Hi there! I’m so excited to share my review of Brad Vance’s WEREWOLVES OF BROOKLYN, a historical, paranormal, M/M adventure/romance. I really dug the new mythology Brad’s unleashed, and look forward to more stories in this series.
About the book:
Darien Mackey wasn’t looking for an adventure. For ten years, he’d been happy living in Brooklyn, working as a butcher in the same job, living in the same apartment, dating some “nothing-special” guys. Until one night his buddy Jacob talked him into taking ayahuasca, the soul-changing drug. And Darien had a vision…of a wolf, its all-too-human eyes on him, its paws on his chest, its enquiring mind in his own…
Darien Mackey is changing. He’s more confident, more assertive, hungrier, hornier. And his world is changing around him – his job, his home, his beloved Mechanic’s Library all falling victim to the predations of unscrupulous developers, bent on demolishing the old Brooklyn he loves and replacing it with a forest of condos. But he’s no longer a passive observer of his own life, and as this thing, this power, grows inside of him, he resolves to fight back, to preserve the way of life he loves.
And he’s not alone in the fight. The Lipsius Preservation Society of Brooklyn stands ready to assist in the battle, even though it seems like a bit of a joke to Darien, with its King and its Duke, Marquess, Earl and Viscount.
But there’s nothing funny about his growing attraction to Albeus Finley, King of this mysterious Court. And when slumlords and condo-mongers start to die mysterious, violent deaths at the hands of savage animals, Darien begins to realize that something is afoot in Brooklyn – something supernatural.
And it’s afoot in him, too…
A little teaser:
The wolf’s eyes were lava-yellow with hate. His growl and his snarl were meant to terrify Darien, to freeze him in his tracks, prepare him for his death.
Then something rose up in Darien, rage, frustration, primal energy. And his own lips curled, his own growl met the enemy’s.
The Duke retreated a pace, taken aback. Darien felt sharp pains in his palms and looked down. Where he’d had fingernails, he had claws, long and sharp, and the fists he was making were digging them into his flesh.
He smiled, exhilarated, wild. He lunged and snapped at his enemy, knowing that his canines had become…literally that, elongated spikes ready to tear out a neck.
Darien’s ears were ringing, something surging in him beyond mortal feeling – like testosterone but stronger, more powerful, the smell of victory, immortality.
“The King is mine,” Darien declared. “And I am his.”
He knew he’d taken a step from which there was no turning back. He was the King’s man, the King’s consort. He would open to Albeus and take him, and be taken by him, and he would be alone no more.
He was one of the pack.
And it curdled the blood of men for miles around when he raised his face to the full moon, and howled.
I must admit, I’m addicted to shifter stories. I’ve read dozens by now, and I was so engaged in this one. It’s not the normal “guy gets bitten” story, though. In fact, the mythos regarding transformation was completely new to me and gave the story a freshness I didn’t expect.
Darien is a man out of time. He lives in contemporary Brooklyn but he doesn’t have a TV or a computer. He has restored his apartment to it’s Old World charm, and has learned to be a craftsman butcher, traveling to Italy, Poland and other areas to learn from the masters. He’s an apprentice to Mr. Nowak who is more father than employer. Every Sunday he sits to dinner with the Nowak’s and Darien is a part of their family–well, until money comes into the matter. Mr. Nowak is offered $12 million for his property, including his business and Darien’s apartment above it. The Nowak family is clamoring to sell, but Mr. Nowak is holding out for Darien to find a new job, a new home, and the family is growing impatient.
Also impatient are the real estate developers who cannot wait to carve the history and soul out of Darien’s once down-rodden Brooklyn slum, as expertly as Darien would carve a side of beef. Gentrification is ripping the heart right out of the area, and the historic Mechanic’s Library is on the chopping block, as well. Invigorated by an experience with Amazonian medicine, (read: psychadelic trip) Darien cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Becoming an activist for the first time in his life, Darien meets all the members of a community he’d lived in yet hardly experienced. Among them the Court.
Darien thought the Lipsius Preservation Society would be a consortium of billionaires who’d never worked a day and had money to blow–and he was so, so wrong. Their Old World manners belied a secret world that Darien was only beginning to experience. And, as his hungers become more and more primal, Darien knows that Albeus, King of the Court, is the secret to understanding his brave new world.
I really was taken by Darien–such an old soul. His attraction to Albeus is immediate, and Albeus senses this, but the physicality comes so much later. Darien doesn’t understand the full ramifications of his dabbling in the spectral plane, but he does get that he is forever changed, and that his transformation is not complete. His energy is through the roof, he’s ravenous, and his sexual appetite is far more physical than previously. Albeus is a bit stunned by the rapid pace of Darien’s transition, but he’s grateful–it seems clear the connection between them is more than camaraderie, in contrast to that with the bulk of the Court. No, Albeus and Darien believe they are mates–and move all the more slowly to cement a permanent bond.
In the backdrop are the realty haggles, personal tragedy, and Albeus’ own transformation story. The book is so well-developed and richly textured I could see it all unfold through Darius and Albeus’ eyes the entire time. I really loved the slow burn, but I’d have liked a bit more sexytimes, too.
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About the author:
Brad Vance writes gay romance, erotica and paranormal stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Given the Circumstances.” Keep up with Brad at BradVanceErotica.wordpress.com, email him at BradVanceErotica@gmail.com, and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/brad.vance.10.