Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How To Run With A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #3) by Molly Harper

We have come to know Anna a little bit in the two previous books as the towns doctor.  What we didn't know is that Anna is running from a dark past which she thinks will never stop hunting her.  For fear of her past catching up to her and hurting the werewolves, Anna has come to see as family, she decides to leave, change her name and start over.  You know what they say about well laid plans don't you?  Anna intervenes in a struggle in a parking lot which leads to her car being blown up and under the protection of the werewolf bounty hunter Caleb.

Caleb agrees to help get Anna to Anchorage as long as she agrees to a few stops along the way.  Anna is not at all keen on this because she wants to stay a few steps ahead of her abusive ex husband Glenn.  Anna cannot help getting involved as Caleb tries to apprehend fugitives and without intending to, she quickly finds herself caring for Caleb.  Unfortunately, all good things must end at some point and for Anna, a visit from her husband might just prove to be extremely dangerous.

Okay, to be clear, the naked werewolf series is paranormal chick lit.  If you go into this series expecting more than that then you will be seriously disappointed.  It's a nice light easy read filled with funny one liners and ridiculous pop culture references. If this is your sort of thing, this series might be a good fit.

Harper did take a much darker tone in this third novel because the protagonist Anna, is a survivor of domestic abuse. Even though Anna, by the time she met Caleb, had spent years on the run, she is still very much dealing with PTSD.  Anna is extremely scared of her ex husband Glenn and still to some degree blames herself of the end of her marriage and the fact that she was left disconnected from others.  Harper does a great job talking about how abusers isolate their spouses to cut off escape routes.  Even with everything Anna has gone through, she is never afraid to stand up for herself and fights back when she must.  I really liked this about her and it was absolutely necessary for her to have this trait, otherwise the book would have read like here comes big bad werewolf to save the day.

As with many werewolf stories, Caleb did have the whole cave man unga bunga my woman crap.  I am sick of the nature or werewolves behind used to justify unacceptable behaviour.  In this instance, Anna routinely called out Caleb each time he got too possessive and for his part, he listened to her concerns. I continue to like the fact that we are continually reminded that werewolf culture is patriarchal and yet Caleb's pack has a female alpha.  I was irked that a pregnant Maggie quickly succumbed to every stereotype you have ever heard or read about pregnant women.  This was somewhat redeemed however by Maggie's take charge attitude when it mattered most in the story.

How to Run With a Naked Werewolf, is the third novel in this series and it continues to be very White and completely straight.  From previous books, we know that the werewolf pack does have indigenous roots but this is never developed. For the most part, the book reads like an all White fest.  How to Run With a Naked Werewolf, also erases the entire GLBT community.  I wonder if Harper thought she could get away with that because of the remote location?  Little does she know, wherever you have a social group of humans, you will find GLBT people.  The erasure is typical but none the less annoying.

I liked this book for what it was.  I knew from the moment I read the first line that I was not about to start the next great American novel.  At best, I hoped to get a few laughs and kill time slowly.  I can report that How to Run With a Naked Werewolf is exactly what it bills itself to be.  If you go into it expecting some not so easily resolved issue, married to a romance and some bad pop culture references, then you won't be disappointed and you might even enjoy yourself.