Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hunters Series Book 14
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
His past is a mystery, even to him—a werewolf with memories so lost in a fog that even the Hunter’s healers cannot help him. Two hundred years ago, Toronto awakened on an unfamiliar street, naked and alone. Dogged by the unanswered questions of his enigmatic existence, he fears he will never find the missing pieces of the puzzle that is his life.
The vampire Sylvia is no Hunter. She’s a take-no-prisoner mercenary that just barely skates this side of what the Hunters consider acceptable. She has no use for them, their laws, their rules. All she wants is to hunt her quarry, and make a lot of money. Her newest prey is a killer as devious as he is slippery. But her newest complication is of a more intimate sort: A blonde, blue-eyed werewolf who interferes with her plans in so many exquisite ways.
Having been bitten by five werewolves when he was a teen, Toronto should be dead. Instead, he not only survived the attack and the violent hunger that consumed him afterward, but he’s become a master in his own right. Tied to a past he can’t remember, he lives his life as if his future is just as empty, fighting the monsters that roam the world out of a sense of obligation, rather than purpose.
Sylvia James is a vampire and a loner, and likes it that way just fine, thank you. She’s a killer for hire, taking vengeance on behalf of those that can pay her fee…and sometimes for the ones that touch her heart. For those victims, the blood of their enemies is payment enough. But, when her latest job puts her in the crosshairs of a werewolf that breaks down every wall she’s got, she knows she in serious trouble.
This is the first novel in the Hunters series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but there’s a lot about it to like. Hunter’s Rise has a great assemblage of characters in the mix. I absolutely adore Toronto. He’s a pain and then some for the Master vampire he serves, he’s snarky and sarcastic, but he won’t turn his back on those that need him. He and Sylvia are perfect for one another; both wary and damaged, yet reluctantly hopeful despite the weight of their respective pasts. Walker successfully avoids dragging her story down with stereotypes, keeping the dynamics and characteristics within her story familiar without being clichéd.
Not just an erotic tale filled with the befanged and furry, Hunter’s Rise is a suspenseful whodunit with plenty of surprises to keep the action lively. I didn’t have any real suspicions about the outcome until much later in the novel, and very much enjoyed reading through to the end to see if I was right. There are a few disturbing passages throughout, but they fit perfectly within the story Walker is telling. The Hunters’ world is often a bleak one, but in this author’s hands it is engaging rather than oppressive.
The instant heat between Sylvia and Toronto is both erotic and amusing. Both are tough characters who believe themselves immune to the pull of the heart, and watching them wrestle with the reality of their feelings is highly entertaining, especially earlier in the novel. But as they fall deeper into the mystery they’re trying to solve, as well as each other, the complications gain momentum, the overall tone becoming ever more urgent.
Hunter’s Rise is, sadly, the final novel of the Hunters series, and I deeply regret having missed out on so many of the others. Both clever and sexy, it was a pleasure to read and extremely difficult to put down. If you’re new to the series, this addition reads very well as a standalone, with enough about the secondary characters to encourage plenty of curiosity about the other novels in the series. If you’re already familiar with the series, you will surely not be disappointed.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)