Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Ivy Cole and the Moon" by Gina Farago

This book had been sitting around our branch for a long, long time. One day it was returned, and I realized that it was pretty much in two pieces (not uncommon with mass market paperbacks - they don't last long), so I withdrew it from circulation and prepared to give it a proper burial. And stopped. And looked at it again. And realized that I'd always sort of wanted to read it, so why not take it home and put it in my To-Be-Read pile? A much more fitting end than the trash can, right?

As usual, it sat around for a while, probably a good year or so. I finally picked it up about a month ago; something just told me it was the right time to give it a shot. Which I did...

Ivy Cole is a werewolf. This is nothing new to her, having been bitten and turned when she was still a child. Sure, it's a bit of a pain having to Change every month, but she's grown used to it, moving when people start to get suspicious, keeping to herself, and even accumulating her own pack of stray dogs. She's young, beautiful, and has headed back "home" to the small town of Doe Springs, North Carolina. Unfortunately for her, hiding her true nature in a such a small town is proving to be difficult. You see, Ivy uses her "condition" to handle problem people, preying on and killing abusers, murderers, and such. She's always very careful to make it look like an accident. Sadly, her latest victim, Clifford Hughes, has been discovered far sooner than Ivy had intended. The police know he was attacked by some sort of animal, and they're wondering if it's the same animal that has been attacking the local livestock.

Ivy is interviewed by Sheriff Hubbard and Deputy Melvin Sanders due to her connection to the victim - the grieving widow's best friend. It becomes obvious that Melvin is attracted to Ivy; the feeling is mutual, but of course, she's got that pesky "monthly condition" that he can never know about. Ivy is also under suspicion because of her work - as a dog trainer. The local police wonder if someone like her could train her dogs to attack and kill, especially her very large Shepard, Auf. Ivy does her best to throw them off the scent (no pun intended) while doing her own investigation; she knows that there's another werewolf in her area, one that needs to be dealt with before he/she exposes them both.

This isn't a bad book, but there are a few problems. I liked most of the characters, especially Ivy, but I felt as if the author was keeping them at a distance from us, the readers. I also figured out who the other were was early on in the book, even before the author let us in on the identity, something that I'm not sure Farago should have done. After all, don't you want the reader to be in suspense? When you write your reveal just a little over half-way, it feels premature. I think a few less hints and better timing would have made that part of the book more appealing. My biggest beef is the epilogue; the scene left me scratching my head and saying "when did that happen?" I know the "why" - a sequel, and yes, it's out - I checked on Amazon. But if you're going to have a scene that makes it clear that you'll be writing a sequel, shouldn't I as the reader remember what led up to that scene? Just a very weird thing to do.

I will hopefully be able to get my hands on the sequel, "Luna", and let you know if it's better. "Ivy Cole" is a solid entry, just not a stellar one.

No comments: