When I grow up, I want to be able to write like Lori Handeland. She has been one of my favorite all-time authors, ever since she began producing the Nightcreature/Jager-Sucher novels. I know. I often admit that I do NOT like romance stories (and would not attempt to write such myself - thanks to my ultra-conservative upbringing and discomfort with spectator sex) but I definitely make an exception for reading Lori's dark fantasy books because she weaves every relationship into a much larger and more compelling mystery that's very fun to watch unfold naturally, like a Venus Flytrap, where the plot eventually snaps shut at the most opportune moment. In the meanwhile, the reader keeps waiting for that suspenseful moment to happen . . . the mysterious unraveling, I mean.
Hunter's Moon, by Lori Handeland ($4.99 in paperback)
Hunter's Moon is no exception to the anticipation and pleasure I've gained from every other one of Lori's werewolf books. This one is about a Jager-Sucher (werewolf hunter) named Leigh who had her soul ripped out through her throat the very day she watched her high school sweetheart and family get murdered by a werewolf-stalker who wanted to change Leigh into a creature of the night. Her boyfriend and family attempted to get in the way, protecting Leigh, and now they're all dead.
In spite of Leigh's visually disturbing horror, experiences that would have turned anyone else into an emotional zombie, she still has a pulsing heart. She just tries to keep her feelings under wraps while she goes about avenging all who were once very dear to her - by killing werewolves everywhere she meets one.
When a new love-prospect begins to bloom, the reader is very much engaged in the main characters' life and desperately hoping that Leigh and this gorgeous mystery man will seriously get together, romantically. This is where Lori's work is different from all those other romance books that I loathe, where the main characters start "going at it," sexually, from the beginning, long before the reader is emotionally invested in either party.
Because I always attempt to quantify the things I write about a book, here's a simple excerpt, from page 61, where Leigh has just met her understudy (female coworker) at the door and our lovely main character is walking around, completely naked. This short segment shows how engaging Lori's writing consistently proves to be.
"You plan on getting dressed anytime soon?" Jessie asked, staring pointedly at the window.'
I smirked. At last I'd rattled her cage. "You shy?"
"I can see you're not."
As I was saying, Lori's work effectively tugs at your heart. In Hunter's Moon, you'll WANT the relationships to develop further because the individuals behind any chemical attraction scenario are inspiring and respectable. JagerSucher Leigh proves over and over again that she has heart and soul (so this reader relates to her, on a very committed level).