“Cry Wolf” by Greta Stone

This book is a bit of a grab bag of different styles and genres, loosely following the old tale of Peter and the Wolf. The opening is from a lighthearted children’s fantasy, with a group of orphans living in a giant shoe preparing to do battle with stereotypical redneck invaders. (Most of these characters are not seen again until the final pages.) Then for 10% it’s an orgy of violence, as darker powers take over. Then the story literally moves to another world with a new backstory and another plotline for a three-month detour, including a further sidestep where the main character incurs a serious debt that is completely forgotten for the rest of the tale. Once Quetzalcoatl shows up, I’m completely lost. Then suddenly we’re into homoerotic pornography in incredible anatomical detail. The climax is a fine example of a modern paranormal magical battle.

The book is like several different stories cut and pasted together, all somehow connected, but we never find out why.

Despite this, the novel has a lot to recommend it. The writing is forceful, with marvelous descriptive power and emotional clout. Because of the canine nature of the shapeshifter main characters, odours become far more important than usual, and form an important part of the setting.

Unfortunately the manuscript contains may minor editing flaws. A tick that is suddenly a flea is no big deal, but it does rather distract the reader from the story. Sentences with extra or missing words have the same effect. What seems to be an important character with a developing plotline walks off with no explanation and is never seen again.

This is powerful writing, but uncontrolled like the creatures in the story. Emotions surge and wane for no apparent reason. Magical powers appear when needed.

Recommended for adult modern paranormal readers. Recommended also: a good editor. This novel could be so much more than it is now.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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