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Crescent Moon: A Nightcreature Novel    by Lori Handeland order for
Crescent Moon
by Lori Handeland
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Diana Malone is determined to prove her late husband's theory that supernatural creatures exist, even though she has never been a true believer. When a mysterious client enlists her aid to track down a swamp wolf, Diana is skeptical - everyone knows there aren't any wolves in Louisiana. Even so Diana figures she'd be foolish to refuse such a lucrative invitation. It doesn't take her long to become immersed in the Crescent City's allure and to realize that within its shadowy streets the impossible is very real. Her swamp guide's throat is ripped out and soon thereafter the kindly librarian who's been helping her with research suddenly disappears. Things only get creepier when both are resurrected as fanged zombies. Diana herself receives mysterious tokens that suggest that her life is in danger, but refuses to be intimidated.

Former Army Ranger Adam Ruelle enjoys his quiet solitude deep within the swamps. But when Diana sets up camp in his rundown plantation house, his days of seclusion and secrecy are over. After his attempts to scare her away fail, he agrees to act as her guide. But both know that theirs is more than a business arrangement - their sizzling attraction won't be denied for long. Diana soon realizes that Adam is hiding something, especially when wolves with blue eyes begin invading her dreams. Is Adam the werewolf that's been terrorizing the swamp and making love to her in her dreams? Or does the increased werewolf activity point to a Ruelle family curse that Adam is determined to keep secret?

Handeland puts a fresh spin on the proceedings by moving the action to New Orleans, a city rich in otherworldly history. She does a great job of infusing her story with just the right amount of spookiness and mystery to keep readers turning pages. Diana and Adam are well-matched and interesting leads (although I could have done without Adam's Cajun dialect). A nice cast of secondaries helps round out the story. Grumpy werewolf hunter Edward Mandenauer (head of the Jager-Suchers) also returns, if only for a brief walk-on. Sizzling love scenes add even more spice to the brew, making Crescent Moon an entertaining addition to the Nightcreature series.

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