The main character in this book is not a werewolf at all in point of fact. Mercy Thompson is a 'walker', a shapechanger who can change into a coyote but keep the memory of who she is. She has Native American heritage but was brought up in Montana as a member of a werewolf pack; she left when the son of the Alpha wanted to be her mate for all the wrong reasons. Mercy moved to Washington State and bought a garage mechanic business from a Fae. She also got herself a trailer, which just happens to be next door to the residence of the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, Adam. Things turn interesting for Mercy when a teenage werewolf turns up on her doorstep looking for a job. It's clear to Mercy that he's just been changed and could be dangerous but she takes him on anyway. Returning unexpectedly to her garage, late one night, she comes upon the scene of a group, including two werewolves, trying to take the boy away. She intervenes and a chain of events is set into motion that brings her closely into contact with Adam and his pack. Mercy has to return briefly to her adopted pack in Montana, and when she returns she brings Samuel with her, the werewolf that she'd previously had a romantic interest in when she was sixteen. What with the mystery of the deaths that have occurred, the kidnapping of Adam's human daughter, the involvement of the local vampires, and the sudden inexplicable rivalry between Adam and Samuel, Mercy suddenly finds her life more complicated than she could ever have imagined.
Given the cover of this book, I wasn't sure I would take to this book as much as I did. It seems to be the vogue at the moment for most of the paranormal series that are around to sport some scantily clad female on the cover who rarely bears any resemblance to the character they're supposed to represent. I'm not sure who the publishers are trying to appeal to. Obviously not women of my generation so I should shut-up and put-up I suppose but I can't help but be a trifle irritated by the trend.
Anyway, now I've got that off my chest, I'm going to go on to say how much I enjoyed this book. Mercy is an excellent main character. She's independent, smart, a 'good' person and I liked the fact that she's something different to a werewolf with different powers and strengths. The mystery element was strong and I had no idea, until the end, who the perpetrator of the crimes was, or why; red herrings galore sent me completely astray. I like that. I'm also an unashamed romance fan... 'in its place'. There are times when I feel it's inappropriate, but here it most certainly is not and there's a nice 'who is Mercy going to choose?' element to the book, which carries on into the sequels. I know who I want her to choose but it's not a foregone conclusion by any means as there are several choices. Other strengths of the book include its nicely understated humour, the setting in parts of the USA you don't normally hear about, and Patricia Briggs's excellent writing which, unlike some paranormal romance type books, does not annoy me but keeps me turning the pages.
I've already got two of the sequels, Blood Bound and Iron Kissed and, along with Kelley Armstrong's 'Women of the Otherworld' series, am greatly looking forward to reading them all. I think it's going to be a werewolf kind of year. :-)