Review of The Wolf Within (Purgatory #1), by Cynthia Eden

The wolf withinI downloaded a copy of Cynthia Eden‘s The Wolf Within from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire spends his days–and his nights–tracking real-life monsters. Most humans aren’t aware of the vampires and werewolves that walk among them. They don’t realize the danger that they face, but Duncan knows about the horror that waits in the darkness. He hunts the monsters, and he protects the innocent. Duncan just never expects to become a monster. But after a brutal werewolf attack, Duncan begins to change…and soon he will be one of the very beasts that he has hunted.

Dr. Holly Young is supposed to help Duncan during his transition. It’s her job to keep him sane so that Duncan can continue working with the FBI’s Para Unit. But as Duncan’s beast grows stronger, the passion that she and Duncan have held carefully in check pushes to the surface. The desire that is raging between them could be a very dangerous thing…because Holly isn’t exactly human, not any longer.

As the monsters circle in, determined to take out all of the agents working at the Para Unit, Holly and Duncan will have to use their own supernatural strengths in order to survive. But as they give up more of their humanity and embrace the beasts within them both, they realize that the passion between them isn’t safe, it isn’t controllable, and their dark need may just be an obsession that could destroy them both.

 Review:
This is one of those books I refer to as ‘meh reads,’ because that’s my response to them. Meh. Nothing really horrible about them, but nothing particularly good either. I’d say this was designed simply to appeal that lizard, hind-brain we all seem to have. It’s all growly, über alpha precariously contains his inner beast for the benefit of the simpering female who’s caught his eye. Meh. Seen it all before.

I’ll give Holley points for having the moxie to say what she wants. But she also seemed perfectly content to let her brother control every aspect of her life. Meh. Not a total wet noodle, but not a wonderfully strong heroine either.

The plot had a few twists to it, but they didn’t work well for me. They felt abrupt and more like new plot arcs than twists. Meaning, it felt like, ‘ok, finished that bit up, now we’re going to race off in this direction now.’ Not boring but not natural.

Plus, many of these new arc directions were predicated on shifting character traits. The previous super evil, murdering bastard was suddenly the wounded victim. The good brother was suddenly the manipulative director, wait, no, he’s the real hero, wait, no, he’s obsessively possessive. Again, not boring but not natural either.

Every obstacle set up was overcome almost instantly, even the final climactic one. There was very little build-up or time for tension to heighten before solutions were found or bad guys defeated, etc. Meh.

The same middle of the road, shoulder-shrugging indifference can be applied to the sex too. There was no foreplay to any of it. It’s claim to eroticism seems to have been based solely on Duncan’s intense, animalistic need. Meh. One such scene might have been nice, but when that’s all we get…Meh.

So, again, it wasn’t a wholly bad book. It was just clumsy and obviously designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It needed more character development, world-building and plain old substance.

As a side note: I think that cover model has to be one of the most over-used men in the indie publishing world. I’m so sick of seeing him!

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