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WesternSFA
Black Howl
by Christina Henry
Ace Books, $7.99, 288pp
Release Date: February 28, 2012

This is not a stand alone story, but very much a continuation of the plot lines laid down in Black Wings and Black Night. Even more than its predecessors, it is a “Mary Sue” novel for emotional sado-masochists – which can be a good thing, because a lot of us readers relish schaddenfreude, the peculiar enjoyment of other characters’ misery. It is also one of several urban fantasy series that really get into the theme of a woman having domination over her male lover, one way or another. In this case, handsome, alluring Gabriel has literally been assigned as a thrall to protagonist Maddy. But Maddy is not allowed to enjoy this arrangement as much as she’d like to, what with demonic combat, political maneuvering, and missing werewolf cubs. Also, her ex-fiancé Nicholas just WILL NOT stay away. Maddy must be churning out pretty powerful pheromones.

The plot twists barely let you catch your breath, but they do explain Maddy’s good figure; the girl barely gets any rest between missions as an Agent of Death, and if it weren’t for the donuts she shares with her greedy gargoyle pal Beezle, she’d be emaciated. Now, if she can just avoid diabetes…. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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