Danving With Werewolves (Delilah Street #1), by Carole Nelson Douglas
While it must be admitted that this is competent genre fiction, this book feels like the literary equivalent of gorging oneself on twinkies. One wonders how would could have better spent one’s time even if what was made was competently (if not particularly gloriously) made. At many points this book crosses well over the line from paranormal mystery into self-parody, and while this may play well with fans who want to read post-apocalyptic novels about beautiful heroines who quaver for handsome (and ethnic) police officers while dealing with vampires, werewolves, and hordes of undead in the attempt to solve a murder mystery, I must admit that I was left with the distinct feeling that the author could do a lot better than she was. It seemed that she was slumming, writing something that was popular enough to earn her an income, a work that probably didn’t take her much longer to write than it took me to read (somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour or two), and while I have read many worse books, I just found this one to be disappointing. Given the materials that the author had to work with, something much better could easily have been created by the author if she had wished to.
As far as plots go, this one is pretty much as throwaway as it gets. We are introduced to orphan girl Delilah Street, who survives the mean streets of Kansas in the aftermath of some kind of apocalypse where vampires and werewolves are discovered and proliferate, and she finds herself as a reporter working the beat in a Las Vegas that is run by a brutal werewolf mob. Naturally, as someone with spooky paranormal abilities, she finds herself attracted to handsome Mexican-American cop Hector and the owner of a large wolfhound who enjoys tearing apart half-were creatures who threaten the pack, and she finds herself having to deal with a corrupt cop who targets her as well as, more seriously, werewolves and vampires who wish to control her or dispose of her as she proves herself one immensely nosy young woman. There are a few set pieces, and some rather spooky scenes, such as Delilah’s realization at one point that she has lost her shadow as well as a mysterious shapeshifting collar that she has around her neck, but for the most part this is a wild ride that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.
And that is perhaps the biggest problem that I have with this book as a whole. Delilah’s response to Hector (and indeed, to many of the men she encounters in general) is that of someone having a belated but obsessive sexual awakening, described with all the solemnity of the Twilight series. In fact, this book is on the same level of literature as the Twlight books and others that are based on it, which is no particular compliment to the author, a successful writer of several series of novels. With the author’s bad attempts to shoehorn various aspects of mythological terror and superficial understandings of religion (but not enough understanding to recognize the hostility of biblical religion to the paranormal), and the awkward and silly tone of the book as a whole, this book comes off as something that the author wrote on a lark and did not take nearly seriously enough to do it justice. As someone who has read compelling post-apocalyptic thrillers that deal with the material in such a better fashion than this , this book just ended up being a big disappointing despite the author’s obvious skill.
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