Dana reviews Stalker of Shadows (SPECTR Series 3 Book 1) by Jordan L.Hawk. (Published May 17, 2019, 129 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the audiobook review of SPECTR Series 1 click here.
To read the audiobook review of SPECTR Series 2 Books 1-3 click here.
To read the ebook review of Breaker of Chains (SPECTR Series 2 Book 4) click here.
To read the ebook review of Shaker of Earth (SPECTR Series 2 Book 5) click here.
Some stones are better left unturned…
John Starkweather feels restless. Though still technically an agent for SPECTR, his only job now seems to be hanging out with his boyfriends, Caleb and the vampire spirit Gray, and binge-watching TV in their New Orleans apartment.
The inactivity comes to an abrupt end when a rougarou attacks John’s estranged grandfather. Even though he hasn’t seen his family since he was a teen, John can’t pass up the opportunity to reconnect.
The more John investigates the attack, the stranger everything about it seems, from his parents’ odd behavior to the rougarou’s unnatural size. And the closer John comes to finding answers, the nearer he draws to a truth that might be better left uncovered.
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This is definitely a new start for John, Caleb, and Gray, and it feels very new as the reader, too. After the debacle that happened in Charleston at the end of Shaker of Earth, the three are deposited in New Orleans with no real mission. This is definitely a move that is difficult for John. Caleb always felt like a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of guy. I don’t feel like he really had roots even before Gray ended up cohabiting his body with him. And Gray is the kind of creature that would prefer to roam the world and eat demons or NHE’s as the SPECTR agency calls them. They both ended up with ties, not to a place, but to a person, when they met John. As long as they are with John, their new identity and menial job isn’t a problem for them. The SPECTR office that John had worked at was pretty much all he had ever know, after his parents kicked him out and he was raised by the organization to make use of his psychic gifts.
So things are feeling pretty uncomfortable for John at the beginning of this book, and it only gets more so, when he finds out his family has been living in New Orleans for some time and that his grandfather was just attacked by a Rougarou (a swamp dwelling werewolf). When he decides to join in on the investigation, he does see his mother and father again, and they aren’t any more welcoming to him than they were in the past. His cousin Ryan does seem to be a really nice guy though. But, I have to wonder. I want to believe that John has at least one decent relative in the bunch but in this series, I have to question characters intentions. And there is the allusion to a family truth that John might uncover in the blurb. John’s mother says something in the book that makes John question what he knows about himself, but any secrets there might be are still hidden at the end of this book, so I definitely can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Besides, John’s family issues, there are the rougarous, which are usually solitary creatures that feed on lone wanderers into their territory. Their behavior in this book is odd, and John, Caleb, and Gray (with a little help from some old friends, yay!) have to figure out why there seems to be a convergence of them in the area. John learns that his old leader Kaniyar really doesn’t trust Caleb and Gray, and that he might be the only reason they are still alive. It gives him a sense of purpose that he was missing, but he also wants to get back to exorcising demons and living a semi-normal life. Gray and Caleb come upon an NHE that I am really hoping will play a helpful part in future books as well. On a personal level, John, Caleb, and Gray aren’t quite where they were before John caught Gray feeding on a human. I really hope that they can begin to work on their trust issues in the next book.
While the author wrote the book very well, the growing pains that the characters were going through made things feel a little disjointed. A few things are left in the air at the end of the book and the ending feels a bit cut short. That won’t stop me from reading whatever future books come out in the series and recommending this book and all the past ones. This is definitely not a stand-alone read, so check out all the previous books if you haven’t already.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Jordan L. Hawk is a non-binary queer author from North Carolina. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave them a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When they aren’t writing, they brew their own beer and try to keep the cats from destroying the house. Their best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.
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