Title: Alpha Unit One, New York
Author: Chris T. Kat
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 27, 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal; Shifters
Page Count: 161
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.
Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.
Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. This was a one-sitting read for me.
Blurb sums up the book fairly well. It’s a society of human and shifters, and shifters come in all varieties including those who revert to a “baby” form. For reasons only barely explained, these “baby” shifters are to be protected, cannot take perceived dangerous jobs, and must have a legal guardian. Baby shifters also have the ability to comfort and soothe, which makes them ideal for care-giving professions.
Nick is one such shifter, reverting to a 3 month old (it might have been 6 month old) snow leopard cub. So far he has been successful in hiding his shifter “Tiny”, as he climbed the detective ranks. Being accepted to Alpha Unit One, though, is going to be a challenge with Unit comprised of a lion, jaguar, tiger and wolf shifter. The reader knows this is going to end only one way and it’s a matter of sitting back and enjoying the show.
Aspects I enjoyed about this book: the main mating between Nick and his mate was kept to a day. I was concerned after the story and plot set up that I was in for sex scene after sex scene with the plot relegated to the background. Thankfully the author brought our main characters back on the job.
The mix of shifters was a nice change. Many paranormal story settle with just one, wolves, or felines, but this really mixed it up.
The author kept the overall plot chugging right along. I was engaged from page one till the end.
Aspects that detracted for me: I have very mixed thoughts on the “baby” shifter status. On one hand, it was an unusual element that I haven’t read before. Cool! On the other hand, once things started snowballing, it seemed that baby (and small) shifters were a very large portion of shifter society. This baby shifter aspect became kinda garbled in the larger theme of the book. Not lost, just, a bit confusing.
Nick’s personality seemed to change from the opening chapter (masculine, nervous about starting a new job, sassy) to almost pre-teen child-like partway through (shrieking, squealing). I would have liked to have seen different descriptors and yes, I fully acknowledge the whole baby-shifter aspect. But set up was different than execution (and I’m being a bit vague to avoid spoilers).
And, what is the point of our baby shifters and small shifters hiding, when everyone knows anyway? Seriously.
Finally, this felt like a melding of a contemporary detective mystery/thriller series (non-M/M) I follow, and a very popular paranormal cop series (M/M). I won’t name either, but there were some strong parallels to this one so there might be a bit of fan-fic in Alpha Unit One?
Ultimately, as I noted earlier, I did enjoy this book and felt a bit bereft when I realized it was over and I had no second book to pick up. So I turned around and started reading it again.
It’s that much fun.