Reviewed by Dan
SERIES: Mad Dogs #5
AUTHOR: Brenda Cothern
PUBLISHER: Wench Publishing
LENGTH: 214 Pages
After a disastrous R&R where none of the Dogs got any rest or relaxation, they have returned to Camp Smokey, but they are not the same Delta Unit.
Brian’s resurrection by Duke and Alec is only one of the new complications the Mad Dogs face when their sniper cannot control his feeding frenzies, even with Duke’s help.
With Doc still comatose and H suffering mate-loss grief and Markus and Duke having their hands full with Brian, Oh and El try to hold the pack together.
However, as the pack recovers, a new threat comes from a faction they never would have expected; their own Council.
It seems we’ve been waiting forever for this next installment in Brenda Cothern’s Mad Dog series. OK, so it has only been like 8 months, but seriously…it felt like a lot longer!
This current installment, aptly named S.N.A.F.U, picks up immediately after the end of book four, R&R. These books really need to be read in order, or you won’t at all understand who everyone is, particularly with the use of only their first initial to designate the members of the pack. Although this is described as a Special Forces thing, I’ll be honest and tell you that it really has bugged me throughout this series. I’m always trying to remember who each person is based on their letter, then once in a while their actual name is used, and it throws me off.
Characters were introduced into this series in book four from another one of Brenda’s series, and the bar, Shadows, in Tampa is again mentioned in this book. I’ve yet to read her Shadows series, so now feel I better so I understand that connection as well. That isn’t a bad thing, because I do enjoy Brenda’s writing style and voice!
In S.N.A.F.U., the team has traveled back to the Smoky Mountains and their secret base. As a personal aside, I found it really funny when I discovered in this book that the base is very close to Linville Falls. On my recent road/camping trip I stayed at the Linville Falls Campground along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wish I had known those sexy Mad Dogs were right up the mountain. I think I even had the Mad Dogs t-shirt that I got at Rainbow Con this year on while I was there!
Back to the story. When we rejoin the guys, Doc is still in coma, Brian (B) is still recovering from his lifesaving turn into a vampire-werewolf, and his partner Markus (M) and Duke the vampire are helping with that transition. Brian isn’t able to control his need to feed as a vampire still, and the pack still doesn’t trust him to be able to.
As the series has gone on it has seemed to be moving further and further from the werewolf-soldier story that it began as. In book five we’re back to only the Mad Dogs (now plus Duke), but again we have a cliffhanger ending and I’m not at all sure where the story is going next! With the pack being threatened by their own Council, where will they go from here and can they remain together as a pack?
I feel this current book was kind of “filler”. It didn’t really seem to significantly further the storyline, but instead just kind of gave us more info on the shifters themselves and how they are evolving. In addition, I’d really like to see some of the background stories tightened up a little. The ongoing war between the two opposing organizations, the mysteries with the Council, etc., are getting a little vague and confusing to me. Too many things are going on in my humble opinion, and somehow we just dropped the guys from Tampa. Will they be back in the next installment?
In spite of some of those issues, I’m going to rate this one as “Liked It / Above Average”, or 3.5 out of 5.0 on our Love Bytes scale. I recommend the book and the entire series to anyone who enjoys a good shifter series. I’m personally enjoying the read and hope that Brenda keeps going with it at least for a couple more books. I would hope though that we don’t end up with a double digit number of books in the series, because I’m afraid it might get stale if carried on too long.