“Natural order would be restored, ancient wrongs would be righted. It would take time; but once it began it could not be stopped…”
This is a sequel. This review contains no spoilers for Blood of the Lamb, aside from giving away the survival of three characters.
Skin of the Wolf, by Sam Cabot
#2 in the Blood of the Lamb series
Blue Rider Press, July 2014
paranormal crime thriller
385 pages (ebook)
Months after Father Thomas Kelly, art historian Livia Pietro, and scholar Spencer George found themselves racing through Rome in a desperate effort to locate and preserve an incalculably valuable document, the three are about to be reunited in New York City. Thomas, still trying to assimilate what he learned – that vampires exist, and that Livia and Spencer are among them – is looking forward to seeing Livia again. Livia is excited to be allowed into the back room of Sotheby’s for an exclusive viewing of an ancient Iroquois mask. And Spencer’s in love. But before the three can meet, Spencer is badly injured when he’s inexplicably attacked in Central Park – by a wolf.
That same night, a Sotheby’s employee is found brutally murdered. Steps from her body is the mysterious native mask, undamaged amid the wreckage of a struggle. As rumors begin to swirl around the sacred object, Thomas, Livia, and Spencer are plunged deep into a world where money, Native American lore, and the history of the Catholic Church collide. They uncover an alarming secret: The wolf is a shapeshifter, and the mask contains a power that, if misused, could destroy millions of lives with the next full moon.
*** I requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Blood of the Lamb. Unfortunately, I couldn’t revisit it before reading this one – since I’d also read it as a NetGalley ARC, and NetGalley ARCs expire – but it ultimately didn’t matter.
Though it follows some of the same characters, and expands on the universe created in the first book, Skin of the Wolf is definitely its own story. Not only is it self-contained, but it has a completely different feel. It’s hard to even think of the two books as parts of the same whole.
Blood of the Lamb is, at heart, a religious thriller. It focuses on secrets within the church. It explores issues of faith. I found it more thought-provoking than The Da Vinci Code, but it drew a lot of valid comparisons.
Skin of the Wolf, on the other hand, is a crime thriller. One with not only vampires but now shapeshifters… but if you remove the paranormal element, what you’re left with is something closer to Jeffery Deaver than Dan Brown. And while I liked the first book for the ideas, this one had a much stronger and more exciting plot. Readers who were intrigued by Blood of the Lamb but ended up disappointed may still want to give this follow-up a try.
I’m not sure if the authors who make up the pseudonym Sam Cabot are intentionally experimenting with different sub-genres or not, but the shift definitely caught me off-guard. As much as I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting… and having that base level of expectation is one of the things I love most about reading series. Whether or not the story is one I’ll love, I at least know somewhat what I’m getting. And if I can’t count on that being the case… it makes me hesitant to pick up the next in the series.
Skin of the Wolf is available in print, as well as for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.
Does Skin of the Wolf sound like something you’d pick up? Have you ever read a series that changed styles from one book to the next?