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REVIEW: Unacceptable Risk – Kaje Harper

Unacceptable Risk - Kaje Harper

Genre: Paranormal

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay, Bisexual

Reviewer: Tony

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About The Book

For a hidden shifter, falling in love with a man may be the death of them both.

Simon Conley knows about being an outcast. Born into a secret werewolf pack, he’s the lone gay wolf, an outsider even among his packmates. The top wolves consider him a perversion, a failure, and a security risk. To survive in the human world, werewolves rely on absolute secrecy, and any breaches of their code are dealt with swiftly— and violently.

So when Simon falls in love with Paul, a human man, even his Alpha’s grudging tolerance won’t protect him. He must keep Paul from discovering the truth about him and the secrets the pack jealously guards, or it’s not just their love that’ll end up dead.

(A re-release of the 2012 story with light editing and the 1.15 short story included)

The Review

The Hidden Wolves series deals with how badly werewolves deal with having a gay wolf in their pack. Their usual coping method is to kill young wolves as soon as they are identified even if that wolf has done nothing to deserve such treatment. The stories in the series do not shy away from tackling all the issues that disturb a reader like me.

I found everything that made me angry about a werewolf’s knee jerk responses made either Paul or Simon angry, and they were not afraid to confront them. This is all dealt with naturally and realistically.

Simon and Paul are the main characters here, although others vie for attention. They will get their turn as the series develops. The story follows the growing love between Simon and Paul from their first meeting to their bonding.

Simon is gay, and an outed gay wolf at that. His alpha, Gordon has conditionally accepted that Simon is gay but that is far from universal across the pack. Simon has to watch his back and is not always successful at that.

He’s attacked while out on a run as a wolf and left for dead on a snow covered road. That is where Paul, a vet, finds him. Simon is drawn to him and cannot keep away from him.

Paul, on the other hand, is straight – or at least he thought he was until he met Simon in his human form. The problem is that Paul discovers Simon is a werewolf, and another werewolf witnesses this. There can only be one outcome of this – both their deaths. The story follows the two from this first meeting to the confrontation with the pack. 

The world is changing, and the wolves are clinging on to their dodgy values. Karl, the pack second, is a prime example of an old-world wolf, violent, dominant and more than a little psychotic. The rest of the wolves are more varied. They come in all shapes and sizes, all temperaments and inclinations. The pack gives meaning to their lives, but it does not stop individuals from fighting for what they feels is right – including helping others, wolf or human, in peril. As long as they are not gay, although some wolves are not so rigid about that. 

The writing is excellent, and the wolves are suitably complicated and conflicted. A wonderful read! Next one please.

The Reviewer

Tony is an Englishman living amongst the Welsh and the Other Folk in the mountains of Wales. He lives with his partner of thirty-six years, four dogs, two ponies, various birds, and his bees. He is a retired lecturer and a writer of no renown but that doesn’t stop him enjoying what he used to think of as ‘sensible’ fantasy and sf. He’s surprised to find that if the story is well written and has likeable characters undergoing the trails of life, i.e. falling in love, falling out of love, having a bit of nooky (but not all the time), fending off foes, aliens and monsters, etc., he’ll be happy as a sandperson who has just offloaded a wagon of sand at the going market price. As long as there’s a story, he’s in. He aims to write fair and honest reviews. If he finds he is not the target reader he’ll move on. 

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