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Howling Moon: A Tale of the Sazi by C. T. Adams
Review by Carolyn Frank
Tor Books Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765354020
Date: 02 January, 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Set in our modern world, this paranormal romance features Raphael Ramirez, a hunky assertive powerful werewolf, and a bright, blond, newly minted were-jaguar, Catherine Turner. In the process of taking over as alpha wolf, Raphael is caught between his duty to his pack, which abhors non-wolves, and his blossoming love for his were-trainee, Catherine. As the full moon brings out the need for shape shifting and hunting, the Howling Moon serves as the time when bad things happen, especially for this werewolf pack.

The shape shifters in this world are known as the Sazi. Hiding in plain sight among us normals, they survive by rigidly adhering to a set of rules forbidding shape shifting any time a normal human can see. Led worldwide by a council of elders and supported by a secret police service, the Sazi so far have managed to keep from being hunted to extinction. The main problem facing Raphael is that in-fighting among the pack is bringing thoughtless individuals extremely close to potentially outing behavior.

The world of Sazi has been described in several previous books by these authors, although sufficient background is given that this book can be understood on its own. In addition to werewolves and werejaguars, shape shifters can take the form of a variety of predators, from birds to snakes to bears to all varieties of large cats. They share the call of the full moon to the hunt, but take on more of the attributes of their dominant animal side in their were shape. The Sazi also vary dramatically in their other powers, from forcing telepathy to self-healing. This provides for a broad range of both supporting and antagonistic characters. As an alpha wolf, Raphael has a huge amount of power of all different varieties, but his growing link to Catherine puts him at great risk.

Of course Raphael's problem with his pack would dissolve if he stopped his infatuation with Catherine, but she wants him just as much as he wants her. And when the two of them do get together the sexual sparks ignite. These authors know how to setup, launch and lift off both the romance and the sex between these two, in addition to filling in enough of their back stories to provide their motivations.

The main characters become so credible in their own way that the reader is rooting for a positive outcome for the pair. The book's universe makes enough internal sense to keep the reader fully involved, but some unanswerable questions do come to mind: Could a werewolf and a were-jaguar even have children? And if so, what would the offspring of a werewolf and a were-jaguar be? Regardless of the answers to questions such as these, the reader cares if these two can ever get to a commitment, and won't want to put the book down until they experience the outcome.

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