Review: Hair of the Dog by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Authors: Ashlyn Kane, Morgan James
Original Release Date: January 23, 2012
Formats: ebook, TPB
Pages: 250
ISBN #: 978-1-61372-346-3
FTC Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the reviewer.

I was excited about this release from the first time I heard about it. It promised an original shifter concept and it certainly delivered on that front. I liked the characters, both main and supporting. I enjoyed the plot direction and pace of events; there was instant attraction and leaking pheromones, but there was a nice build up before anything too physical happened between them. And involving the new wolf, Ezra, in the community and CDC investigation gave the story more depth while everyone waited for him to shift for the first time.

The bad guy was well hidden. So much so that it isn’t until the very, very end that it is even clear what his motivation was. There was a long while when I didn’t have any idea who it could have been.  I love when that happens because I don’t want the mystery to be too easy. But was it by design? Even knowing the end and thinking back, I’m not sure I can pick out any clues I could/should have picked up on. We learn relatively early on that the “experiments” are expendable weapons, presumably against anyone opposing the baddy, but once the baddy is revealed I was momentarily disappointed when old-fashioned bigotry and prejudice appeared to be the cause. Luckily, it wasn’t the sole reasoning, as more information in the last few paragraphs paint a much larger scheme.

I don’t usually mention technical aspects in my reviews because I am certainly no expert, but I find 2 points relevant in this case. They are:

  • The first point being tangents. Every story starts with basic, somewhat dry facts that grow into something more exciting by way of color commentary. There were quite a few times in this story that the color commentary driving the action and inner dialogue would enhance the facts but would wind itself into circles and on in to left field somewhere before making it’s way back to the topic at hand. As most books have instances of this happening at some time or another, I almost didn’t mention it here. The only reason I do is because this point is more obvious in combination with my next point.
  • The word “had.” As much as I liked the concept of the story, the characters of the story, and the events of the story, I kept getting sidetracked, setting the book aside. After thinking it over I have decided I am not a fan of the past tense/passive style this story is written in. So much happened off-page, earlier, just outside of “now” so the characters needed to “catch us up.” There was no sense of urgency in this high-pressured situation because everyone is obviously fine if they were all sitting around talking/thinking about what just happened. Two potentially awesome, non-typical FBI agents appeared watered down, almost like they were waiting for the answers to just fall in their laps. A quick word search shows that the word “had/hadn’t” shows up over 1,000 times in 231 e-book pages, not counting he’d/she’d/they’d/you’d/we’d variations that could have been either “he had” or “he would” depending on the context. The phrase “had been” was used 150 times alone. The following example is a complete paragraph, which may or may not be technically correct, but strikes me weird.

Though [baddy jr.] wasn’t able to move B-H30-5 until the Boss had arrived and told him to cooperate, he had fitted him with handcuffs and promised that a fight would be had soon. B-H30-5 hadn’t listened, of course, but when the Boss arrived, he had submitted to being moved easily enough.

A quick word search of a few stories of similar length that I rated 5 stars has the “had” count falling between 100-200. While this may mean very little to anyone else’s reading enjoyment, it tells me that I prefer to be right next to my characters … when they know, I know.

*review originally posted by MANtastic on on  February 12, 2012*

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