*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.*
This book was… strange. The main character was strange. His husband was strange. The town was strange. The story was strange. I don’t mean it was bad or poorly written, just… strange, and maybe not quite for me. And I don’t really know how to explain it (but I’ll try).
For one thing, all the characters seemed to act so secretive for most of the book (though the two main characters got better about that toward the end). It was never a malicious type of secretive—in Sam’s case it was more like, “I know what’s best for my husband and therefore know that he shouldn’t get to know these things,” in Michael’s case it was more like he was just aloof, and in the other characters’ cases (like Hank’s) it was more just cryptic—but I couldn’t help but feel there was no real reason for it and everything could’ve gone a lot smoother had everyone just talked.
Speaking of which, the characters themselves got on my nerves a bit. Sam was a bit judgmental (to be fair, he was kind of living in a town full of cryptics and crazies, so I could understand some of his exasperation) and terse, and I didn’t like how he thought he knew what was best for Michael. He wasn’t a bad guy or anything, but I had a hard time connecting to him. Maybe it had something to do with how his military and sheriff background affected him. And Michael, I just couldn’t get a handle on his character. It was like he barely spoke throughout the book, and when he did, it was always kind of odd, and I just couldn’t warm up to him either. My favorite character was actually Digger, one of the deputies. He was an adorable, naive sweetheart, and I felt bad for him with the way Sam and everyone were always messing with him.
For another thing, the whole book had this kind of… not eerie, exactly, but a similar vibe to it. There was some paranormal stuff going on, and it was all set in this little mountain town in Colorado, but I think the vibe had more to do with Sam’s voice than anything.
The book also didn’t really have a specific goal. It was mostly just about Sam trying to understand Michael’s curse/gift and the weird stuff going on in his town. It was all slow-paced, and there was no action-packed climax, just a kind of fizzling out toward the end that wrapped things up.
So as I said, this wasn’t a bad book, but I just couldn’t connect to the characters, the story was more general mysteriousness than actual plot, and altogether it just wasn’t quite for me.
*Note: This review is for the second edition, full-length novel.*
Anyone looking for something kind of mysterious and paranormal with a slow pace and not much action.
Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.
When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2015.