Fair Game by Patricia Briggs, narrated by Holter Graham

Why I read it:  I’m a fan of this series.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

What worked for me (and what didn’t): Well, first off, the blurb is wrong – not all of the victims were werewolves, some were humans and some were fae/half-fae.    The rest is okay though. 🙂
Starting around the time River Marked (Mercy Thompson book 6) finishes this is a clever, tightly plotted story, where the romance aspects between Charles and Anna are neatly interwoven between the investigating-the-serial-killer part.  I’d say that the romance aspect wasn’t quite as much to the forefront as has been the case in other books, but it was definitely there and the rest of the story was so absorbing anyway that it was engrossing right from the start.  I kept finding excuses to listen to it – more housework, more cooking, taking the long way home! 🙂

I did manage to pick the identity of the bad guy about 2/3-3/4 of the way through which I was quite pleased about – the clues are there but I don’t think the reader is hit over the head with them and while I thought I knew who it was, I wasn’t 100% until the big reveal.  It was just as possible those “clues” were red herrings to throw me off the scent.  Patricia Briggs is tricky like that.
I enjoy the world Ms. Briggs has created, where fae and werewolf are monsters but where they can also be kind, generous and loving.  But, they are always monsters.  Charles is a werewolf with extraordinary control for the most part, but he is a dominant wolf and he is super protective of Anna (without smothering her) and he can be, he is a monster.   I like that the author doesn’t shy away from it, while at the same time making the characters sympathetic.   Brother Wolf, Charles’ wolf half features more strongly in this story and that was fun as well, although there isn’t much of Anna’s wolf at all.
I haven’t listened to Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground in a little while, but I remembered there being a change in how Holter Graham performed Charles’ voice from book 1 to book 2.  I preferred the first version, but I understand there is some debate amongst fans about which was better.  In this book, if my auditory memory is correct, the voice he uses for Charles is closer to that used in book 1 than book 2 while not being exactly the same, and I found it a good balance.   (The only downside was that there was a similarity to that voice and the voice used for one of the bad guys and that was a bit disconcerting).
There were a couple of niggles for me.  First, I don’t think it’s a spoiler that Charles, Anna and the FBI led team catch the killer.  There is a trial and I am unsure as to the reality of the trial and its process.  It certainly served the story but was it realistic?  I’m not sure.  Maybe, but I had questions about it that were not answered in the story.  I’m being intentionally vague here because to do more would be spoiler-y and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.
The other thing is that my memory of the earlier books is that Charles was able to Change much faster than other wolves due to his Shaman heritage; unless there were repeated changes in a short time or he was wounded.  It seemed to me in this book that his Changes were more akin to those of a normal werewolf, except that it remained that he was able to use his magic to clothe himself when he reverted to human.  It’s not a big deal, but I did notice there seemed to be a difference.  Did anyone else notice this?  Am I remembering wrong? (ETA:  No, I re-read and Charles can Change much more quickly than other wolves, or at least he could back then.)  I think I’ll have to re-read Alpha & Omega (no hardship!) to refresh my memory of how Charles was in the beginning (actually, I was planning on doing it anyway) – oh, how I wish that Alpha & Omega were available on audio! … moving on.
I would also have liked to hear the conversation between Anna and Charles about his ghosts which they never quite got to have.  But, these are small things in the bigger picture.  Overall, this is an excellent book.  It also sets up some exciting changes for the future of both this and the Mercy Thompson series which will shake things up and mean that fans will be champing at the bit for the next book.  Such is the lot of a great author – fans are satisfied for so short a time!
What else? Holter Graham is an excellent narrator.  He doesn’t do female voices like a bad drag act – he softens his tone and lightens his pitch a little but it is a voice which could be used for a male or female – he lets the context of the story provide the “missing links” so the correct gender/age of the character is placed gently in your brain.   He does accents quite well too – I’m not super familiar with the Boston accent but from what I do know, the accent he used was pretty accurate.  The character differentiation Mr. Graham uses is excellent and it was, with only rare exception, easy to understand who was talking in a fairly large cast of characters.
I think the experience of this series on audio enhances the enjoyment of it and I recommend this series to any who’d like to give audio a try.    However, the series does have to be read in order to truly appreciate it (and this book is actually one where I feel that having read the Mercy Thompson books helps too,  as Adam plays a part, but I think you can get by without) and the start of the story is the novella Alpha & Omega.  As mentioned above, sadly the novella is not available (yet?!) on audio but it is available as a stand alone e-novella or as part of the On the Prowl anthology in paperback.

Grade:  A

2 comments on “Fair Game by Patricia Briggs, narrated by Holter Graham

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