Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Long, Lonely Howl
AUTHOR: Lyn Gala
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 170 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 2, 2011
Although Casey Keller loves his life as a YMCA counselor, making a difference in the lives of inner-city kids, his personal life is a mess. He loves Adam, his live-in boyfriend, but he can’t deal with him. He misses Nathan, an old lover and current friend, but there’s a distance between them Casey can’t overcome. He’s starting to fear that he’s the one constantly ruining any chance he has for happiness. But life is about to change: a trip to the California mountains to escape the pressures of city life will introduce him to a world he never knew existed, where creatures out of mythology and fiction roam and men run in packs.
This was an interesting spin on werewolves and not exactly what I had been expecting when I first sat down to read it. Casey is a man living in the closet, determined to keep his personal and professional lives separate at all costs. His boyfriend, Adam, is the complete opposite and just doesn’t understand why Casey won’t change; this has led to fractious interactions between the two men and has Casey longing for some peace and quiet. When the inevitable break up happens, Casey finds himself going out to see his friend Nathan, a one night stand that became a good friend even though Casey still wishes they could have more. His attempt to relax and unwind leads him to some unexpected discoveries, however…discoveries that will either give Casey what he’s always wanted or will take away everything he loves.
So, like I stated before, this wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Despite what quite a few other people have thought, I didn’t find Casey’s treatment of Adam to be a horrible thing; yes, he should have ended things sooner but I think its only natural that when you’re having issues with a significant other, you may not want to deal with them and would relish having some time alone. I found Adam, on the other hand, to be a bit of a snot and I don’t approve of the game he was playing in an attempt to make Casey fight to get back into his good graces. Seriously, either leave or suck it up and try to work things out. Just saying.
I liked how Casey finds out about Nathan and how the change worked in regards to the ‘challenge’ and control of a new wolf. The concept of mates wasn’t a new one for this genre but, again, the author put a bit of a different spin on it. (Few minor spoilers here so be warned.) I’ll be honest, I found the difference interesting but I’m not sure if I really liked it; I like my men to be together not separated and only coming together on occasion while having the option to sleep with other people when the need to scratch an itch arises, so to speak. The book was also more laid back and had less angst/action in it than I was expecting which made for a fairly interesting and relaxing read but I also felt like something was missing by the time I’d finished the story.
Overall, I liked the story, both for the writing and the twists the author made to an already established genre/lore; I could’ve done with a bit more solidity on the relationship front, especially something that led to more than what felt like a happy for now instead of a happily ever after. I mean, after waiting years for the man he couldn’t forget, I figure Casey needed a more concrete bit of happiness to make up for it. Interesting story with likeable characters that I will probably read again in the future.