Rising Moon Paranormal Romance by Rita Winner Lori Handeland
The author who wrote Blue Moon, which won Romance's biggest award, the RITA, released several standalone books in the USA Today Bestselling Nightcreature Novels. This one, Rising Moon, published in 2014, has a new cover that fits the current trend of headless torsos, but I prefer the old one, featuring New Orleans, a gorgeous man haunted by the moon, depicted by lovely art.
Paranormal Romance isn't my favorite genre, unless it's exploring something that could be true, such as telepathy, auras, shared or precognitive dreams, energy healing, remote viewing, egregores, astral imprints, or if it has Weird Fiction elements that menace in ways never seen before. I've never understood why authors stick to someone else's invention like vampires, werewolves, elves, hobbits, or zombies.
But as I teach fiction writing with UCLA and elsewhere, edit authors' manuscripts, and study what the reading public wants, I read beyond what I'd normally pick up for fun. When I can find a book in a genre that's not my favorite that entertains me all the way through, that's a big win for that author, in my mind. Rising Moon was such a novel.
It did get slightly tiresome, especially toward the end, to spend so much time learning the ins and outs of different types of werewolf lore but if any of these are traditions that have been around for a long time, that's interesting culturally. By the end, however, rather than reading a story about human emotion, I felt like I was reading a textbook on the types of creatures in the textbook itself. I did want their behaviors to symbolize human traits, such as narcisism, psychopathy, bipolar disorder, and so forth, for the book to resonate beyond the mental puzzle of types of wolf-related creatures. For the most part, I did get that out of it. The fear one gets after seeing a person act totally unlike himself and then not even remember it later.
Furthermore, the distinctions between different types of paranormal behavior in this book seemed to constantly lead to new information as if there were no strict set of rules established from the beginning and the author could make up whatever she wanted to get out of a sticky plot question by introducing new types of creatures.
Otherwise, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and was compelled to read until the end to find out the true nature of some of the characters and how their relationships would develop. I was glad about the reasonableness of the ending, the way the protagonists made healthy choices. The prose is very good, the situation unique, the female lead strong with interests beyond love, and her dilemmas major difficult choices.