Snared

Title: Snared
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Paranormal (M/M)
Length: Novella (68 PDF pages)
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5  

One sentence summary: Martin rescues Calum, a wildcat, from a snare and the story goes downhill from there.
 

THE BLURB 

When Martin Lowrie rescues a wildcat from a snare, he thinks a few scratches and a tetanus jab are the worst consequences he’ll have to face. But then he meets the enigmatic and strangely compelling Calum. He spends the night with the handsome, unsettling Irishman and discovers Calum’s secret: he’s the wildcat Martin rescued, in human form. But Calum’s not the only werecat in the village, and the others aren’t so keen to risk Martin revealing their secret, no matter how much Calum wants to protect Martin from harm. 

 THE REVIEW

Martin Lowrie is vacationing in Scotland, but on his way to a Bed and Breakfast he spots a feral cat caught in a snare.  As he releases the cat, he gets scratched.  He hurries to the owner of the B & B for some first aid, dripping blood.  He gets patched up, but makes an appointment to see the local doctor for a tetanus shot the next day as a precaution.  Outside the doctor’s office Martin spies a handsome man.  Later at a small pub, Martin again sees the man whose name is Calum – he is a photographer traveling about taking pictures of cats.  Calum invites Martin to his home and they have sex; afterward, they cuddle and fall asleep.  But just a few hours later, Martin wakes to the sound of angry voices.  He goes to investigate and sees Calum talking with the owner of the pub, a young girl waitress, and the owner of the B and B.  They are angry about the possibility of Martin exposing secrets in their little village.  It seems that Calum was the feral cat Martin rescued and the injuries he sustained could lead to an infection and a possible profound change in his life.

 This story didn’t work for me on any level.  I can’t discuss many of the reasons because those would constitute spoilers but I can say that it seemed as though the author over used adjectives.  Quite often Martin was ‘shocked’ at something said or a look in his direction, not just ‘surprised’.  As he walks through the village, he feels people staring at him as if they could see he is gay and will be stoning him soon.  He enters the village church, but retreats when the pastor hurries to him with that ‘evangelical gleam in his eye’.  The B & B owner looks like a sheep with her white hair and small body, and the woman talks endlessly and doesn’t cook very well. The doctor is disappointed that the tetanus shot doesn’t cause any pain for Martin.  Lots of strange observations. 

The last half of the story deals with Martin waiting for the full moon to see if he will survive the shapeshifting change to a werecat.  (Luckily we don’t have to wait a few weeks for this to happen, just a few days.)  And Calum doesn’t inform him of anything; they don’t talk, touch or have sex.  Calum doesn’t guide the conversation so that Martin will ask those necessary questions about the change. The waitress from the pub shows up to see if he survives the change, and all of a sudden Calum tells Martin that he might not survive the transformation. Martin is understandably angry, but he has no time to take that anger out on anyone because the moon starts peeking over the horizon.

I did like the description of the metamorphosis from human to cat.  The story ends with Calum and Martin back in human form, grateful for the successful change, but this ending is too late to salvage the story.

Author

I’m a single gay male, 46 years old and I farm and ranch in Texas.

13 comments

  • Ive been looking at this book as well at
    ARE, blurb sounded good. I got this author confused with another Jez Morrow. Not one and the same. Thank you

    Reply
  • It’s fascinating reading the review and the comments. I rather loved this book, and Martin’s paranoia was a big part of it: he seems to be paranoid about all the wrong things (“they’ll know I’m gay” rather than “I’m about to die”) which lends a certain sense of irony to the entire story. But I also love JL’s style of writing; I like the little vignettes of characters.

    Anyway, hopefully the bad review will actually make more people buy the book – and I’d love to know what they think if they do. Isn’t it weird how people can read the same story and think totally different things?

