Title: Under a Blood-red Moon (Duncan Andrews Thriller #5)
Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Private Detective Duncan Andrews is back, along with the usual gang: Robbie, Gina, Nick, and Daisy, the zombie bulldog! Duncan is trying to figure out how his boyfriend, Robbie, will fit in with the team now that he is no longer a ghost. That worry is soon set aside when Duncan accepts a new case to locate a missing young man named Graig Betz. Duncan soon learns Graig is part of a werewolf pack that is terrorizing Indianapolis. The pack is led by a witch, Ashley Campbell, an old rival of Gina’s. Duncan and his team must try to rescue and cure Graig and stop the wolf pack from destroying an entire city.
This latest installment continued to hit all my hit all my happy buttons – those items that *I* like to see in a good paranormal/urban fantasy book:
• An engaging plot
• Interesting characters
• A touch or noir
• Great paranormal/urban fantasy aspect (zombie dogs! Ghosts! Witches!)
• Tug the heartstrings a little bit
That being said, I also felt that this installment was trying a bit too hard; almost as if it was trying to top the previous four in some spectacular way. I’ll come back to that thought in a minute.
Main premise of the book is Duncan and Robbie are on vacation for the first time in 10 years in Florida, when Duncan is called back to Indianapolis to handle some nasties. He intends to go back, but, well, one thing leads to another and now there are werewolves on the loose. Keeping Robbie safe by staying in Florida is priority number one. Priority number two, dispose of werewolves. But as the Yiddish proverb goes, Man plans. God laughs. It will take the combined forces of Duncan’s group take down this batch of werewolves.
That’s roughly the main plot. Subplots include: Gina’s long-time rival is back and looking for revenge, Duncan wants to protect everybody he loves and realizes he can’t, Nick’s new boyfriend can read (some) minds, Detective Carson is brought up to speed on things that go bump in the night, and don’t mess with Gorgons (aka, Medusa).
The subplots was where the book started to feel crowded, and I think if the author had dropped the Gorgon foreshadowing bit, that would have helped. I don’t want to give away anything, but the sense of foreshadowing was more like being beat over the head and it also messed with the ending. The previous books didn’t have that aspect, and this one could have benefited from it being left out. The strength would have been in the subtlety, which this wasn’t.
The rest was pretty good – Detective Carson was more than an annoyed figurehead showing up at an unexplainable crime scene; I liked how the concern has shifted from Robbie ‘passing over’ to how to prevent someone from recognizing Robbie; Gina has some very interesting new digs to go with her new looks; and Nick and his boyfriend played a strong supporting role.
And nobody messes with Daisy, our beloved squirrel eating zombie dog.