Monday, February 4, 2019

Stray Moon (Strays #2) by Kelly Meding

Title: Stray Moon: A Strays Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Fantasy
Series: A Strays Novel (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (February 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0062847708
ISBN-13: 978-0062847706
Author's Website:
Notes:  I received an eARC loan of the book for review purposes.

Eighty years ago, after World War II, the world learned that werewolves were real. They returned from the War among other revered heroes. Many myths were dispelled about them during that time, while others were proven to be true. Most could handle people who turned into wolves once a month and lived with their Pack, secluded from the bulk of society. When vampires came out ten years later, however, things got ugly. Many people couldn’t seem to handle the idea of bloodsuckers living next door, buying blood from willing donors, and generally proving that yes, some things really do go bump in the night. Not even the knowledge of how much control Masters had over their lines, or the care taken in choosing and turning new vampires seemed to assuage the bulk of folks—especially the religious ones.

Six years ago the Paranormal Investigation Units were officially formed—thanks to Julius Almeida and a few well-placed friends—on the argument that unique abilities were needed to handle other unique abilities. Shiloh Harrison is a Federal Marshal in one of the two existing Paranormal Investigations Units. For six years, the units were a force unto themselves with practically no oversight from the Department of Justice. As long as they do what is expected of them and keep the peace, they are left alone.

Two days ago, Shiloh and her team prevented a madman from creating a vampire army. They subsequently uncovered the deadly plot which revealed that the two men who had been in charge of the Paranormal Investigation Units were corrupt with hidden agendas. Two other members of the teams had been found to be double agents bringing all agents into question. Shiloh and her remaining teammates have been suspended for the past two days as their stories were collaborated, and their parts in the incident investigated. Things were complicated by the fact that Shiloh's memories were tampered with due to a deal she made with one of a sidhe. In exchange for information, she traded the memories of the person she loved the most. That person ended up being one of her teammates, Jaxon. For that reason, her story varied from the rest of her team where Jaxon was involved. For the next seven days they'll be on mandatory leave, and the future of the Para Marshals remains in question.

When Shiloh and her unit managed to expose the evil machinations of their superiors, they found something significantly absent--the missing werewolves. When they are approached by one of the Para Marshal from the other unit, and are asked to help locate the missing werewolves, they decide to forge ahead. Unsure if they'll ever be given permission to pursue any leads, but knowing time is of the essence they start investigating. All the while the memory of the threat that Weller and his cohort's made, that war is coming, looms in the background...
This is the second book of the Strays series, and if Kelly continues on the course she's so far plotted for this series, I believe I may have just found one of my next favorite paranormal fantasy series. Pardon me while I do a little happy dance. *grin* I recommend you read Stray Magic before starting this novel. It lays the foundation for the series, and if you don't read it first, you'll kick yourself later.

This novel reminded me a bit of Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series. Perhaps it's the fact that werewolves are involved, or maybe it's a little of the situation that plays out. All I know is that I'm loving the story and the intricacies that are involved in solving the cases.

Just when we think we know all there was to know about Shiloh (minus a few backstories), the author pulls something out of her sleeve and boom. We find out we don't know the half of it. I rather liked that. Shiloh makes some poor choices in this one, but she's a passionate individual who seems to always put others first. Plus, she doesn't really know who to trust. If her bosses were corrupt who else could be? After all, the Paranormal Investigation Units were the brain child of Julius, Shiloh's former boss, and some of his friends, and that makes everything so very interesting. I'm very intrigued as to where this series will go.    

At the beginning of Stray Moon, 14 mated pairs of werewolves are missing from their packs. The only other common links among them is that none of them have any children and they all seemingly vanished without a word to anyone. When Shiloh and her team start to investigate, they meet with some resistance from the pack's Alpha, but as they explain why they are there they're given leave to investigate.

Chandra Goodfellow is a Moon witch and a Para Marshal from the other Paranormal Investigations Unit that exists. She's got a personal stake in two of the werewolves that went missing. She helped the pair give birth to three healthy children. They are the only pair among the missing that have ever had children, but their children died under suspicious circumstances. Since Packs don't allow modern medicine, the true reason that they died may be forever lost. As Shiloh and crew investigate, they uncover a disturbing fact--the number of children being born to werewolves over the years has diminished significantly. Whether this is a natural occurrence, or whether something far more nefarious is going on remains a mystery. It's all part of the puzzle Shiloh and her team will need to figure out.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I'm loving the dynamics between the characters, the creativeness of how the team maneuvers situations, and even the cliffhangers at the end. The series has so many hints of things to come scattered throughout that it sparks one's neurons and makes you wonder where things will go next. I love when a series does that. I'm again foregoing a romance rating as this one is sorely lacking in that department. There is a hint of a whisper that one is on the horizon, but it's just not in the cards, or dare I say pages, yet. *grin*    

Order of Strays series:

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