© 2006 All Rights Reserved Readers & Writers Ink Reviews
TOUCH A DARK WOLF
By Jennifer St. Giles
Erin Morgan is having the worst day of her life -- and it's about to get far worse. She has been giving blood transfusions and donating blood herself at a high-tech, cutting edge medical clinic. She thought Sno-Med was the creation of a genius, Dr. Cinatas, as he performed new techniques in the treatment of cancer.
Then she found the dead bodies. People who had been drained of blood while a dictator awaited the transfusion. Whatever was going on, it wasn't right and Erin wanted out. Now she is being hunted by Cinatas and his minions. Driving pell-mell through the Appalachians toward her childhood home, Erin tries to keep her car on the road during a storm.
A dark beast lands on the hood, trying to get to her even while she is still driving. A silver wolf lands atop the monster, battling it and receiving a wound in the process. Erin crashes the vehicle, waking hours later to find a naked giant of a man, wounded, on the hood.
The wounded man is Jared, a former shape shifter and Shadowman warrior devoted to protecting humans with special blood, called Elan blood, from the forces of evil, called Tsara. Jared has been wounded by a Tsara and is condemned to become evil himself. His fellow warriors debate whether to kill him outright or see if there is any chance he can be redeemed.
Jared's struggle to either survive or die before he tastes Elan blood is intertwined with the instant and magnetic attraction he and Erin share. She isn't sure if he is nuts or really is a being from a different plane of existence, but she does want to get him help. And she wants to take down Cinatas before he takes her down.
Some stories benefit greatly from the skilled use of sexual tension. St. Giles, whose debut was a marvelous contemporary Gothic, knows sexual tension. But in this story, in which the set-up isn't explained in detail until after more than 175 pages, the sexual tension is tedious because it would be nice to know just what the heck is going on. What is Elan blood? What makes it special? Why does Erin have super special Elan blood? Why are Jared's fellow warriors debating whether to kill him if they know that the last warrior to be wounded this way went over to the dark side in spectacular fashion -- why don't they just kill him? Will Jared be healed if he and Erin just do it? Who are the people who find Erin and Jared later in the book? Why should they be trusted and do they have books of their own coming up?
TOUCH A DARK WOLF is a frustrating book because St. Giles is an extremely talented author who can weave together suspense, tension and romance in a story involving believable characters. The only resolution in the novel is the one to be expected from a romance, but what happened to the other plot points is not spelled out in what appears to be a rushed ending. Unfortunately, the ending also appears to point toward more books in the series.
Although St. Giles is certainly skilled enough to create exceptional stories in the world created for this novel, her earlier work was so much better than it seems a shame that she has jumped on the paranormal bandwagon.
-- Reviewed by Lynne Perednia
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