Friday, December 6, 2013

Draw One in the Dark by Sarah Hoyt

So, I read According to Hoyt, Sarah's blog, nearly every day, and I find her commentary thoughtful and interesting, but I must confess that so far, though I've read Darkship Thieves, the first 50 pages or so of Ill Met by Moonlight, and a collection of her short stories titled Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, I have yet to find a series novel by her that leaves me thinking "Oh my gosh, I gotta read the next book!"

Kyrie is a waitress in a small cafĂ© in Goldport, Colorado, who hears a scream in the parking lot out back one night, and steps outside to a scene that totally changes her world, probably forever. For most of her life, since adolescence, she has been able to convince herself that her memories of shifting to the form of a great black panther are merely hallucinations or extraordinarily vivid dreams, but when she encounters a bloody, mauled body outside, her visceral reaction to the blood scent is to immediately shift to her animal form, where she is surprised to find she is not the only shifter on site, there's also a huge Nordic dragon who, in human form, is Tom, a hard luck case that the owner of the restaurant, Frank, hired to cook there. As Kyrie is trying to get a rather stunned and blood soaked Tom away from the crime scene, a third shifter shadows them for a time, in the form of a great golden-maned lion, who later turns out to be a police officer, Rafiel.
(Sorry, folks...missing some paragraphs as originally written here. The following makes no sense without them. Darned laptop touchpad messes things up all too often.)
I kept pushing on through, though, as I really want to give Sarah a fair shake. The dragon triads keep after Mark, and then Sarah, and they eventually force Mark's estranged father (a sleazy lawyer) to try to track him down and convince him to give up the magic jewel, which Mark has hidden in a rather creative location. We later encounter a were-coyote murder victim, and then some were-scarab beetles (what's up with the clues on the identity of the scarabs? The first clue was plenty, she didn't need to show one of them sparing the life of another insect; are they really related, and then should all were-mammals band together to stop killing Bambi?), which for me is where it went even further off kilter. Are there actually any non-shifter humans left in the world, or does everyone have a shifted shape that they merely haven't been forced into yet. Were-slugs? Were-poodles? Were-bunnies?

I love Sarah as an astute observer and blogger, I really wish I could find her books nearly as readable as her essays. I pushed through to the happy ending, but I'm not particularly motivated to find out what happens to Kyrie and Tom and their friends.

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