It's been some time since I've read a paranormal romance that I thought was worthy of a five star rating, but Red is just that. It's the start of a new series and it's definitely written in a more gritty style. The main voice of the story is Red, Gina Santiago, a member of an elite tactical team whose job is to enforce the rules in the new and different world 150 years from now. Gina's reputation is rather uncomfortable as her nickname 'Red' has come from the large amount of deaths when she's investigating. It's not that she's a murderess, rather more that she's trigger happy, but her colleagues don't connect with her and she feels alone.
The second point of view of the story is that of Morgan Hunter, Sheriff of the town of Nuria. Morgan, and most of the others in his town, have a secret - they're slightly more than human. The 'Others', as these are known, are thought to have been a fairy story or at least a species that died out long ago. Morgan wants to keep the reality a secret and as Alpha of the Nuria Werewolves he is in a position of responsibility. When a woman turns up dead, apparently savaged by a wolf, he realises that one of his group may have gone rogue, but knows he has to deal with it himself, without outside authorities, as then they may find out that the Others do indeed exist.
There's a third narrator to parts of this story - the murderer themself. It's rather creepy reading these passages and those who dislike blood and gore won't get on with this part of the book. However the three different views enable the story to move along at a good pace.
When Gina discovers a dead body that appears to have been mauled by animals she has a hunch there's more to it than just animals and decides to investigate, in her holiday time, the nearest town, that of Nuria. Once she arrives she meets Morgan Hunter and there's an instant attraction. But there is more to it than that, as Gina and Morgan investigate together Gina may find out rather more than she wants about both Morgan and herself.
This book was a very enjoyable read. Despite the fact that I guessed the identity of the murderer by halfway through, it was still gripping to watch as events unfolded and as Gina began to realise what she was dealing with. Although Gina becomes the killer's prey I wasn't ever really afraid for her safety as a reader but was interested in the different layers as more and more people lined her up in their sights. Although the book is clearly the start of a series, most of the loose ends were tied up. My one criticism was that I didn't really understand the motivations of the killer, or of another significant 'baddie' in the book, and how the killer and this other baddie ever connected initially. There were some interesting plot directions involving a vampire or two and, although the characterisation wasn't always that in depth, the story felt well-rounded. Overall this is a great start for a new series.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008