I’ve been a big fan of Ms Williams books for the last few years. Her books tend to Urban Fanatasy or Paranormal Romance but there’s always a level of originality that brings her stories to the next level. Despite the paranormal elements, she weaves a story that is grounded in reality and there’s an air of believability in her characters and situations.
In Coyote Blues, we are introduced to Riley E Dawson, therapist and werecoyote. And what an introduction it is – a memorable opening that delivers on the promise of a really good read. As a teen, Riley’s sexual awakening coincided with her lycanthropic awakening – causing her horrified parents to flee their idyllic vacation home and seperating Riley from Fiona, her first love. Years later, once she is established as a therapist and adjunct professor, Riley’s practice takes on two new patients – a mother and her young child – who have been referred for counselling due to suspected domestic abuse.
I really loved Riley’s character and how skillfully Ms Williams blended in coyote attributes – most shifters are portrayed as alpha/aggressive, but Riley is more wiley and her past abandonment gives her an outsider feel that ups the pathos without overdoing the angst. It’s easy to sympathize with Riley but its even easier to like her.
The romance is a second chance and it works well as both characters are engaging and the chemistry that they had as young women hasn’t waned in the intervening years. It’s difficult to read about Fiona’s current situation, but Ms Williams handles it well and gives a realistic and understandable backstory as to how and why Fiona isn’t able to extricate herself and Edy and just how precarious things are in an abusive relationship.
The writing was spot on – from the fist page I was drawn in by the tone and cadence, there’s a wonderful underlay of humour that kept smile on my face. Despite there not being a phenomenal amount of action, things kept moving and I was completely hooked into learning more about Riley and Fiona. The final showdown scene worked particularly well – Riley is smart and the thought and planning in setting things up rather than barging in and having a direct confrontation was true to the Riley’s character.
The psychology presented in the book is quite fascinating and gave an extra dimension to Fiona’s situation as well as adding an extra layer of suspense/dread. I loved the lecture on the drama triangle (and wow … it was effective). It was really interesting and gave the story more depth.