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REVIEW: A Pack Is More Than A Family – Edward Kendrick

A Pack Is More Than A Family - Edward Kendrick

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Rory Sullivan and his younger sister Molly are on the run, hiding from their parents’ killer. When they’re almost captured, shifter Deke Haggard intervenes to save them and then shelters them at his home, erroneously believing Rory is unaware he and his sister are also shifters. Deke offers to find out who killed their parents and why, calling on his ex Conall Taggart for assistance.

Conall is a shifter diplomat with extensive contacts within their world. What he discovers about why the Sullivans emigrated from Ireland may give a clue to who wanted them and their children dead. Then new information is uncovered that changes everything.

Will Conall and Deke be able to set a trap to catch the killer with Rory and Molly’s help? And can they survive Molly’s matchmaking in the process as she tries to make them see they still care for each other? Only time will tell.

The Review

This short novel offers us a nice new twist on the shifter (werewolf) theme, a trope that can be either fascinating or trite. 

In this instance, Kendrick focuses on the notions of family and kinship, and also on the deep prejudices that seem paradigmatic for werewolves. Deacon Haggard, known as Deke, is a mystery writer who stumbles across two homeless adolescents running for their lives. He takes the kids—Rory and Molly Sullivan—into his home to protect them, keeping from them the fact that he is a wolf shifter, and that he recognizes them as shifters themselves. Learning that they were burned out of their home in an arson intended to kill their whole family, Deke calls in his old friend (and onetime lover) Conall, who is adept at research within the hidden world of shifters. 

Every writer of shifter fiction gets to fiddle with details—in this case Kendrick gives his wolves the ability to shift without losing their clothing, and also the ability to teleport from one place to another. I mean, why not have magic powers if you’re already a werewolf, right?

Where Kendrick seems to stick to established lore parameters is in the family blood-feuds and twisted werewolf pride that may be endangering the lives of Rory and Molly. These familiar tropes seem to resonate across the world of werewolf fiction.

Kendrick’s writing is spare, and I desperately wanted more in the way of emotion between Deke and Conall.

On the other hand, Kendrick’s use of Molly as an adolescent alpha-female-in-the-making is a nice surprise. Molly is a remarkable girl, who becomes the lynchpin of the idea suggested by the book’s title. Deke and Conall, shunned by the shifter world for being gay (and not able to reproduce), team up with orphaned children, victims of the shifter world’s deeper prejudices. It felt to me as if there ought to be a sequel here. I hope Kendrick goes there.

Four stars.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

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