Reviewed by Mandi
When this review request came through, I was so intrigued. A marine, turned into a werewolf then locked up in a laboratory? Sign me up! I expected a very alpha, growly, broken werewolf. Right? But instead we get Roy who isn’t really alpha. Not really growly. Broken because of PTSD but even that didn’t resonate with me. Roy was dying in Afghanistan when his buddy bit him and turned him. Then people found out and he wakes up in what he thought was a hospital but it’s more of a lab. Bright lights and electronic equipment hurts him and so he instinctively knows he has to leave the lab to stay sane. So he turns into a wolf and escapes the lab and ends up living in a barn out by a deserted cabin.
This cabin belongs to Laura’s father. Laura was a bank teller whose bank was robbed and people died. Let me stop here for a minute and recap Laura’s early life. Her father is a con man and made Laura turn cons as a teenager. As an adult, Laura continued to con people. I like the idea of a con artist heroine. In particular, Karina Halle writes a very fascinating con artist heroine who doesn’t always walk the side of good. Very interesting scenarios can be brought up when you do this. However, Laura, I come to learn, is just too perfect and doesn’t con good people. When Roy asks her if she gives the money she steals to those in need:
“Well, do you?”
Sounding embarrassed, Laura said, “Not widows and orphans specifically. I funnel some of it into homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters and no-kill animal rescue places.”
This annoyed me. Why be a con artist when you end up doing this? Which I know is a horrible thing for me to say, but Laura is so saccharine for my tastes, her good deeds annoyed me! When Laura’s bank is swarmed by armed men, she tries to ‘con’ the robbers by tricking them. This ends up with an innocent being killed and Laura blames herself. Except – for most of the book she is bubbly and warm, not someone who feels major guilt over someone dying by her watch.
It also bothers me when Laura sees Roy turn into a werewolf, while she had never known supernatural creatures existed. There is really no reaction from her. This is a pattern I found with Laura throughout the book. She accepts everything. She doesn’t challenge anyone but the set-up villain. She doesn’t show any emotion or passion. It’s all – positive. I didn’t believe for a second she was a con artist, growing up with a con artist father.
I was also disappointed in the villain. His demise was anti-climatic. And Laura and Roy profess their love early in this book and I felt like they had no chemistry.
I don’t mean to dump on this entire book, but it is a frustrating read. Nothing felt fleshed out – the characters or the world. It’s more that we are told over and over how honorable Roy is but how sad he is because of PTSD, and how sad a life Laura has had. But we don’t see it. As a reader, I never felt emotions towards them in this book. It’s a miss for me.