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I Belong


Early Review: Stalking the Others by Jess Haines

Stalking the Others (#4) by Jess HainesTitleStalking the Others

Author: Jess Haines

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: H & W Investigations (Book 4)

Publication Date: July 3, 2012

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 1420124021 (Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-1420124026 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Sheila

Synopsis

Vampires, werewolves, mages–the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…

Once, she was one of the good guys–or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon.

Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia’s not sure she’ll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter’s belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can–and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left…

Quick & Dirty: An angry and out of control PI hunts down a pack of werewolves she thinks is responsible for her own werewolf infection.  Dark and stormy, this book has lots of anger and bitterness in the driver’s seat.

Opening SentenceMy fingertips pressed against the cool stone of the ledge, helping me balance as I crouched on the balls of my feet.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Stalking the Others, the fourth installment of H & W Investigations series, has taken a decidedly darker turn.  Throughout the series, Shiarra Waynest has desired only one thing: for the Others to leave her alone.  Sadly, it was not meant to be and now it looks like she will soon be one of them herself.  In a fit of rage at the end of the last book, Shiarra declares vengeance on those that wronged her.  With the help of a sentient hunter’s belt and the extremist anti-Other group known as the White Hats, she begins to stalk the members of the Sunstrikers pack in an effort to find the ones she feels are responsible for her predicament.  There is a time factor though.  She only has until the next full moon to take her revenge before it is too late.

Shiarra has always been driven by her emotions.  First, she allowed her prejudice to override her rationality.  Next, she allowed her ignorance and fear to keep her from getting to know the Others as people instead of monsters.  Then, she allowed her love to blindside her sense of self-preservation.  It is the MO of Shiarra to overreact to situations, time and time again.  In this book, she allows her anger to drive her to do things that, under normal circumstances, she would feel is against her morals and ethics.  So, why is she so confrontational in this one?  Is it really just a matter of her potential turning that is driving her, or is there something else influencing her to violence?  Either way, Shiarra goes off the deep end.

Her relationship with Chaz is non-existent at this point.  No matter the reason, Shiarra doesn’t want to hear his excuses any longer.  The more she learns of his actions through the White Hats, the more she is justified in her hatred.  Not that she needed any help in the blame-Chaz-for-everything department.  Shiarra has most definitely leaned toward thinking the worst of Chaz for every problem arising in their relationship.  I highly doubt that quality is helpful in a lasting partnership.  Now that she is involved with the White Hats and using them as a resource in her hunt, Shiarra opens herself up more to their point-of-view, and their prejudices.

The White Hats are more explored in this book.  The dealings and motivations of some of their members are explored, including the enigmatic leader, Jack.  His reasons for getting involved with Shiarra are, not only explained, but elaborated on.  He wants her to be his successor; if she finds out she is not really infected.  The irony surrounding his decision is not lost on Shiarra.  If she accepts, will the rest of the White Hats accept and follow her as their leader?  Is Shiarra’s hatred of all things Others so strong that she could dedicate her life to their destruction?

We also learn more about the sentient belt and the spirit harbored within it.  His name is Isaac and his story is a sad one.  Shiarra’s story may not be as tragic, she can definitely relate to Isaac’s hate-driven motivations.  While they may see eye to eye on many issues, can Shiarra truly hunt down and kill all the Others, or will she be content to punish the ones that only hurt her personally?  Will Isaac’s influence grow stronger with time and change her mind?

Shiarra is a very passionate character.  She leads with her heart and emotions first, and logic and deductive reasonings second.  If not for her friends, Shiarra would have no one to ground her in reality.  The true question that remains is this: Who are her real friends and who can she truly trust?  Though the ending of this book is a shock, it was not unexpected.  I hope to see the showdown between Alec Royce and Shiarra Waynest in the next book.  Maybe if they hash it out, there can be a happily-ever-after in both of their futures.

Notable Scene:

They’d done it.  They’d done what Royce had promised would never happen.  The vampires had hurt Sara.  Taken her away.  Used her as Royce had intended to use me.

My muscles began to go into spasms of their own accord.  Though my first reaction had been sickness and fear for Sara, a righteous anger was quickly burning those lesser emotions away.  Wesley stiffened, gauging my reaction with mixed wariness and confusion.  Everyone in the hall had fallen silent, watching as I fought and lost an inner battle over whether or not to draw a stake.

The belt won.  Wesley’s eyes widened, and he took a single step back s I drew a stake, throwing my head back and arching as I howled a mix of loss, fury, and a righteous need for the hunt.

Much like my battle cry when I had faced Dillon, this sound was never meant to come from a human throat.  It rent the air like a physical blade, cutting through the silence and driving the vampires back as if I were chasing them off with crosses and holy water.

It didn’t stop until I ran out of air.  And I only waited a moment, getting into position to attack Wesley, who was holding his ears and looking just as stunned as the rest of the vampires in the hallway.

“Jesus, lady,” said Thad from somewhere behind me, “chill the fuck out.”

With a snarl, I launched myself at Wesley, driving the stake forward-directly toward his heart.

The H & W Investigations Series:

1. Hunted by the Others

2. Taken by the Others

3. Deceived by the Others

4. Stalking the Others

 

FTC Advisory: Kensington Books graciously provided me with a copy of Stalking the OthersNo goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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