Friday, October 28, 2011

Review of Angela Campbell's Cry Wolf

Title: Cry Wolf
Author: Angela Campbell
Publisher: Carina Press
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: October 31, 2011
Rating: 4 out 5

I meant to review this book yesterday, but the really long World Series game 6 got in the way. I am now EXHAUSTED after watching the game, so I hope this review is coherent. Cry Wolf is Angela Campbell’s debut novel, and it’s a cute, sweet contemporary romance with a little werewolf tossed in to mix things up. I was hoping that this was the beginning to a series, given the ending (more on that later), but after checking out her webpage, I think it’s a stand-alone novel. Either way, you’ll definitely enjoy this book out just in time for Halloween.
Andrea Lockheart is a reporter for the tabloid The Naked Truth, and her editor has sent her to investigate rumors of werewolf sightings in Woodbine, South Carolina. She certainly isn’t expecting to run into Sean Hunter, former senior editor of her university paper. He’s the Woodbine paper’s editor now, and Andrea isn’t thrilled that she has to work with him, since he said some cruel remarks to her when they parted ways in college. She’d always hoped that their next meeting would involve some sort of acknowledgement of her stellar career, rather than his discovering her hanging upside down from a makeshift “werewolf trap.”
Sean doesn’t immediately recognize Andi Lockheart from college. This new Andi is stunning and clearly not interested in his help, but he owes her an apology after being such a jerk in college. Sean’s move to Woodbine to be with his sister and her kids is a far cry from writing for the New York Times, but he’s definitely enjoying the slower pace of his new life, especially since it allows him to spend time helping Andrea with her investigation. When Andrea experiences her own werewolf sighting, she and Sean begin to take the rumors more seriously and the two find themselves spending more and more time together. Can the two find a future together searching for the truth about the local werewolf?
I really enjoyed the romance in this novel. The majority of the book focuses on the relationship between Sean and Andrea, rather than the werewolf of the title, and that’s part of its appeal.  Andrea is a compelling heroine with a difficult past. She’s a very talented and hardworking writer, despite writing about celebrities for a tabloid, and her shared past with Sean is an awkward one that threatens to undermine her hard won self-confidence when the two meet again. Sean is one sexy editor, and he manages to redeem himself from his being a total jerk in college. His focus on his family and concern for Andrea demonstrate that his changes are sincere.
The werewolf aspect of the novel was interesting as well. I like that Andrea starts out doubting the veracity of the claims and gradually begins to believe in the sightings as her investigation continues. I think making the romance the central focus of the novel was particularly effective, and the werewolf mystery starts to pick up about halfway into the book, which causes the pace to pick up.
Unfortunately, the werewolf mystery wasn’t completely resolved to my satisfaction, leaving us with a bit of a cliffhanger. I liked that the romance between Andrea and Sean was tied up nicely, but I wanted more explanation about the actual werewolf. Initially I assumed that this was the first book in a series, and we would learn more in subsequent books, but as I mentioned earlier, Ms. Campbell’s webpage indicates that this is a stand-alone novel, and her next book will be in a series set in a different world. Cry Wolf is only 87,000 words long, so there’s definitely room for more background about the werewolf, and the open ending definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, however, this was a really sweet romance, and I very much enjoyed it. I liked Ms. Campbell’s insights into the world of journalism, and her experience writing in that world has translated well into fiction writing. I’ll definitely be looking for more of her work in the future!

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