hot and heavy sex without the knowledge of others in the Boston police department. This is a pretty neat trick because, from experience, cops gossip a lot. It might be their reaction to always having to prove things.
Akia gets called to the family home in Canada to help out in the investigation of serial killings in which the bodies are deposited around the perimeter of the family compound. Akia’s father is in jail; it looks like a frame-up. She hasn’t been back in fifteen years due to a huge family rift which is one of the mysteries the reader will want to hang around to see resolved. There is also the serial killer mystery as a “Stray” has been killing several victims using progressively more creative ways of torture. To repeat, this is not a tale for minors. There are a lot of gruesome depictions of violence. Akia’s investigative skills extend to the morgue, more descriptions of horror here.
Akia arrives at the family home as a skilled investigator on vacation. Damian is not with her. After the homecoming scenes, the reader is definitely aware that Akia is a werewolf with issues. The reader seems to know before Damian that Akia is a werewolf. Don’t bet on that. Akia believes Damian doesn’t know, that is good enough for now. Akia definitely didn’t want to bring Damian home to her non-traditional family. They are outspoken in all matters related to sex, getting some of the family members to wear clothes is a real problem, there is a bunch of gay sex going on in the family, so that would also count as incest. Then there is bestiality, but maybe that only counts when they assume canine form. And all family members are male except for Akia.
Eventually, Damian gets himself assigned to visit Akia in an official capacity to help with the serial killer investigation. Or maybe it was arranged by corrupt higher officials. There are a few mysteries that the reader might lose track of with all the other stuff going on. It might surprise the reader to find out Damian is also a werewolf, although from a rival family. This is not a spoiler; it’s revealed early in the book. Readers can sigh with relief that the Akia-Damian relationship will probably survive in that they both love each other. Constantly. And continually. Nine-hour sessions stretch more than the imagination. But even when everyone seems to know the identity of everyone else, there is still Akia’s secret and the identity of the serial killer. If the reader can hang on and get through some of the weird fantasy stuff, there are surprises as rewards at the end.
I liked the book, but I am not going to recommend it to my son. On the other hand, if he read it he might quit asking for a dog as a pet. Decisions, decisions.