    Reply
  • I think that this review will generate more sales for this book because everyone will want to find out if it’s as bad as it has been painted. That’s usually what happens with 1 star reviews – readers put the books on their TBB list and either agree with the reviewer and have a lot of fun, or ask what he/she was drinking. 🙂

    I think it’s great to have discussions like this about the merits of the book and I know that somewhere Snared will get 5 stars, so everything evens out in the end.

    Reply
  • I very much appreciate different views on this book. This is first book by this author that I’ve read and so maybe that is coloring my review, I don’t know, but I just didn’t like the plot or the characters. Yes, Martin thought Calum was meaning the fever that he had survived and not that the transformation that he yet to undergo. But there was one point, after the fever, that Martin remarks to Calum, why wait for the full moon, why can’t I change right now? And Calum basically tells him that that’s not how it is done, just wait for the full moon. And then for the few days till the full moon, Calum avoids Martin altogether. I didn’t understand this isolation.

    I will say that I liked the description of the transformation itself. Wave thought I would be revealing too much to put this in the review, but the description of the shrinking point of view, the heightened senses, and the play between Calum and Martin was very nice. They kill and eat a rabbit together and recognize that they are mates. That was good to read, but it just couldn’t raise my view of the book.

    Josephine, I’m having a difficult time thinking of this book as a 4 star though.

    Reply
  • I have to say that I disagree with many of the points made in this review. While I wouldn’t say that it was the best story I’ve ever read, I certainly found it an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. What John criticises as “strange observations” I found to be interesting snippets that helped to bring the village to life, and were revealing of Martin’s state of mind. As someone who was very closeted, his worries about the villagers seemed completely in character.

    JL Merrow has a certain kind of humour in her prose, and it’s something I can really connect with. I wonder if the reviewer perhaps just doesn’t find that sort of thing amusing. Sense of humour is such a particular trait that it can easily misfire or fail to connect.

    In terms of Calum’s uncommunicativeness, again, I found this to be in character as he was a loner who was not good at talking about his emotions, and was trying to hide the impending danger from Martin. This becomes apparent at the end of the story, but as it is all told from Martin’s POV it is left to reader to work this out. I prefer stories that allow me to do this, rather than spelling out exactly what the characters are thinking and feeling at every moment.

    I would award this story a four star rating myself.

    Reply
    • Josephine
      I guess this proves that readers have widely divergent opinions and tastes in books. Sometimes I wonder whether another reviewer read the same book I did. 🙂

      In this case (and I must say I haven’t read Snared) the one thing that struck me was that Calum didn’t tell Martin anything about the ‘change.’ I found that very difficult to understand, given the consequences i.e. that he might not survive..

      Reply
      • Oh yes, it’s a good thing that there are so many different books out there catering to so many different tastes!

        About that issue: Calum did tell Martin about the danger, but Martin thought he had just been talking about the fever he passed through, and rather than let him spend those days worrying about impending death, Calum chose not to say anything. I found this perfectly understandable in context.

        Reply
    • Thanks, Josephine. You’ve pretty much said everything I would say, so I won’t repeat it but just add my agreement.

      This isn’t the best JL has written, but I enjoy her prose and think that she’s a great writer. I can’t agree about the ‘overuse of adjectives’ comment in the review – I myself dislike purple prose but I didn’t get that sense in this story at all.

      Stories either suit people or they don’t, I don’t argue with a reviewer not liking the story, but I’d hate for anyone to come away with the wrong idea of JL’s general writing skill!

      Reply
  • Yes, it was a tough one to read and then even tougher to figure out how to write this review. Wave even sent it back to me for a rewrite because I added too many funny remarks about how I would have written the story in the first place. After Wave asked for the rewrite I could see that I went too far. Thank you, Wave for saving me!

    Reply
  • Well done review John, thanks. I know it must have been hard to write. You’ve had some tough week! Wave owes you a good spy thriller with lots of sex. 🙂

    Reply
  • Hmmm i was wondering about this story, but this doesn’t sound good at all. Too bad 🙁

    Good review though!

    Reply

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