Title: Chasing Shadows
Author: Jez Morrow
Cover Art: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: Chasing Shadows
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/ Paranormal/ Werewolves
Length: 49,000 words
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Exciting concept but surprisingly uneven execution results in a frustrating read.
Blurb: Upon witnessing a sultry, naked young man turn into a wolf after a car crash, Detective John Hamdon thinks he must be pretty messed up. When John’s beautiful hallucination arrives at Chicago police headquarters as a new detective, John knows he’s perfectly screwed. John can’t tell anyone he saw the new man turn into a wolf when John doesn’t believe it himself.
Detective René Bast from New Orleans is sexy, irresistible, and all wrong. John finds it tough to investigate a series of murders when he’s sure he’s riding shotgun with the perp. John knows his new partner has a past, but Bast’s records got washed away by Hurricane Katrina. Even as John digs into Bast’s ties to a Chicago crime lord, Bast won’t stand still to be hunted. It’s clear that John Hamdon is running from his own past. Bast turns the hunt around, even as he’s falling for the man he may need to kill.
All the ingredients for a good and quite original take on werewolves, or rather loup-garou were to be found in this book. I liked the writer’s development of the werewolf mythology and the Chicago police department setting had the potential for some gritty realism. Unfortunately the inconsistent quality of the story telling resulted in it being rather a disappointment overall.
The main characters were compelling, and had that special- way over the top- charisma Jez Morrow’s hero’s often have, but both seemed somehow reluctant to commit to actually being in this book, almost fading in and out. Sometimes they were imagined with almost too much intensity at others with an off key casualness. At one very significant point in the book, I had to stop and reread because I thought I must have missed a section. A major emotional development came out of nowhere with insufficient build up. Moreover John’s reaction’s to this event seemed underplayed while Bast’s were unexpectedly heartfelt. This left me feeling unconvinced.
Both John and Bast had complicated back stories and their dramatic involvement skidded towards melodrama. I also found that their points of view were not always quite reliable. In terms of the plot sometimes this worked well enough, at others times it made me feel detached from the action. There was a tendency to overextend the idea of story twists here, especially towards the end, when there was just too much going on.
Some scenes showed touches of flair, with some good sharp dialogue with the occasional one liner, often by the occasionally fabulous Bast, that reminded me tantalizingly of other and better work by this writer. Frustration was my main emotion while reading this- as somewhere in the undergrowth here a very enjoyable book was trying to fight it’s way out.