Review The Shifter’s Conspiracy, by Cassie Laurent

The Shifter's ConspiracyI grabbed Cassie Laurent‘s The Shifter’s Conspiracy from the Amazon KDP list.

Description from Goodreads:
Tess is a curvy, young detective that just can’t seem to catch a break. When the Commissioner of the police department brings in the FBI after a series of unsolved kidnappings, she meets Elias, a handsome, successful FBI agent who’s an expert in these types of crimes.

Elias has a wild conspiracy theory: he thinks shifters are behind the recent wave of kidnappings–they’re taking women as their mates in a scheme that reaches all the way into the upper echelons of New York City’s infamous Mafia. Elias knows this… because he’s a shifter, too. His attraction to Tess is undeniable, but he’s afraid she’ll reject him if she finds out who he really is. Will he be able to solve the case without driving away the woman he’s convinced is his true mate?

Um…No. Just no. I had to force myself to finish this one. It had stilted dialogue that used names too often to be natural, only passable editing, no character development, and a very simplistic story that was told in an abrupt manner. If it was erotica I might let it off the hook, but it’s not. It’s a very mild paranormal romance.

Seriously, Tess is supposed to have impressed the FBI agents by thinking to check the victims’ social media sites, as if they wouldn’t do that anyway, as if they probably don’t have some honker computer program to do it automatically. This is all after the fact that the FBI was called in for an abduction case involving 28 women, but the police didn’t seem to have done anything beforehand. Nothing. Tess and Elias solved it in a day! You have got to be kidding me. She walked into a bar and before she could even finish one drink, she was approached and kidnapped by the criminal. That’s seriously all it’s supposed to have taken.

Additionally, Tess is just an exceptionally weak heroine. Despite being a New York detective, not even a uniformed officer but a detective (which implies time on the force), she cried because someone called her “chubs.” Oh, poor baby. This, by the way, is the only aspect of the whole book that makes it BBW, as it is titled on Amazon. Her body is never even described to the reader. She also didn’t seem to know anything about investigating. Elias might as well of just taken the secretary out with him. I realise she’s supposed to have been a rookie detective, but did she not have any training? Did she never work with a detective during her time in uniform? She was like a child enamoured with the hero.

The inclusion of the paranormal was similarly obtuse. There was no reference to anything preternatural until 42%, and then shifters were SUDDENLY thrown into the mix. I knew they would show up at some point because of title (The Shifter’s Conspiracy (Paranormal BBW Werewolf Romance Novella)), but there was no build up or hints or anything else. To say it lacked any sort of subtly would be an understatement.

This was actually true for the book as a whole. There was a lot of being told how strong or strange feelings were, but no showing of it and no time to do so (since the whole thing occurs in about 36 hours). The reader is very bluntly told everything they are supposed to feel, but aren’t led to a single thought.

The whole thing is exacerbated by the fact that the book is just over 100 pages, but a full 25% of that is wasted in the beginning by showing Tess essentially doing menial tasks and getting ready for an interview. It’s meaningless to the rest of the story. That only leaves 75-80 pages in which to introduce characters, build a romance, solve an FBI level mystery, reveal werewolves, mate and conclude. Do you think you could manage it? I doubt I could and I’m certain Laurent didn’t.

This book has an interesting premise, but its execution is lacking. I wish Laurent all the best, but I won’t be continuing the series.

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