This is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. She’s our first person narrator and also a “skin walker”, a kind of shape-changing witch from Native American lore. Since she has the habit of turning into a coyote, she was sent to be raised by a pack of werewolves in a small Montana town. Now she’s in Washington state, living next to another werewolf, and running a one-woman garage she inherited from a gremlin.
A few of the magical beings came out to the public a few years ago, but most remain in private, including the werewolves and the vampires she’s paying protection money to. Or at least she would be paying if she could afford it. Fortunately, one of them is trying to restore an old VW bus, so she’s working it off in trade. So, she was not entirely surprised when a teenage werewolf on the run showed up at her doorstep looking for help.
As you would expect, hijinks ensue. The folks chasing the young werewolf start sniffing around for him, and the local pack of werewolves is none too happy about it. Then it starts look like an even bigger problem stemming from other packs across the country, and that brings in the pack that raised her… and by the way, she did not exactly leave that pack under the best of circumstances. Before long, the moon is up, and all hell is breaking loose. Well, not literally hell, it’s at least… um, hair-raising.
I liked it. The plot was good, and it kept me guessing. The characters were fairly real to me, and she did a good job of humanizing werewolves without turning them into sparkle-puppies. My biggest complaint was that some of the important plot-movers were “off screen” until late in the book, so I had a hard time keeping track of who was who once they showed up in the final build towards the climax. My much smaller complaint was there was a sidetrack thread about the local vampires that was interesting but not really required for the plot of this book. Clearly, it’s there to set up more events in future books, but it felt very extraneous in this one.
Still, even with those caveats, it was enjoyable. The next one is already sitting in my kindle samples, waiting to go.