Sunday, June 08, 2008

Crescent Moon, Lori Handeland

Lori Handeland has been around for a little while now, writing some excellent fiction, if Crescent Moon is anything to go by. (And I am pretty sure it is - I am hoping to get the rest very soon!)
Synposis: New Orleans is known for sinful pleasures and strange magic, but for cryptozoologist Diana Malone it offers one irresistible attraction. For over a hundred years there have been whispers of the wolves around the Crescent City, and the recent discovery of bodies in the nearby swamps hints at a creature even more dangerous…one that could make Diana’s career and fortune, if she lives to capture it.

Adam Ruelle is a reclusive former Special Forces officer, the last of the mysterious Cajun family rumored to be cursed, and the only person skilled enough to guide Diana in her search. Rugged and captivating, he fills her nights with desire…but by day, Diana is plagued with doubts. Adam clearly knows more than he’s telling, but is his aim to protect her or to distract her? Something is stalking its prey in the Louisiana bayou, and every step towards the horrifying truth brings Diana closer to a centuries-old enemy that lives for the smell of fear and the thrill of killing, again and again…
This book is for people who love Kelly Armstrong, Patricia Briggs and CE Murphy, amongst others. It is urban fantasy at it best. The story unfolds easily and it is a very satisfying (and sexy) read. I have always loved New Orleans. I would still love to go and visit it. This has made me want to go even more. The book is filled with interesting people, sights and sounds. To make my reading experience even better, I put Harry Connick Jnr on my MP3 player and listened to some good Olreans jazz. It all fit.
Ms. Handeland has put together an interesting story and probably one of the sexiest leading men I have had the honour to read in a very long time - sorry, Carla, Clay doesn't stand a chance against Adam!
The book is difficult to explain as it has a certain feel to it. It has a slight breathlessness about it that is similar to the quiet before a tremendous tropical storm. The milieu of New Orleans is used tremendously well as a backdrop. Bourbon Street is familiar to everyone but you have this idea that just off of Bourbon Street with its tourist traps you will find something that is not quite civilised when you do go looking. Something that might just claw your face off or leave you bereft of blood.
It is not a story about a Lestat-clone. It is better - sorry Anne Rice. It is about werewolves, but it is about more than that - the South and the Crescent City itself seems to pulse with magic in the book. I genuinely liked the main character Diana Malone and found reading about cryptozoology very interesting. I hope she makes a reappearance in some of Ms. Handeland's other books.
I read the book in a day - not because it was a slender offering, to the contrary. We had a powercut and what better to do than sit outside in the sunshine, drinking Pimms, and reading? The fact that the author is an effortless storyteller genuinely helped - it was smooth sailing and I found a lot of the in-jokes very funny. The Priestess Cassandra (she helps Diana with some voodoo questions) pipes up quite blatantly and says she is a big fan of Anne Rice and Laurell K Hamilton's. It had me spluttering my Pimms everywhere. It was excellent.
The story revels in its own mystery and lushness. Who wouldn't fall for an extraordinarily handsome man who lives wild in a swamp with his own decaying mansion?! Especially if he is Cajun and sounds hotter than George Clooney dipped in Ben and Jerry's?
A very sexy and crunchy read and one I would recommend to people who like the paranormal shows and books.

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