18 November 2014

Leaving the Pack by David J. O'Brien

 Nobody believes in werewolves.
That's just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.

They and their kind roam our city streets: a race of people from whom the terrible legend stems; now living among us invisibly after centuries of persecution through fear and ignorance. Superficially Caucasian but physiologically very different, with lunar rhythms so strong that during the three days of the full moon they are almost completely controlled by their hormonal instincts, you might have cursed them as just another group of brawling youths or drunken gang-bangers. Now at the point of extinction, if they are to survive their existence must remain restricted to mere stories and legend, but, paradoxically, they also must marry outside their society in order to persist.

The responsibility for negotiating this knife-edge is given to Paul, who runs the streets with his friends during the full moon, keeping them out of real trouble and its resultant difficult questions. Having succeeded for years, he finds his real test of leadership comes when he meets Susan, a potential life-mate, to whom he will have to reveal his true identity if he is ever to leave his pack.

10% of the author's royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.
I don’t read a whole lot of paranormal romance these days.  I started out with a love for it, but I’ve now shifted into an affinity for contemporary romance.  I am glad, however, I took a chance on this paranormal book because I think it is probably one of the most believable I have read to date.
Paul is a werewolf, but not in the traditional sense.  He’s been running with a pack of other werewolves who, for 3 evenings during a full moon, go a bit bootie crazy as their body chemistry shifts.  The rest of the time they are professional men.  One night, Paul meets Susan and recognizes her as the woman he wants to spend his life with.  Now, he must not only leave his pack but also convince this woman to stay with him even after she finds out his true nature.
Well, this was a pretty sexy and action packed book.  I really liked the way the werewolf legend was changed in order to be more modern and to make it more believable.  I really think this is what modern paranormal romance should do.  Plus, it’s a great crossover novel for people who may not be into paranormal romance.
The chemistry between the main characters was great.  That is one of the most important things to me in books is to be able to not only understand the attraction, but feel the anticipation.  I got that here.  Susan and Paul are not a sugary, flowers and rainbows kind of couple.  There was a hint of realism to their interactions that only served to pull me further into the story.
My only complaint about the book is that it did seem to get bogged down in descriptions at times.  You learn a lot about Paul’s pack and its history.  I perhaps could have done without some of that.  I do, however, think if you can get through those points in the book it is well worth the read.  4 stars.
David J O'Brien was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He studied environmental biology and later studied deer biology for his PhD, at University College Dublin. Instead of pursuing his life-long interest in wolves and predator-prey interactions, after completing his doctorate, he taught English in Madrid, Spain, for four years while his girlfriend finished her doctorate in molecular biology. They married and moved to Boston, USA, so his wife could pursue her career and David decided that teaching was a vocation he was happy to continue. After seven great years teaching Biology at Boston's Cathedral High School and Zoology at Bridgewater State College, he returned to Spain three years ago so his wife could set up her new research group in her hometown of Pamplona shortly before their daughter was born.
David has loved writing since his teens. He began with poetry and had one of his first poems published in Cadenza, a small Dublin poetry magazine at the age of fourteen. Since then several more have been published in journals and anthologies such as Albatross, The Tennessee State Poetry League, Poems of Nature and various anthologies of Forward Press imprint in Britain. He began writing fiction soon after and wrote the novella that would later become Leaving The Pack at the age of seventeen. Though his academic writing took precedence for a number of years, and he is still involved in deer biology and management, he kept writing other things in his spare time and has always dreamt of one day being able to do it full time. While living in Madrid, he wrote some non-fiction articles for the Magazine Hot English and while in Boston for the newspaper Dig. There, too, he took a feature-writing class in Emmanuel College he was awarded as thanks for mentoring a student teacher.
An avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David's non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science, and he sometimes seeks to describe the science behind the supernatural. He has written a little bit of everything: to date a four-act play, a six-episode sit-com, various short stories and four more novels.
After two more years teaching English and science in a secondary school, David recently moved to a private teaching academy to develop their English program. This has not only given him more time with his daughter and enjoy Pamplona and its surroundings, but also allowed him to finally devote time to fully developing his writing career.


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