Title: All American Wolf
Author: Adriana Hunter
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Suspense\Thriller, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
When a dead, naked body is found frozen in the snow, recently promoted Detective Serena Daniels is assigned to the case. Determined to be taken seriously, she sets to work unraveling the mystery, one suspect at a time.
Brody Sullivan is a man with many secrets and he also just happens to be Madison County’s newest citizen. So when he ends up on the list of potential suspects, it is Serena’s job to clear his name. There’s just one problem: Serena’s felt an undeniable attraction to Brody that ignited from the moment they first met, and if she’s not careful she may lose more than her job, she may lose her heart to the man who is willing to break every one of her rules.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I read this book as part of the Fated Mates Box Set, so I am planning to give a review to each individual book in the set, and then the set as a whole at a later date. There are twelve books in the set, and it is currently for sale on Amazon for $0.99 at the time this review was written. This is Book 1 of 12.
I really enjoyed this book. From a technical standpoint, with the exception of maybe one error I found, the book was well written. The narrative felt both natural and personal to the main character, Serena, and moved along at a pace that never seemed to slow. I was immediately drawn in to the engaging voice the narrative is written in, and I didn’t surface again until near the end of the story.
As far as the characters go, Serena was both likeable and easy to understand. Throughout the book there were moments when she let poor judgment override her better sensibilities, generally when the two main males were involved. In most stories, this would have irritated me. If you take a long hard look at the situation Serena found herself in with the two male love interests, in hindsight it’s easy to shake my head and say “What on Earth was she thinking?” Not only did she put herself into a compromising situation romantically, but she also put her safety, and her career in jeopardy. I can only say that it is a testament to the author’s writing abilities that at the time these events occurred, it seemed like the logical choice. I didn’t feel put off by her personal choices—in fact, I probably would have made the same decisions she did! The ability of the author to pull the reader so deep into the character’s mindset that they, like Serena, fail to see the warning signs of what’s going on, exemplifies how well written this was.
As for the male leads of this story, Brody was kind, stable, hard-working… everything we girls love in a main male lead. He was sexy and warm-hearted without being broody or over-bearing, and it was a nice change in this genre. He was, as the title states, an all-American wolf (well, shifter that is). When it came to Wes, that’s where my loyalties split. He initially came across as dark, charismatic, and sexy-as-hell. Of course, he also set off a few warning bells for both Serena, and me, the reader, but that didn’t deter either of us from drooling over him. I don’t want to post any spoilers, but I wasn’t surprised to see how this story went in this love triangle, but I think the author did an excellent job making both choices appealing almost up until the climax of the story.
Now here’s where it fell apart for me: There came a point near the end of the book (I think two chapters from the end?) when the story began to wrap up. The major fight was over, the choice of the main couple was solidified, and all the drama/murder mystery aspect of the story was over. The book felt complete at this point. I expected to turn the page on my Kindle and be faced with the title page of the next book in this set… but that isn’t what happened. The story continued on for another two chapters that, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do with the main plot. They were the quintessential “neatly tied bow” on the story that is so typical of romances these days, basically showing how happy the couple is and the plans for their future. Had the story ended where I thought it was going to, I would have rated this story much higher.
Unfortunately, with the extended ending, things seemed to be wrapped up a little too neatly. It also had the unfortunate side effect of bringing me out of the story and highlighting the questionable choices the main character made throughout the book. She started off the book as a strong female detective, trying to fight against the male-dominated workplace and solve a murder mystery. She wasn’t actively looking for a relationship. By the end, she’d given up her career and her home, put her own life in danger, and compromised her work on the murder case by sleeping with two suspects. Honestly, it made me a bit disgusted with her. Up until that point, I was fine with all of her choices, but once it crossed that line of “engaging story” and into “neatly tied up romance”, it had lost it’s appeal. I really wish the last two chapters had been scrapped. In the end, I gave it four stars, because the ending ruined it for me.
So did I like the book? Yes, I really did. It was short, but well written. Would I read it again? Definitely, but I’d avoid the last two chapters if I could. Would I recommend it to others? Certainly. If you’re a paranormal/romance reader and you like murder mysteries, give this one a try.