|Cathy Clamp & C.T. Adams: Hunter's Moon|
TOR (Paperback), ISBN 0-765-34913-2
Tony Giodone's latest client gives him a run for the money. Tony grew up in the Family, and he kills people for a living. Sue Quentin, a recent lottery millionaire, wants Tony's skills used -- on her. Sue can't take any more of her selfish, overbearing, manipulative family and wants Tony to put her out of her misery. Despite his instincts, she intrigues him, and he wants to hear her whole tale.
But Tony's other life comes into play when the full moon peeps out. A fairly new werewolf with no training and werewolf knowledge, Tony can't control his change or his violent nature. He barely manages to shove Sue out the hotel room door before changing. The next morning, he finds her soaking in the bathtub, alive and well, even though he believed he would find little more than a bloody mess.
For her part, Sue doesn't seem repulsed by his werewolf nature or his assassin profession. Tingles and chemistry pull the two into a steamy affair, and Tony ends up as Sue's body guard and security consultant.
But a trip to Vegas puts Tony on the run. An enemy named Leo tries to set Tony up and make it look like Tony planned to take out his boss, Carmine. Tony gets his hands on evidence of the frame. He high-tails it out of Vegas and goes straight to Carmine. Carmine and Tony don't let on that they know about Leo's plan and set up a trap of their own. But the violent power struggle puts Sue in danger as well.
Cathy Clamp and C.T. Adams weave a suspense-filled mob tale with more twists than a pan of lasagna together with steamy romance and the werewolf legend. And they do it masterfully, though the first half of the novel could use a bit more polish. It felt a little rough around the edges, but final editing hopefully fixed that (I read an advance readers copy). The last 50 or so pages barreled along swiftly as the action sped up.
The authors' vision of a shapeshifting world -- hierarchy, leadership, history -- unfortunately got crammed into about 10 pages. It made sense with Tony's backstory, but I would've preferred they spend a little more time and space to explore that would. Another little quibble came with the names. The authors occasionally selected similar names for different characters, making for some momentary confusion. Even so, the authors seem poised to give Laurell K. Hamilton (who blurbed the book) some serious competition. Hunter's Moon, despite its occasional roughness, reads vastly better than anything written lately by Hamilton.
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