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Hunter's Moon    by C. T. Adams & Cathy Clamp order for
Hunter's Moon
by C. T. Adams
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Tony Giodone has the reputation of being one of the best hit men in the business. Long-time ties to the mob ensure that his standing remains intact and his identity an enigma. But over the last few months he's had a run of bad luck. A victim he'd been stalking turned the tables and ended up ripping out this throat. Though he survived the werewolf attack, the bite transformed him. Since then he's been working hard to understand, control and incorporate this new dimension of his personality into his profession.

Though Sue Quentin hit the mega jackpot in a recent lottery win, she still feels like the unluckiest woman in the world - her life sucks and she wants out. Her demanding family and friends are pulling her in a hundred different directions and she can't take it any more. Too timid and insecure to kill herself, she does what she believes is the next best thing - she hunts down an assassin. Her only stipulation is that Tony arrange the hit at a time and place of his choosing. Tony is taken aback by his new client and her odd instructions. This is definitely a first for him. While he commends Sue for her creative, if unorthodox wish, he wants to make very sure that death is the right choice for her.

The more time they spend together going over the details, the more they're drawn to one other. Tony's new wolf senses tell him that Sue could well be his life mate - why else would he be so attuned to her? And Sue begins to think that she and Tony might just have a shot at being happy together. But when a fun weekend in Vegas reveals very dirty dealings and double crosses by a fellow mobster, Tony and Sue become targets, not only of Tony's arch rival Leo, but of his own shape shifting kind as well.

Hunter's Moon breaks away from some of the common denominators of today's romances. The story is entirely from the viewpoint of male lead Tony, whose profession and outlook on life are contrary to those of popular romance heroes. Tony makes no apologies for what he does for a living. Sue is his exact opposite, so much so that it's hard to believe that a man like Tony would fall for her. The authors wisely solve that problem with the 'life mate' explanation - otherwise Sue's painfully insecure personality would have stretched the believability meter just a tad.

Though the story gets bogged down half way through with an overly busy plot and too many chapters showing just how greedy, dysfunctional and annoying Sue's family is, Adams and Clamp make up for this by kicking up the action and adding some surprising twists before the ending. Theirs is a unique new voice in paranormal romance, and their fascinating shape shifter world bodes well for half a dozen sequels at least.

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