Thunder Moon

Lori Handeland
2008, Paranormal Romance (Werewolf)
St. Martin's, $6.99, 399 pages, Amazon ASIN 0312949189
Part of a series

Grade: C
Sensuality: Hot

Warning: This review may contain slight spoilers.

Thunder Moon is the eighth tale in a series that I've been meaning to take a look at. That seems to be the case with many series nowadays, especially the ever-present paranormals. However, none of us has time in abundance and I donít know that Iíll be spend much more of it on this series. The book certainly wasnít bad, but there are more well-rounded options out there.

Last summer in Lake Bluff, Georgia, some problems with werewolves made the sheriff, Grace McDaniel, finally start to accept the idea of a supernatural world. This was something she should have embraced long ago, as her great-grandmother was a powerful Cherokee medicine woman. However, Graceís father wanted nothing to do with hocus-pocus and forbade the grandmother to teach her anything. Now, a new doctor has moved to town and more weird things begin to occur: strange sparks in the sky, an increase in the bird population, and a sudden spike in deaths.

To figure out what is happening, Grace pulls together her friends who know of the stranger side of life. For those who are familiar with the series, it may please you to know that Claire and Malachi (who were featured in Hidden Moon) make up part of the team, as does Doc Bill, a medical examiner who knows a great deal about werewolves. Elise of the Jšger-Suchers (the annoyingly-named government monster squad) also gets tapped for information several times.

Naturally, Grace is suspicious of the newcomer, Ian Walker, and becomes more so when she discovers he is a practicing Cherokee medicine man. Even though her beloved grandmother was also a shaman, she scoffs at his alternative methods and belief in magic (which I found a little unfair given her background and knowledge of shapeshifters). That doesnít stop her from being pulled toward the handsome man, though, and they immediately start an affair. But can she trust him?

The romance was the weakest part of the book. I never believed that Grace and Ian actually cared about each other. Within a very short time, Grace threw herself at a man she clearly didnít trust, which made me think that it was only about sex. Then, all of a sudden, they care about each other, when really the time spent getting to know each other outside of the sheets is practically nonexistent. By the very end, after finally spending some time together, I could see that they were getting close to each other, but that should have happened at the beginning of the relationship, not as theyíre hearing wedding bells in their heads.

The paranormal happenings were pretty interesting and made the book much more readable than it otherwise would have been. I had never heard of the particular Native American myth used here, and the novelty was nice. However, certain parts of the mystery were rather easy to guess, and the climactic battle was something of a let down, although not terrible. In addition, the author presents Grace as resistant to magic but then, despite magic being a practice, she finds herself able to save the day on her first try. How lucky for her. Fortunately, the writing was intelligent and flowed smoothly. It is a first person account, making it definitely Grace's story as we only see Ian through her eyes. Ian is supposed to be a great warrior, but he doesnít seem to really do anything in the way of fighting.

Overall, the novel has a pretty even balance of the good and the bad that makes it a so-so read. I sat down to write this review several days after finishing the story and was hard-pressed to remember all that happened. It just wasnít that memorable. Hidden Moon is already in my tbr pile, so Iíll give the series another chance to grab me, but if itís as average as Thunder Moon, I will have many other paranormal series to choose from.

-- Andi Davis

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