Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 1-59578-223-0
Fantasy Romance, 2006
Flanna McRae, demonhunter, decides to spend her one last night in America by having a blast in town before she heads back to Scotland. Not that she will throw an orgy and become the star of a new Ellora’s Cave tale or something, since she’s not into that kind of fun. She’ll just get plastered instead. Her night comes to an end even before it begins though when a nasty brute tries to get fresh with her and she has to draw blood to get him to take the hint. She bumps into Jason Randolph while trying to get away from that brute. She exchanges a few words with him and that’s the extent of their first meeting.
It is when Flanna returns home that I learn that she and her father are demonhunters with a bloodthirsty focus on werewolves. Her father has hoped for a son to carry on his legacy once he’s no longer physically capable of pulling a Buffy, so Flanna often feels that she has to work harder to live up to his expectations. Flanna went to America to test out the new bullets created by her father on some lucky werewolves. It actually happened offstage before this story begins but is reported by Flanna to her father: of the three werewolf brothers she encountered in America, one of them managed to get away from her. What Flanna doesn’t expect is to encounter Jason in her backyard. He claims that the werewolf that got away, Dominic Romm, is now out for her blood and that he, who had been hunting those werewolves when Flanna beat him to the punch and killed two of them, would like to give her a hand. Now, the question is, can she trust Jason?
This story is a good example of… well, if this is a dart game, Ms Dean manages to get a few darts very close to the bulls eye but she ultimately can’t hit that magic spot. She has many things done right in this story: the suspenseful build-up is well-done and even chilling at times as Flanna starts looking over shoulders at enemies that may be lurking in the dark and the action-driven final confrontation with Dominic has me at the edge of my seat. Jason’s secret is easy to guess but he’s a nicely done hero who has a good reason to keep the secret to himself. He’s a nice balance of angst and sunshine. Flanna is a perfectly fine heroine too if Ms Dean will actually let Flanna be capable for once.
Seriously, I’m amazed that of all the kick-ass things that Flanna is said to be capable of, she gets ambushed by bad guys because she is “lost in her thoughts” and she can’t even kill the bad guy. I am moved to feel embarrassed on her behalf because she is hopeless underneath the window-dressing “tough woman” exterior of hers.
Under a Rogue Moon is an enjoyable paranormal romance with two interesting lead characters and some well-built suspense and atmosphere. It’s really just too bad that Flanna turns out to be all bark but no bite in the end.