Thursday, October 20, 2022

Charlie Adhara - Cry Wolf

After taking down an old adversary, Agent Cooper Dayton of the Bureau of Special Investigations has earned a break. Not that planning a wedding to his sexy shifter partner, Oliver Park, is necessarily stress free, but it’s better than worrying about the ominous warning, delivered months ago, that Cooper’s life is in danger.
When he’s dragged to an event by his family, Cooper braces for an awkward evening, but instead finds himself in the middle of an ugly feud between Park’s ex and a rebel pack leader. What was supposed to be a quick outing turns into a full-blown murder investigation after the pack leader ends up dead, Park’s ex goes missing, and Cooper and Park are sent a series of disturbing wedding gifts that are somehow connected to it all.
The list of potential suspects is long, and with the bodies piling up, Cooper must turn to the one person he trusts the least: the villain he’s already put behind bars once and who has nothing to lose by lying and everything to gain if Cooper is out of the picture—for good.

Comment: This is the final installment in the Big Bad Wolf main arc series. It concludes the general story line where Park and Cooper are the main characters but another book has been released, featuring Eli as the main character. Eli has been a secondary character therefore I have confidence we will still be told things about Park and Cooper as well, even if the focus isn't on them anymore.

For the last installment of this original series, Park and Cooper are engaged and still debating on what exactly to do for their wedding. While on a family outing at the zoo, where his brother's wife is now working, Cooper is surprised to find Eli pretending to be a regular wolf at the wolf habitat and what he believes would be just a joke or something easily fixed, turns out to be a complicated murder investigation. Since they can't ignore they are federal agents, Cooper and Park investigate, they alert their boss and things become tricky the more they discover... but when clues have to come from an enemy, can they trust whatever is being shared? Will they solve the mystery of these deaths?

For a final installment, this was a very action paced novel and quite intriguing. Although, I must say that, if a series is consistent and features protagonists we like and who have a stable relationship we also like to see portrayed on the page, then everything always seems to feel better, to have cohesion and there is also a sort of hidden or assumed notion that no matter what, all will end up well. There's something to be said about this feeling, often dismissed as a given, but not that easy to accomplish well.

I like Cooper and Park as a couple and I feel the dynamics of their relationship have evolved and improved a lot since the first book where it felt as if Park didn't share enough about werewolves so Cooper was always guessing and that felt very frustrating in that first story. Since they are in love, an established couple and so on, the same dynamics are now stronger, better, show them at a better place as a couple and while this isn't meant to primarily be about romance, it is an ongoing aspect and I'm happy is got better too.

The mystery is, as always, intriguing, because at first it might seem as if some details aren't as important and when we learn about culprits and reasons, some of those details turn out to be much more significant. Someone is attacking people who might have some idea about Eli's past and some of the secrets he hides, and at the end of the story we get to learn more about him and how he is connected to the action here, which, in turn, connects a little to the overall idea of the werewolves and how they exist in packs and also to some things we learned in the fist book.

The author has obviously planned the whole series ahead and now many things make sense, even though each plot was built up and solved on its own. I think some details were too good as red herrings for I felt a little confused here and there, but.. since there is a well balanced mix of plot and romance, that was often important to make it easier to keep reading and to want to see what would happen next, even when it felt like some things might not matter.

As for the villain of this book... honestly, it felt like a caricature and some of the explanations were very superficial and not that believable. I still consider the whole book to be positive because this isn't the only element to think of here, but I'm certain this could have been done better. Or perhaps instead of this villain, another character might have been a better fit.

I knew reading this book would be a good experience and, all things considered, I liked the good things more than I disliked the less good ones, so the average is definitely a good one. I suppose there are some elements which I'd like to know better regarding the whole werewolf world but if there is a spin off of this series, perhaps that will advance things as well. At least, I'll hope so.
Grade: 8/10

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