Title: Dangerous Territory
Author: Cari Z.
Series: Devil’s Land Collection
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Available: Jan 13th
With his father barely in the ground and his sister married to a scheming bastard, Carter is on the verge of losing the family ranch. His only chance at holding onto his inheritance is to get his cattle to market before his brother-in-law. That means braving Mason Canyon, which on top of being snake-infested and easily flooded, is also shifter territory. Most clans would just as soon shoot humans as look at them.
His only hope of making it is to trust the shifter who’s agreed to help him, and pray that Rani won’t double-cross him. If Carter doesn’t go he loses everything, and if he doesn’t make it there his family is as good as dead.
Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley
I enjoyed this quick Western read, which manages to pack in a fair amount in such a short space, though some aspects definitely remain mysterious and unexplained.
In this alternative world, there is no United States of America, instead there are territories and dukedoms and other such regional differences, split up and held at bay by shifters (and possibly native tribes. I think they might have been mentioned somewhere, but not in the area this book is set). Beyond the basics of humans carving out what territory they can from what the shifters have lost or will allow them to have, there isn’t really any world building done. Which is fair enough for a short novella, but it might leave you with a few questions and wanting more.
Carter interacts with three shifters in the book – the half-shifter worker he’s known all his life, the new chief of the local tribe, and Rani, his aloof guide – and since this is told entirely from Carter’s viewpoint, I was also left wishing he’d learnt a little more about shifters and shifter society.
However, I did enjoy this story. I liked Carter and sympathised with his need to get out of the house. He could have been sullen and miserable throughout the trek, but instead he’s a good guy, who is friendly and keeps trying to get Rani to open up. Rani isn’t the easiest character to get to know, but I did like how the two of them slowly warmed to each other and how it becomes clear that Rani definitely feels more than he shows.
If I’m honest the ending was a bit too open for my liking, without any real indications of where everything would go from that moment, but I liked what came before and Rani’s shifter-self was different and unexpected (well, I had my suspicions but thought they were wrong because of not expecting to see that animal there).
So overall this is good. If you’re looking for an M/M Western with a different kind of approach, this could be it. I’d like to see more from these two and this world.
Dangerous Territory is out January 13th!
Visit Cari Z for more details.