Adam's ex-wife claims that she is being pursued by a stalker, and shows up to take advantage of Adam's protection and her old relationships with the werewolf pack. And there is a serial killer on the loose in the Tri Cities. Those two things might be related, even though sweet, little, domestic, helpless, manipulative, vindictive ex-wifey is from out of town.
The first part of the book almost made me stop reading. I really don't like reading about women playing the passive agressive manipulative game on each other, and that was most of the first third or so of the book. But there was also this fae who we haven't seen in a while (who has a grudge against Zee) and wants the walking stick from Mercy. So I figured there would be some kind of action again soon, or at least Coyote would have to show up. Happily, both happened. There was less of Mercy being clever and manipulative in her coyote form, which was a little sad. She had more support and participation from the supporting characters in different ways, too, which made me happy.
I was pleased with how Briggs used established scenery and characters to provide methods and means for characters to advance the story. For example, Adam put in a big security system around the garage after the Tim incident. So there were three angles of records of one of the fight scenes. We've read about Adam providing records to the police before, so that wasn't new. And we know that Adam employs some of the pack as security people, and they therefore have access to those recordings immediately. What was new was having the pack host a "movie night" to watch the recording of the fight to better understand their enemies. And that was neat to me because I found it to be a logical extension of previously used/known abilities. Briggs didn't have to set up this entire chain of activities and events in this book just for that one sequence.
Surprisingly enough, this book had enough drips and drops of backstory that a newcomer to the series might be able to start here. This is a self-contained story with very few "where did that come from" callbacks to previous stories that are not answered with tiny, teasing sentence descriptions. For example, the fae walking stick is described at least three times, including its previous adventures in killing (vampire and River Devil). Mercy's paranoia about her garage is explained in a short paragraph that elaborates on her looming panic attack. Etc. The big drop-in character set was Samuel & Ariana, who supplied the Deus ExMachinegun... sort of. And then there was Coyote himself, who was used almost as "power of the month club" special addition to the climax, but I won't spoil that with an explanation.
Unfortunately, Mercy did renew her subscription to Hospital Visit of the Month Club. When that particular incident went down, it reminded me of the quote in Bone Crossed from Baba Yaga to Mercy about how the little coyote wouldn't be able to put herself back together by sunrise.
I picked it up because I'm following the series. I enjoyed the second half of the book enough to recommend it to the Briggs readers who are looking to go on with the series, and anyone else with a taste for urban fantasy and were-animals such as the Kate Daniels series.
Books for 2014