Monday, March 17, 2008

Thunder Moon by Lori Handeland

Grace McDaniel is the Sherriff of Lake Bluff, Georgia, and survivor of last summer's attacks by werewolves. During a bad rainstorm, after she investigates what seems like a fire, Grace's car is struck by another vehicle and she meets a man who says he is a doctor.

The man is just as Cherokee as she is and looks her over. He says her nose may be broken, but otherwise looks fine. When she looks again, he is gone, and the next day, she encounters him again in town, moving into a previously empty storefront with an apartment above. There, she finds out his name, Ian Walker, and he gives her some cream to put on her face, which he says is Rattlesnake Oil. Grace can't believe a real doctor would put serious stock in tribal remedies, but she can't argue with the results of his cream.

All too soon it becomes clear that older people in town and in the woods around are dying. As the number of deaths rises, Grace grows more concerned that something strange and possibly supernatural has come to town. When she demands an autopsy of the latest death, the doctor discovers that the man's heart is missing, and without any incision or sign of how it was removed.

Grace and Ian plunge into a hot physical relationship, but when she finds out that he lied to her about his wife- he says she is gone, but Grace's Deputy finds out he is still married, she breaks it off. But neither of them can stay away from each other, and Ian presses Grace with the fact that she could be a powerful shaman, just like her grandmother was. Finding the creature terrorizing the town is going to involve looking deeply into Cherokee myth and legend, and if Grace doesn't start believing... soon, she and a lot of other people could wind up dead.

I really enjoyed this story. Lori Handeland brought in a new category of myths and legends (Cherokee this time), and thus, threw me for a loop when I thought I knew the nature of the creature (I was thinking "Thunderbird", but that is a whole other culture, apparently) and it turned out to be something completely different.

Just as in the last book, the Jager-Suchers appear, but it is all off-screen, over the phone and suchlike. They can't come to town to help this time because they are being hard-pressed everywhere. This also seems to be the last "Moon" series book, although she may return to it in the future, as her new book, "Any Given Doomsday", stars a different type of character as well as departing from her "Moon" themed titles.

This book worked as both a hot romance and a thriller-type novel, with both threads woven in believably, with the tension ramping up the action both in the romance and the mystery of what creature is doing this and who he or she is, to the point that it is hard to stop reading and put down the book for just about anything.

If you're looking for a paranormal romance that combines romance, mystery and thriller, this is definitely a good book to try. It will keep you on the edge of your seat even as you thrill to the hot loving between Grace and Ian. Highly recommended.

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