Title: Blood of the Pride
Author: Sheryl Nantus
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: NetGalley (and purchased – see below)
Publication Date: February 13, 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
A few years ago I was looking for some steampunk novels for my Kindle, and Amazon recommended that I read Sheryl Nantus’s Wild Cards and Iron Horses. I liked the book so much, I went back and bought two more of her books, both in wildly different genres. Blaze of Glory features reality tv super heroes suddenly forced to step up and actually BE super heroes, and What God and Cats Know is a mystery with a feline shapeshifter PI. I loved all the books, so when I saw Blood of the Pride was available on NetGalley, I immediately requested it, thinking it was a sequel to What God and Cats Know. I realized as soon as I started reading that it’s not actually a sequel – it’s the same book published under a different title. That’s actually not a bad thing. I suspect that Ms. Nantus will get wider distribution with Carina Press, and I loved the book the first time I read it. Upon re-reading it for review, I STILL love the book.
Rebecca Desjardin is a Felis shifter kicked out of her Pride nearly 20 years earlier, because she was unable to shift. She’s living in the human world, working as a private investigator, when a severed rabbit’s paw mysteriously appears in her office, the signal that the Pride wants to meet with her. A woman was murdered, and photos of her corpse stuck in mid-shift are splashed across the pages of a tabloid. Even though Rebecca’s convinced that no one will take the photos seriously, the pride wants her to investigate the woman’s death.
Investigative reporter Brandon Hanover found copies of the photos slipped under his door and decided to publish them, even though he’s convinced they’re nothing more than the tabloid’s usual fare. But there’s no doubt that the woman in the photos was brutally murdered, so when PI Rebecca Desjardin approaches him for his help, Brandon senses that there’s more to the story. Before long he’s involved in a world of felis shifters that he never knew existed, and he’s very interested in the mysterious felis PI. But the more they learn, the more danger both Rebecca and Brandon find themselves in. Can they solve the case without exposing the felis shifters to the world?
If you’re looking for a strong romance, this is not the book for you. While the book has a romance, that’s not the principal focus. For at least the first part of the book, I found Brandon to be a bit of a nuisance, and while he eventually won me (and the heroine) over, the most important storylines of the book are the mystery surrounding the murder and Rebecca’s broken relationship with the Pride.
That said, the book drew me in from the first. Rebecca is a strong character who’s dealt with rejection from her pride while carving out a new life for herself. She’s a kickass PI, and I love that she’s the focus of the novel. Her relationship with Jess Hammersmythe, the leader of the Pride, is complex and troubled, as Jess made several troubling decisions about Rebecca in the past in order to protect the Pride. As Rebecca uncovers the truth behind the murder, she risks exposing the Pride and has to make difficult decisions about her future and how best to punish the murderer.
All of the above makes for fascinating reading. I was as invested in solving the mystery the second time I read the book as I was the first, and if you’re a fan of strong female characters and mysteries with a paranormal twist, this is a real winner. I have high hopes that one day I’ll see a sequel to this book, since the story really sticks with you.