For readers who like Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books and Patricia Briggs’ shapeshifter tales featuring Mercy Thompson, Faith Hunter has crafted an engaging paranormal/urban fantasy series based on the main character of one Jane Yellowrock, the last known skinwalker and vampire hunter extraordinaire. Skinwalker is the first book in the series and sets up a world of paranormal beings living amongst the non-magical in the Crescent City of New Orleans.
Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker. She can change into pretty much any animal though changing into larger animals with more bulk is a little more complicated and her preference is for large cats. She also has an inner beast that at times fights her for supremacy, but they cooperate with each other in order to get the job done; the job being killing vampires. Since Jane is a vampire hunter by trade, it comes as some surprise when a vampire hires her to track down a rogue vampire in New Orleans. Jane’s go-to detective form is a mountain lion/panther and it is in this form she prowls the streets of the Big Easy in search of the rogue, that is not only killing people but seems to be making new vampires without permission as well.
Jane gets mired down in vampire politics over the course of her investigation and of course this puts her in danger more than once. Also in danger is a local man who thinks Jane may be horning in on his own investigation and it is this local man who provides one of Jane’s main sexual attractions of the story. A big dog vampire is the other and the reader wonders throughout the story just whom Jane might end up with. This is probably the most disappointing aspect of the book as the romance (or lack thereof) takes too much of a back seat for my taste. The mystery of the rogue vampire is slow to get going, but once the background is set up, it’s easy to settle in for an enjoyable ride. Jane is a little grumpy-sliding-towards-curmudgeonly and it takes a while to warm up to her, so readers should be advised to wait at least until the halfway mark in this book to judge the main character.
This author is not going to topple Andrews and Briggs from the top of the urban fantasy/paranormal/shapeshifter heap, but she definitely provides a distraction in between release dates for the above mentioned authors and has done a solid job of setting up her series. If readers like this first book, then there are nine more waiting in the wings.