Draw One in the Dark
by Sarah A. Hoyt
Cover Artist: Veronica Casas
Review by Gayle Surrette
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 1416520929
Date: 01 November, 2006 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Kyrie Smith had been looking for a place to belong. She thought she'd found it in Goldport, Colorado. She had a job as a waitress in the Athens, a Greek diner. She'd even managed to rent a small house with a patch of yard for a garden. It may not seem like much to others but it meant stability and normalcy for Kyrie -- who occasionally turned into a panther. Life was pretty good for a change, that is until Tom Ormson missed his shift at the diner and Kyrie found him naked and covered with blood next to a body in the parking lot.
But that's not all, she'd seen Tom as he'd changed from Nordic dragon to man. And then there was the lion that also seemed to be strangely compelling and not what he seemed in the diner's parking lot. Kyrie went from believing herself the only shapeshifter in the world to meeting two. One accepted and loved by his parents and one who'd been tossed out onto the streets when he first changed forms. For Kyrie, who'd never known family she found that maybe she could at least have friends.
There are at least four plot threads that intersect in Draw One in the Dark. They are all deftly woven together with changing points of view. It's also not a straight narrative but the flashbacks and changing point of view are not confusing and seem to fill in information at just the right time. The characters are slowly revealed to be more than what they seemed at first. While shapeshifting is not a new trope, it is handled in a different manner showing the reader the drawbacks to shapeshipfting. It's impact on relationships, family bonds, livelihood, and love.
One extraordinary event causes Kyrie to reach out to another, and as the characters interact, we begin to really see the differences between the families we're born into and the ones we make for ourselves. That conscious choices made for the good of others can indeed make your own life better. Does the book preach? No, it simply tells an interesting and strong story and leaves all the connections and thoughts about it to the reader.
What are the ramifications of being a lion in Colorado versus a coyote? While one can blend into the background and the other can't, that doesn't make one less different from neighbors and coworkers. While we may never experience being a shapeshifter, we've often experienced being on the outside of a group and looking in. And this story gives you a chance to see how one group of people deal with their differences.