Wolf Rain
by Flesa Black, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-347-0

Wolf Rain impresses me right off the first page when author Flesa Black manages without any apparent effort to draw me right into her story and place me into her alternate London where it is always raining, the nights are dangerous moments when monsters are on the prowl looking for victims, and there is always an alpha male hunk waiting in the shadows to give a feisty damsel the hot urban fantasy shag of her life. Then the hero introduces himself as Harm Asher and I feel my excitement deflating like a punctured balloon as I wonder why Ms Black can't come up with a nice normal name for her hero.

When the story opens, it is five in the evening and our heroine Diana Galen is making her way home before night falls and the violent creatures called the Shifters take on beast forms to hunt. Alas, she is cornered by a pack of such creatures in an alley. How come these creatures manage to show up so early in the day? Diana manages to take one down, but she looks as good as dead when she has to confront the rest of the pack. Well, here comes our hero, the unfortunately named Harm Asher. He takes on those werewolves with his bare hands as if he's King Kong on a rampage. Under the circumstances, the least a grateful lady can do is to invite her savior to come up to her place for a cup of tea, no?

Of course, he is not who he seems to be. She isn't who she seems to be either, heh. Let's just say that they are actually on the same side when it comes to the fight against the Shifters, so it's time to kick some furry rear ends.

This is indeed a very entertaining short story. Yes, it's a short story, but it sure doesn't feel like one when I'm reading it. Tightly paced and deftly narrated, this story moves like beautiful clockwork in action. There are no abruptly inserted sex scenes to disrupt the flow of the developing relationship between Harm and Diana. Information about the setting is deftly woven into the story as part of natural conversations between characters so there is no boring information dumping here. Wolf Rain is therefore everything a short story should be: very enjoyable, with good build-up and post-denouement cool down. The characters are well drawn considering the limitations of the short story format and they certainly kick rear ends pretty well here.

Wolf Rain makes me sit up and take notice of the author's name. Flesa Black, huh? Who is this woman and where did she come from? Most importantly, can I have more of the same brand of wholesome goodness that Wolf Rain has in oodles?

Rating: 89

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