Never Cry Wolf (Night Watch #4) by Cynthia Eden
June 28, 2011
I know it’s a bad sign when I sit down to write down my thoughts on a book and I can’t quite recall the character’s names and I have to look at the book again just to refresh my memory. That just about sums up my reading experience of Never Cry Wolf by Cynthia Eden.
Sarah King is a charmer, that is she’s a woman who can talk to wolves. In this story we are told that charmers are rare, but that each charmer generally can only talk to one kind of animal. There are lots of kinds of “other” beings out there too from shifters to vampires to demons, and in this world the “other” are very much your typical fare (secret from humans, normal ‘rules’ seem to apply). Lucas Simone is the Los Angeles area wolf alpha – a strapping specimen of wolfy manhood.
Our story opens with Lucas in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. As he contemplates going wolf and ripping his way out of jail a woman walks in giving him an alibi and he is set free. Of course this woman (Sarah King) has come to him because he’s the one man who can keep her safe and alive.
The problem is – the plot and most of the over played drama was nonsense. No, really. The whole “this guy is after me” and all the double crossing felt complicated during the book but at the end it all shook out real simple. There’s a bad guy – the heroine’s ex lover – and he needs to die. The heroine is constantly thinking about how she has to lie, deceive, and otherwise conceal truths from Lucas. Yet when it all shakes out there really is nothing all that bad in her history. It is a pet peeve of mine when authors manufacture angst and torchy emo characters that end up feeling ridiculous and like drama queens instead of adding emotional depth to the story.
So we have a liar of a heroine who is utterly without personality. She is a good shot, and she’s constantly thinking of herself as strong and capable – other than that she’s forgettable. She’s paired with an alpha male who is the classic ‘had to avenge dad’s killer at young age, the weight of the world is on my shoulders’ kind of dude.
I also didn’t like how the shifters were portrayed in this book. From page one they’re considered animals in need of a leash:
“His pack had to know where he was. A leader didn’t just vanish, and if he didn’t make contact with them soon, Lucas wasn’t exactly sure what would happen.
Probably hell on earth… or wolves running wild in LA, which, yeah, that equaled hell on earth. Especially if he wasn’t there to keep the wilder wolves on their leashes.
Everyone already knew that wolf shifters had a tendency to dance on the edge of sanity. Once those leashes were gone… hello hell.”
Animals in need of leashes? No, that’s not good stuff if they are the ones that are the lead in this book. My true nature is to be a psycho killer, but with this leash I can be the stuff of romance novel dreams? No. I won’t even get into the “I love you” scene in this book (to paraphrase: What is love? Me alpha wolf. Me have rough life! Me no know love.) – it wasn’t good.
That really is the bottom line – between the cardboard characters, the plot that had twists but ultimately was overly simple, the lack of reasons to believe in this relationship or why these people were so into each other outside of sex, and the utter lack of world building or unique elements this book just wasn’t a good read for me.
I know that this author has other books that are related to this one and that characters show up in those – but I don’t see how that could have increased my enjoyment or added any richness to the reading experience of this novel. I believe it stands alone just fine. At this point in my reading, it takes a special paranormal story, characters I’ve not seen before and a plot that is gripping for me to really like a book from the PNR genre.
While I can’t come up with something specific to say that is positive about this book, I did not ever consider DNF’ing it and I did enjoy some of the scenes and plot lines even if they did turn out to be underwhelming or disappointing.