Title: Hair of the Dog
Author: Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James
Cover Art: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Hair of the Dog
Genre: M/M/ Paranormal, Werewolf, Suspense
Length: 250 pages
Rating: 3.75 out 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: The good build up of unresolved sexual tension was ultimately anti climactic, which spoilt an often entertaining and well written werewolf adventure.
Blurb: It’s nine o’clock the morning after his father’s funeral, and Ezra Jones already knows it’s going to be a bad day. He wakes up hungover, sore, and covered in blood. Then it gets worse: the handsome and compelling Callum Dawson shows up on his doorstep claiming Ezra’s been turned into a werewolf. Ezra wants to be skeptical, but the evidence is hard to ignore.
Ezra doesn’t have a lot of time to get used to the rules Alpha Callum imposes—or the way his body responds to Callum’s dominance—as he’s busily working for the CDC to help uncover the origins of a lycan epidemic. When the sexual tension finally breaks, Ezra barely has time to enjoy it, because a new danger threatens. Someone wants Ezra for their own unscrupulous purposes and will do anything to get him.
I found this werewolf story rather frustrating as it doesn’t quite fulfill the promise of the first half of the book. There is a great initial set up, good characters and some interesting lycanthropic social detail. This one came across as rather like a community based business with an organised, practical but hierarchical authority structure. The pack was nicely created as a gossipy and mostly warm family group. More unusually for werewolves, it was very contemporary, tolerant of sexual diversity with some interesting attitudes on political correctness.
I thought the main character Ezra was engaging, intelligent and often wryly funny. His take on his changed situation contained about the right balance of shock and resigned rueful acceptance. The pheromone and authoritative tone of voice control system used by Callum, one of the pack’s two Alpha leaders, developed into some fun sexual attraction play- mainly involving uncontrollable erections. This was drawn out a bit too long, but it all added to Ezra’s werewolf learning process as his body’s DNA gradually changed over the few weeks before the next full moon.
The unresolved sexual tension between him and Callum was built up impressively with some real provocative heat. Unfortunately all that foreplay was undoubtably the best part. Feel free to call me kinky but I felt really underwhelmed by the anticlimactic vanilla sex. I tell you -as a commanding sexual Alpha Callum needs lessons in domination, preferably from Killian, my favourite werewolf Dom.
The mystery and suspense based plot was built on the premise of a lupine virus affecting pack alpha’s aggression. Ezra’s transformation was caused by being savaged by an infected werewolf. The investigation of this was nicely developed with Ezra’s useful computer skills, helping him become Callum’s assistant and finding a place within his new pack. Unfortunately the eventual nasty villain of the piece came across as rabidly stereotypical, and I just couldn’t understand why he thought his master-plan was a productive use of his megalomaniac prejudices and/or resources.
The book was delightfully free from most of the cliches that irritate me, and there was some rather good, amusing and understated writing. I also liked the clever chapter titles, starting with The Wolf at the Door ….. I understand the attraction in avoiding stereotypes with this progressive, reformed lycan social code. Yet I felt the the sexual relationship which should have been a real strength in the book was mistakenly subdued to fit more with this ethos- resulting in mixed signals.
I really thought Ezra as a beta werewolf was a lovely mix of the submissive and the sensible. While I also liked Callum he just needed a bit more intensity to carry off the demanding role as a believable sexual dominant. However after a strong first impression Callum kept reverting to a rather conflicted and almost apologetic stance. Personally I feel the term sheepish should never be applied to an Alpha male werewolf. Consequently I decided that this was both an enjoyable and a frustrating read. I have a fascination for this genre and would rate it for my collection as a 4, but I feel that that in deference to the less obsessed reader I should adjust that rating downwards.