Taming Her Mate
Detroit’s water has been poisoned with a serum that gives humans flu, but more seriously, gives shifters a form of ‘roid rage, triggers transformation in unsuspecting latents, and even causes some humans to become hybrid human/shifters. Detroit police officer and Grizzly Bear shifter Detective Ryan Kennedy is on the case, which is leading him to…
Wait. Stop. This book is #6 in a series, and it was my first, so I can’t tell you what’s a spoiler and what isn’t. I liked it enough to suggest if you’re curious or looking for a good shifter series, that you go back and start with the first book, The Bear Who Loved Me. That’s what I wish I’d done, because I think I’d have enjoyed this one even more if I’d understood some of the elements better or had a longer investment in some of the characters.
If you’re going to do that, go now. The rest of this review will contain spoilers.
Okay. Ryan Kennedy is on the case, which is leading him to the sewers, where he gets beaten up in an ambush by shifter wolves before he is saved by Francesca Wolf.
Frankie knows that her brother Raoul Wolf is behind the poisoning, and suspects he is manipulating her alpha father, Emory, into condoning it. Frankie’s goals are to stop the poisoning and then take over the pack herself. The only problem – not just that she’s female, but that she shifts into a hybrid, not a regular wolf. She’s eager for Ryan’s help on the first goal, but the rest she considers pack business. To Ryan, the pack is just as subject to the laws of the city as anyone else. If Raoul and Emory poisoned the water, they are to be arrested – whether or not that’s what Frankie wants.
That’s a great conflict, and the parts of the book I enjoyed most centered on it. Ryan is a seriously good cop, and a scene in which he talks to Frankie about accepting that she cannot force her pack to make good choices, using examples from his career in gang work, is rational and thoughtful. I also liked the first paranormal mate-detection scene; that chemistry was excellent. However, the later sex scenes didn’t live up to that first one. I appreciated that the author made sure to get the characters into holding patterns in the investigations before letting them boink, but she left out the small details (a text from the character they’re waiting for that gives a long-distant ETA, for instance) that would have made the decision to stop and do it more plausible.
I wish Lyons had gone a little further in polarizing behavioral differences between humans and shifters. Frankie’s loyalty to her family borders on delusional, for instance, and the passivity of the shifter women in the climax is weird – unless it’s a biological wolf thing, so I wish the author had put a bit more into that. Maybe it was explained in previous books, along with some other information I’m sure I missed, like the actual nature of hybrid status, the magic that powers shifters, and the qualifications of alphas. I also couldn’t figure out if shifters were fully or partially living underground, and the epilogue, which describes humans apparently simply ignoring the many people who shifted during the Detroit poisoning seemed totally implausible.
I recognize that this review has fallen in the trap that always seems to catch my B-grade reviews, which is that I become obsessed with the things that kept the book out of the A-range at the expense of describing the good that got it all the way to a B. This is a good, solid shifter book, and the world is distinctly different from other shifter worlds. Read in order, it might have been a B+. I discovered Kathy Lyons through her other pen name, Jade Lee, and I’m glad to have more from her.