Title: Dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal, Shifter
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A monster moves through the night, hidden by the darkness, taking men, one by one, from Seattle’s gay gathering areas.
Amid an atmosphere of crippling fear, Thad Matthews finds his first true love working in an Italian restaurant called the Blue Moon Café. Sam Lupino is everything Thad has ever hoped for in a man: virile, sexy as hell, kind, and… he can cook!
As their romance heats up, the questions pile up. Who is the killer preying on Seattle’s gay men? What secrets is Sam’s Sicilian family hiding? And more importantly, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?
The strength of Thad and Sam’s love will face the ultimate test when horrific revelations come to light beneath the full moon.
First Edition published as The Blue Moon Cafe by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2010.
Premise of the book is Thad falls hard for the hot chef at the local restaurant and they strike up a tentative romance. Meanwhile, in Seattle’s gay neighborhoods, men are being murdered. Thad also befriends Jarad while volunteering at a local food shelf, and when Jared witnesses a murder and clearly sees the creature, Thad’s worldview takes a sudden and fearful shift.
I have rather mixed thoughts on this book.
I found this darker than many of the shifter books I read, not much for humor and the sweetness factor was almost non-existent in my humble opinion. There is definitely anti-gay sentiment from the protagonist/murderer, which, while frequently found in shifter books, is usually not said quite so direct and in the readers face.
I didn’t care for how the protagonist/murder was interjected into the story. I know what the author was trying to do, but by the time the resolution and big reveal came around, the justification for the murders felt canned.
Thad and Sam have an almost immediate “connection” – however, it’s not the joyous “Mate!” trope. “Mate” is never mentioned. Sam *is* hiding secrets from Thad. Thad is paranoid to the Nth degree. This makes for some somewhat uncomfortable situations as Thad reconsiders what he thought was the perfect partner.
I didn’t care for Thad’s paranoid thoughts because I couldn’t quite agree that his leaps of suspicion would lead to the conclusions he made. I also didn’t like his distrust of a new boyfriend – only a couple months into a relationship and he’s upset that Sam didn’t tell him why he was gone one weekend. That kind of possessiveness doesn’t work for me.
So, several things I didn’t care for. Flip side of those thoughts, the darker theme was a refreshing change from the usual sweet, humorous, “Mate!” paranormal themed books. I liked how Thad and Jared’s relationship developed and grew and that it wasn’t based on sex. I liked how the author avoided the jealous and possessiveness of a werewolf that smells “someone else” on their mate. Sam displayed a bit of growliness, but it wasn’t all. The. Time.
And I’m back to where I started my review – I have conflicted feelings about this book, but not enough to say skip it. Read and decide for yourself.