Author Name: Geonn Cannon
Publication Date & Length: April 2012 – 185 pgs
Ariadne Willow is a private investigator with a secret weapon. She’s a canidae, a person with the ability to transform into a wolf at will. Using her heightened senses to track and her shapeshifting to follow people without being seen, she’s made a decent business for herself and her associate Dale Frye. When one of the richest women in Seattle wishes to hire her, Ari and Dale think their ship has finally come in. All Ari has to do is observe the client’s tabloid-friendly daughter, fresh out of rehab, and confirm that she’s truly clean.
Ari thinks the case will be a piece of cake, but a moment of shocking violence changes everything. Soon Ari finds herself backed into a corner with no way out, forced to either run or risk losing everything she holds dear by fighting an enemy with unlimited power and resources. With Dale refusing to leave her side, Ari decides to make a stand to remind her enemies that there’s only one rule in betting…
Always bet on the underdogs.
This book came recommended, so I was excited to give it a read. I jokingly said, “No werewolf stories!” and was informed that I would like this one because the main character is a wolf (technically “canidae”), not a werewolf.I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s a fun, light read that had all the elements to make me happy: A bit of fairy tale/supernatural, a crime to solve, and women falling in love. What’s not to like?
The main characters, Ari and Dale, are likeable and fun. I enjoyed getting to know them as the story unfolded. They are smart, savvy, and capable, but they’re not specimens of perfect womanhood, which I appreciated. Their relationship felt natural to me, if a bit predictable (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
It felt a bit slow to start, though I was glad for the background information. The pace picked up quickly, however, and I was soon absorbed.
There were a few moments where I had to suspend my disbelief, and not regarding the wolf-human elements. For example, the climactic “take down the bad guys” scene was a bit over-the-top and unrealistic. However, it fit the story, and unless one cares about having a true-to-life crime story ending, it doesn’t really matter.
The “murder mystery” plot wasn’t much of a mystery, as it’s both predictable from the beginning and the whodunnit is known about halfway through. So if you’re looking for a true mystery, this is not it. The fun is in how Ari and Dale thwart the bad guys and find their happy-for-now ending. So if that’s your thing, this is definitely the book for you.
I did think there were some frequently-used detective story themes, and it was a bit hard to tell if those were intended as tongue-in-cheek or to be taken seriously. I lean towards the former because the general tone of the book is fairly light, but that might be off-putting for someone looking for a fresh take.
I thought the sensuality was just right in terms of how much/how descriptive relative to the rest of the plot. There were a few moments where it felt just a bit choppy, but it evened out.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and look forward to more.
I give it 4 stars.
Underdogs by Geonn Cannon is right up my alley. I LOVE paranormal books. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, whatever, bring it on! That being said, I’m also quite picky about what I read. When I saw the word “shifter” in the description of this book, I was quite skeptical because the last thing I wanted to read was another version of Twilight.
This isn’t that. Underdogs is light, easy to read, and has a nice flow. I was able to get through it in a few hours with no problem. Also good is the character development. Ari and Dale both feel like real people. Their relationship feels real, the characters have flaws and they aren’t perfect. It’s rare to get such depth of development in a novel of this length, and Cannon did a masterful job there.
Now for the not so good. If you’re expecting the mystery aspect to be anything other than a vehicle for the relationship, you’re going to be disappointed. There isn’t much mystery to the “whodunit” aspect and the mystery part is pretty formulaic and simple. Overall, the novel is predictable from start to finish.
Overall, this was definitely worth my time, and I enjoyed reading it a lot. The predictability didn’t detract from the readability or the smoothness of the writing.
Rating: Three and a half stars.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1wknQW9
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/YHJzwl
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1qyMsuE
Geonn Cannon was born in a barn and raised to know better than that. He was born and raised in Oklahoma where he’s been enslaved by a series of cats, dogs, two birds and one unexpected turtle. He’s spent his entire life creating stories but only became serious about it when he realized it was a talent that could impress girls. Learning to write well was easier than learning to juggle, so a career was underway. His high school years were spent writing stories among a small group of friends and reading whatever books he could get his hands on.
Geonn was inspired to create the fictional Squire’s Isle after a 2004 trip to San Juan Island in Washington State. His first novel set on the island, On the Air, was written almost as a side project to another story he wanted to tell. Reception to the story was so strong that the original story was put on the back burner to deal with the world created in On the Air. His second novel set in the same universe, Gemini, was also very well received and went on to win the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Novel, Dramatic/General Fiction. Geonn was the first male author to receive the honor.
While some of his novels haven’t focused as heavily on Squire’s Isle, the vast majority of Geonn’s works take place in the same universe and have connections back to the island and its cast of characters (the exception being the Riley Parra series). In addition to writing more novels based on the inhabitants of Squire’s Isle, Geonn hopes to one day move to the real-life equivalent to inspire further stories.
Author’s Website: http://www.geonncannon.com/