It's been some time since I've read a paranormal romance worthy of a five-star rating, but Red is just that.
The start of a new series, it's definitely written in a more gritty style. The main voice of the story is Red
- Gina Santiago, a member of an elite tactical team whose job is to enforce the rules in the new and different world
as it is 150 years from now. Gina's reputation is uncomfortable: her nickname 'Red' comes from the large
number of deaths that occur when she's investigating. It's not that she's a murderess, more that she's trigger happy, but her colleagues don't connect with her and she feels alone.
The second point of view
in the story is that of Morgan Hunter, sheriff of Nuria. Morgan and most of the others in his town have a secret - they're slightly more than human. The 'Others', as they are known, are
believed to have been a fairy story, or at least a species that died out long ago. Morgan wants to keep the reality a secret, and as Alpha of the Nuria Werewolves he is in a position of responsibility.
When a woman turns up dead, apparently savaged by a wolf, he realizes that one of his group may have gone rogue.
He knows that he must deal with it himself, without outside authorities, lest
they find out that the Others do indeed exist.
There's a third narrator to parts of this story - the murderer.
It's rather creepy reading these passages; those who dislike blood and gore won't get on with this part of the book. However, the three different views enable the story to move along at a good pace.
When Gina discovers a dead body that appears to have been mauled by animals, she has a hunch there's more to it than just animals and decides to investigate,
during her holiday time, the nearest town - Nuria.
Once she arrives, she meets Morgan Hunter and there's an instant attraction. As Gina and Morgan investigate together, Gina may find out more than she wants about both Morgan and herself.
Red is a very enjoyable read. Despite the fact that I guessed the identity of the murderer by halfway through,
watching the events unfold is gripping as Gina begins to realize what she's dealing with. Although Gina becomes the killer's prey, I
never really feared for her safety as a reader, but I was interested in the different layers as more and more people lined her up in their sights.
Although the book is clearly the start of a series, most of the loose ends are tied up. My one criticism: I didn't really understand the motivations of the killer, or of another significant 'baddie' in the book, and how the killer and this other baddie ever connected initially.
Some interesting plot directions involve a vampire or two, and although the characterization
isn't always that in-depth, the story feels well-rounded. Overall, this is a great start for a new series.