One of the delights of paranormal fiction these days is the mashing of genres and characters into a supernatural whole in which different kinds of creatures can coexist with a grudging peacefulness. This is the world Winter Pennington takes us into with the breathlessly fast, action-packed Witch Wolf.
Kassandra Lyall is a witch. She also used to be a police officer before she was wounded in an encounter with a lycanthrope. Now, she’s a werewolf herself—and head of Lyall Preternatural Investigations. Consulted by the regular police to solve two mysterious killings and hired by Rosalin Walker (another werewolf) to track down her missing brother, Kass finds both cases overlapping in some very deadly ways and must accept the assistance of the enticing vampire countess Lenorre to solve the mysteries.
Illuminating and exciting, Witch Wolf both educates and enraptures. Pennington has a way with fight scenes, managing to stay inside her character’s heads while making the battle vivid and immediate. Her Kassandra is no mere werewolf-tool, like Lawrence Talbot, waiting helplessly for another full moon. She is a thinker, an analytical ponderer who has met and become one with the wolf inside her. And though Kass is a lone wolf, she must learn about wolf-pack behavior in order to solve the case, providing for some very interesting passages.
But even more interesting is the attraction between Kass and the vampire countess Lenorre. Lenorre is a rich, wonderfully expressive character whose arched eyebrows and cool matter-of-factness provide some much needed balance for the hot emotions of the wolf that lurks beneath Kass’s surface. And although the book is Kass’s, Pennington’s heart seems to be with Lenorre.
Pennington’s pacing is superb. She slows the action down just long enough for a breather, gives enough information to let the reader ride along, then turns up the heat once more. And at 235 pages, it’s a quick read that hits the ground running and never looks back. I finished it in a couple of afternoons and was hungry for more. If paranormal mysteries are your cuppa, this will fill it right to the brim.
Sink your teeth into it and hang on.
Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler