by Jamie Craig, paranormal (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-845-3
This is a ménage à trois story featuring two guys and a gal, with a dark fantasy angle involving shapeshifters. In this alternate world, humans co-exist with shifters. The shifters can change into anything though rather than just a specific animal. Our human researcher Joshua Ames believes that shifters are like people rather than animals because he's kinda like a furry that way and he decides to embark on a study on the shifters to make his point. He locates whom he considers the perfect research material in shifters Sara, a shifter schoolteacher. His research would eventually produce a paper called The History and Development of Shifter Jane Doe from Adolescence to Maturity: A Study of Mental, Emotional and Physical Changes Within a Closed Shifter Community. Alas, if Josh has his way, the paper would most likely be something comparable to an X-rated furry fantasy.
But there was one small problem. Scientists were supposed to be objective, unbiased. Scientists were supposed to be able to observe their work from a distance. Scientists needed to be reliable, patient, and above reproach, so their later work could not be called into question. But Josh could not keep that distance when it came to Sara. He wanted to know her every single way a man could know a woman, and later, when she introduced him to Cam, the powerful connection he had with the other man shocked him.
When this story begins, Sara had vanished. Josh and Cameron Koster finally locate her in an abandoned house in the middle of Nevada. Unfortunately, Sara is in pretty bad shape. The rest of the story alternates between flashbacks to how the three come to have their cozy arrangement with each other and how they track down the people who tortured Sara and why these people did what they did to Sara.
I find the three characters in this story on the bland side. They often come off like three people sharing one single thought bubble. These three quickly get cozy with each other and have so little conflict among them that I sometimes feel as if these three are pod people of some sort rather than three distinct personalities. Because the three characters are pretty uninteresting, I find it hard to get too excited about their story.
This is not a bad read by any means, just one that I find rather unmemorable.
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