Sassy, wisecracking policewoman Jessie McQuade, the book's first-person narrator, takes readers on a thrilling hunt through the forests of smalltown Miniwa, Wis., in search of a mythical predator in this lively paranormal romance. No-nonsense Jessie has never believed in magic or other supernatural "woo woo," but when she sees schoolteacher Karen Larson turn rabid in the classroom and attempt to bite one of her students shortly after being bitten by a wolf herself, she begins to realize that the world is not just black and white but "a host of annoying shades of gray." Before long, she's tramping through the forest with a self-professed werewolf hunter by her side and lusty thoughts of gorgeous professor Will Cadote, an expert in Native American mythology, racing through her mind. The enigmatic professor may be able to help Jessie figure out why the onyx wolf totem she found on the road near where Karen was bitten is so important, but it's possible he may be a werewolf himself. Handeland (The Husband Quest , etc.) sets a feverish pace, thrusting Jessie into one dangerous situation after another, and she keeps readers in delicious suspense over Will's motives. What makes this book so compulsively readable, however, is Jessie's spunky narration, acerbic wit and combustible chemistry with Will. (Oct.)
Forecast: Handeland has the potential to become as big as, if not bigger than, Christine Feehan and Maggie Shayne, both of whom praise this book enthusiastically in their cover blurbs. The next installment, Hunter's Moon, is excerpted here.