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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifBerkley Publishing Group (Paperback), ISBN: 0425181995
Like their bloodsucking brethren, vampires, werewolves occupy the top rungs of the tortured, romantic hero hierarchy. No longer just a second banana, Sue Krinard's heroes do for furry what Lestat and Dracula did for dentures -- and do it with great style and panache.

Book: Susan Krinard, Secret of the wolfIn the Napa Valley of the 1880s, Dr. Johanna Schell struggles to hold her professional and personal life together. Her father, an early practioner of the fledgling science of psychiatry, suffered a massive stroke that left him mentally incapacitated. Trained to follow in her father's footsteps, Johanna does her best to keep Haven, the new asylum her father and she established out west, running.

Responsible and caring, Johanna even takes in a drink-sodden man she finds on the grounds of the asylum, despite the fact that she can barely afford to care for her current patients. Quentin Forster, however, doesn't fit anyone's notions of a model patient…or an alcoholic. And the longer Quentin stays at Haven, the more Johanna begins to understand that all of her patients possess secrets that can destroy her -- Quentin's most of all.

Under hypnosis, Quentin reveals that he not only believes in werewolves, he believes he is one. Quite delusional, poor man, Johanna thinks, and one who definitely needs help. Yet, as time goes by, Johanna finds she needs Quentin's help almost as much as he needs hers. Little by little, Johanna and Quentin work towards resolving Quentin's inner demons and fall in love.

Unfortunately, other demons -- one from Quentin's past and another stalking a young girl under Johanna's care -- approach Haven. Will Quentin and Johanna resolve their differences and reconcile Quentin with his dark side in time to save Haven?

Book: Susan Krinard, Prince of WolvesIn this continuation of the Krinard's Forster saga, Krinard once again gives her readers a solid, well written, engrossing story. I found her heroine, Johanna, particularly enjoyable in her guise of responsible, sensible, Valkyrie-sized doctor. No petite fainting flower, Johanna accepts the dangers of living in the West -- and falling in love with a werewolf -- and strives to overcome them with the same determination that characterizes her beleaguered hero.

In addition, Krinard provides a refreshing take on the werewolf myth. Forget those old-fashioned, snarling and howling Lon Chaney, Jr., clones. Instead, Krinard's werewolves realistically and chillingly echo real wolf behavior, and their "curse" seems more a gift than a burden -- for those who accept it. And Krinard truly shines in depicting her heroes' (and heroines') journey towards acceptance.

If you can accept the paranormal in your romance, I highly recommend you give Secret of the Wolf -- and all of Krinard's fantasy romances a read. You won't be disappointed.

Teri Smith


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