Carolyn Cushman Reviews Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs and A Wolf After My Own Heart by MaryJanice Davidson

Patricia Briggs, Wild Sign (Ace 978-0-440-00158-4, $28.00, 358pp, hc) Mar 2021. Cover by Daniel dos Santos.

Struggles with the fae take a back seat to a crisis in the wilds of California in this sixth urban fantasy novel in the Alpha and Omega series, part of the Mercy Thompson world. An entire town of counter-culture types goes missing – and it turns out their settlement was built illegally in wild land belonging to the Marrok’s pack. So the Marrok’s son Charles and omega werewolf Anna head out to investigate, with the help of an entertainingly unpredictable old berserker wolf, Tag. They find themselves dealing with sasquatches, witches white and black, a mysterous magic involving music, a ter­rifying old folks’ home, an almost Lovecraftian ancient evil, and more – the strange encounters just keep piling on. The big final battle, steeped in weird, was a bit unclear, but things wrap up nicely for a great adventure that adds some colorful bits of history fans of the series should really appreciate.

MaryJanice Davidson, A Wolf After My Own Heart (Sourceboooks Casablanca 978-1-4926-9704-6, $8.99, 345pp, tp) February 2021. Cover by Aleta Rafton.

Davidson’s knack for goofy paranormal romantic adventure doesn’t fail in this second book in the BeWere My Heart series, begun in Bears Behaving Badly. Shifter accountant Oz Adway, a secondary character in the first book, takes the lead here; tired of being stuck with office work for the Interspecies Placement Agency, which helps shifter kids in trouble, he takes on the job of finding a runaway orphan bear cub – but the cub has found refuge with the human Lila Kai. She has no idea what’s going on, but she’s not letting anyone hurt the kid – even when she figures out the bear part of the deal. She also has her own knack for keeping out intruders, as some snoopers quickly discover. Oz has no choice but to team with her to find out what’s going on, and chaos – and love – inevitably ensue. To get the full impact of the shifters’ world and characters, you might want to start with the first book in the series, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you can handle heart-tugging cuddly orphans at risk, slightly sappy romance, and a wild mix of serious danger and screwball violence.

Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.

This review and more like it in the July 2021 issue of Locus.

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