“I’m alpha of my own pack of one…”
– Silver by Rhiannon Held
Dare calls his pack leader for advice but instead of finding some kind of compassion for the tortured shewolf, his orders are to essentially find out what pack she came from and send her back there asap. Dare – a lone wolf himself with a tragedy-filled past – sees a kindred spirit in Silver and, together, they begin the quest to find out who she really is, where she came from, who tortured her, and why. Thus begins a journey that takes the two cross-country to the Northwest where – while maneuvering through a potential minefield of complex werewolf politics – Dare and Silver ultimately find the answers that they’re looking for: answers that could lead them, and all werewolves, to their doom…
I loved how Held’s storyline revolved around two outsiders – the stark contrast between Dare and Silver’s fierce independence and the pack mentality was quite intriguing. Also, I enjoyed how Held took one of the biggest werewolf clichés of all – silver bullets – and used the subject matter in a new and interesting way. Her fusion of American history – the original Roanoke colonists – into the werewolf backstory was also fascinating (Andrew Dare is the grandnephew of Virginia Dare). The mystery element was well done and, tonally, this novel was comparable to mystery-powered paranormal fantasy sagas like Kat Richardson’s Greywalker novels.
But although this was a satisfying read for me, I was left feeling that something was missing. My biggest disappointment was that the burgeoning relationship between Dare and Silver could’ve been much more intense, much more intimate. That lack of physical connection (and I’m not talking about sex) made the characters seem a little less endearing to me somehow.
I was left wondering who exactly this book was aimed at. Paranormal fantasy fans will undoubtedly want more romance and dark fantasy fans will want more splatterific action and adventure. Silver falls in that gray area between the two…
According to Held’s website, Silver is the first installment of a new series so hopefully we’ll know more about where Held ultimately takes this storyline in the very near future.
Bottom line: readers who enjoy werewolf-powered fiction will find Held's debut novel undeniably original and the beginning of what could be a fantastic series.
ALSO OF INTEREST: The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo
If the heartrending circumstances surrounding 28-year old Nicholas Pekearo – an NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer and aspiring writer who was shot and killed in the line of duty while patrolling Greenwich Village, the very neighborhood he grew up in – isn’t enough to compel hardcore crime fiction fans to seek out his posthumous debut novel, his singularly unique narrative voice surely will. An unusual blend of Bukowskiesque misanthropism, Lovecraftian horror, and hard-boiled existentialism à la Ed McBain, the intimate first-person narration of The Wolfman makes it a simply unforgettable read.
At first glance, Marlowe Higgins seems like a typically flawed noir protagonist – he’s an ill-tempered Vietnam vet who has drifted from job to job ever since returning home from the war a changed man. He has a propensity for sarcasm, profanity, binge drinking, and sudden outbursts of psychotic violence (he has a “right hook from hell”). Although he has never had a lasting relationship – he’s currently “seeing” a prostitute named Alice – the 40-year old is a die-hard romantic with a heroic code of honor. And he also happens to be a werewolf who, when transformed into the beast, is nothing short of “the wrath of God.”
Having slaughtered more than 300 people since his return from the war, Higgins – who retains the memories and mannerisms of all he has killed – has vowed to use his torturous affliction for the greater good. Every full moon when he becomes a primeval “boogeyman," he tracks down criminals in the region with the help of information from his friend Danny Pearce, a detective with the local police. But when an infamous nomadic serial killer begins killing off innocents in the area, the monstrosity that lives inside Higgins may have finally met its match…
Crime fiction, paranormal fantasy and horror fans alike should cherish this outstanding debut, which tragically could’ve been the beginning of a phenomenal genre-blending saga the likes of Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt saga or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Bravo, Nicholas Pekearo, rest in peace… – Paul Goat Allen
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!
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