Fair Game (Alpha And Omega)
by Patricia Briggs
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441020034
Date: 06 March 2012 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The werewolves are now out. The Marrok, Bran Cornick, is determined that all werewolves in his territory will keep to the laws. Punishment for infractions are no longer acceptable and there's only one sentence - death. Werewolves don't have the same fairy tale background as the elves -- their tales are mostly of blood and horror. Bran has been sending his son, Charles, who has always been his executioner, out. Charles has gone from a person who had the flexibility to dispense justice, to a killer. His jobs for his father have gone from three or four a year to more than that number a month.
Anna, Charles' wife, is worried for him. Charles no longer sings or plays his instruments. Bran won't listen to her and belittles her and her worries -- something he's never done before. Anna turns to the Moor, Asil, for help. After his visit to Bran, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston to work with the FBI and help them find a serial killer who is killing werewolves. They're also supposed to find out why the Boston alpha, Isaac Owens, didn't report the loss of the wolves killed in his territory. They are also to evaluate Owens since he's a very young wolf himself.
Anna is in charge and Charles is her bodyguard for this trip. They are to work with two FBI agents, two CNTRP agents (Combined Nonhuman Transhuman Relations Provisors), and one Homeland Security agent. Once they met and learned about the present cases and a bit about the history, it turned out, because Charles recognized several victims, that the killer or killers had been targeting fae or half-fae from the beginning and may now be adding werewolves to their list of victims.
Another victim is taken shortly after Charles and Anna arrive and the FBI asks them to help out. They need to find the girl before she's killed. Her father, a powerful fae, joins the hunt for the killer. At this point, the story becomes a police procedural with fae, werewolves, and witches. There's a time limit and supernatural abilities that need to be compensated for but at heart, we have a mystery that must be solved before more people die.
There are also a couple of side issues. There's a movement to class werewolves as an endangered species which would essential strip them of their rights as citizens. Charles is not just beaten down by the killing he is doing for his father. He is consumed with guilt, and in this instance, guilt can kill him. He's trying to protect Anna by cutting himself off from her. Brother Wolf and Anna are not taking too kindly to this tactic as it can impede their ability to solve the crimes and find the killers.
Once again, Briggs brings her world alive, allowing readers to once again join on an adventure with two of her continuing characters. In Brigg's stories, readers can't assume that even favorite characters are going to come out unscathed or even alive -- bad things happen to good people in these novels.
Captured from the first pages with a bit of backstory, this book was difficult to put down until the last page was turned. While basically urban fantasy, these books deal with issues of injustice, prejudice, power, and control. Issues that readers face every day of their lives, and somehow Briggs manages to tell and intelligent, exciting story that can seem to give you a break from your problems but helps to send you back into your world with a bit more confidence that you can deal with whatever the world throws at you. At least you don't have to deal with werewolves, ticked off fae, or angry witches.
Again, highly recommended.