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Killing Moon (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Jun 2003
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Warning - spoilers below!
Megan Sheridan is a researcher in a biotech company who has her own specific project that she's working on but she keeps getting other basic work handed on to her by her boss. One such job is to take a blood test from a guy to do a genetic test on him. When she arrives at the home of Ross Marshall she finds him laying naked in his lounge and mostly unconscious. Upon further investigation (wouldn't you?!!) she discovers he has a fever and has been shot. She instantly turns from medical research worker to nurse and looks after him, despite him telling her to bog off. Interesting character switch for her there!
Ross is a werewolf. We learn a little about the werewolf situation in this book which isn't traditional (unrelated to the moon - despite the book's title! - but passed down genetically although with very tragic results in most cases). Ross is a Private Eye and he seems to be very successful in detecting serial killers, passing on the information to policeman Jack Thornton - although it's not really explained how he actually finds all these leads (I am unsure how helpful being able to turn into a wolf would be in these situations). Anyway, Ross has identified Donald Arnott as a killer who has bodies in his garden and was shot on the way back from checking the scene out.
Our story is told through four points of view - Megan, Ross, policeman Jack Thornton and Donald Arnott the serial killer. The tension builds slowly throughout the story - will Arnott kill again, who is trying to hurt Megan, why are there problems at the biotech lab - but it never really grips completely. Most of the story seems to be Megan slowly realising that her lover is a werewolf; this part of the story is done quite well - she doesn't instantly accommodate to this rather bizarre piece of information but it seeps in over some time. Still, we are told that their relationship has been caused pretty much by Ross's hormones and it isn't apparent what else the two of them have together that could make it work out. Plus she doesn't seem very good at keeping secrets at all, and Ross is, necessarily, a secretive chappie.
As often in fiction, magically at the end of the book, despite not having done much work, she makes a breakthrough in her biotech work which sets her up financially for life. This kind of thing is so rare in real life it always seems rather cheating for it to happen in fiction - and in this case unnecessary as Megan's future is pretty sorted anyway.
So overall, did I like it? Well, it was OK. The writing was OK. The worldbuilding for the werewolves was OK. The plot was OK. The resolution was OK. I think you've got the picture.
I found this book by chance and it is a perfect book for when there is nothing on the TV. A nice couple of hours with this book and some Diet Coke.
But the tension is a bit light at parts and if you put down the book you won't be dying to find out what happens next.
But saying that the story is realist, you could see of it happening and the non-roaring at the moon does fit in.
I will read the other books in the series.
In Killing Moon, we are introduced to Ross Marshall, the eldest surviving brother. Ross is quite a lonely character, in part due to his tempestuous relationship with his father and estrangement from his brothers, and in part due to his career as a PI. Ross has sworn off women, as he is at the age when his Mate (read: one and only) will come along, and knows that the werewolf magnetism will draw her in and bind her to him whether she's truly willing or not. In addition, all girl babies born to werewolves die at birth, and half of the boys die during puberty, and Ross doesn't want to condemn a woman to this sort of cursed lifestyle to suffer the way his mother suffered.
Fate intervenes, of course, in the shape of Dr Megan Sheridan, a genetic researcher who comes by Ross' house in reponse to a request for an investigation into his "genetic legacy" (i.e. the werewolf thing). Megan finds Ross bleeding and unconscious from an infected bullet wound that he sustained whilst investigating a serial killer, and stays with him to nurse him back to health, falling in love with him while she does so. Naturally, the course of true love never runs smooth - Ross' reticence when it comes to relationships, Megan's shock at discovering that her beloved turns into a wolf, and the serial killer Ross is investigating all provide roadblocks on their road to happiness.
I did quite enjoy this book, although it didn't capture me emotionally the way some of Ms York's Light Street books have done. The plotline was pretty solid, and Ross' family backstory provided enough emotional material to justify the extra length of the book without feeling like a Silhouette book that had been fleshed out with unimportant details.
Our hero and heroine are nice enough people, if a bit forgettable, and although I wasn't holding my breath and praying for a happy ending for them (the way I was during "Nowhere Man" or "Shattered Lullaby", two of Ms York's best - IMO - works) I was still hoping they'd find a way to make it work.
The parts of the book written from the killer's POV can be quite stomach-churning (then again, I have never liked crime novels unless they're comic, so YMMV here) and we are treated to a sex scene involving the killer, presumably to illutrate the difference between his filth and the honest passion between Ross and Megan. Nothing gratuitous, but frankly any kind of sex scene that involves a serial killer is a bit icky for me, so I feel the need to warn anyone who might share my squicks.
My main bug-a-boo about this book is that Ross doesn't really seem like a very good PI. Now, I'm quite happy to have a hero who bumbles things at times, but I think that it needs to be clear within in the book that that's what you're getting. There are no indications here that Ross is supposed to be anything but brilliant at his job - indeed, Detective Jack Thornton, a secondary character who occasionally works with Ross (seen later as the protagonist in "Edge of the Moon") repeatedly mentions how good Ross is at what he does. Yet he makes several glaring errors - doing recon on the killer's home and dropping a cell phone that can be traced back to him (why on earth does he not have a cheap, pre-paid cell with no data stored on it, that he only uses for this purpose? I know they were available when the book was written), driving away in a vehicle with the license plates visible so the killer can (and does) then use the beginning of the number to track him, and later buying a pricey, rare item with a credit card from a shop in the mall where the killer works (jeez, go to a different mall or buy online, it's not hard) - that even I wouldn't make. And I'm not a PI. Although I do work with teenagers, so I suppose I've soaked up a certain amount of sneakiness. But still, these seem like such rookie mistakes and I can't buy that a seasoned PI would make them. I suppose they were necessary to the plotline, because they provided a way for the killer to track Ross to his home in the inevitable confrontation, but they felt contrived.
That aside, though, this was a perfectly readable book, even if it didn't enthrall me. It was a good summer sunbathing read, which is really all I wanted, and interesting enough for me to buy the next three books in the series.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story bounced around so much it was nearly impossible to follow. I am unable to provide a brief synopsis of the plot because even after reading it I still don't know what exactly this book was about. Ross and Megan who were supposed to be the main characters were robbed. This book focused on every detail in explaining secondary characters, sub plots and the occupations of characters the main characters and main plot suffered greatly.
For those who enjoy paranormal romance and werewolves I would not recommend this book, it lacks in just about every capacity.
The Cons - I found the writing at times a bit melodramatic and like a bad soap opera. I wish that there had been more reason for attraction between the main characters then just happening to be in a certain place at a certain time. And, I know that other reviewers commented on the use of "god" in the conversations, and repeated use of the names of the characters.
Anyhow, this book is not a "keeper" for me.
The trouble is, if he's a regular guy, then there's no magical attraction to make Ross and Megan come together. And aside from that magical attraction there's not much development of a relationship. Instead there was a lot of time spent detailing Ross's past and why he's so determined to avoid getting romantically involved.
I finished it, but won't be reading more.
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