Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Stalking Buffalo Bill
SERIES: Sifter U #1, Dreamspun Beyond #3
AUTHOR: J. Leigh Bailey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2017
A Shifter U Tale
A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.
A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.
While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.
It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.
I struggled a bit with this one. Not because it wasn’t funny or romantic, but because I felt like I missed some vital bits necessary to understand the relationship and the character’s personalities.
From a world building perspective, I thought this story was a good beginning to a series. I learned about the types of shifters, learned a bit about their physiology, and learned about their interactions with the human world. The author gave me just enough information to pull me and and ground me, but not so much that I don’t need to know more. For me it was a good balance.
I enjoyed the mystery and trying to figure out who the bad guys were and why they were behaving as they did. This was really the only mechanism to learn more about William’s history so I was constantly needing more and eagerly read until the end.
However, this bring me to the two major issues I personally had with this book. Character development and the romance. I never felt like I got to know William as a man. Oh we found out the history that got him to where he was, but I never got a handle on his personality, his inner character, what made him tick and act in the ways he did. Donnie drove this show and as such, William almost felt like an afterthought, a way to temper Donnie’s annoyingness. But because I didn’t feel like William was a fully developed characters, I never understood the way he treated Donnie.
And Donnie, OMG he was just barely likable in my opinion. Yes, he had a good heart but he was a huge hypocrite and an entitled, annoying brat. I very quickly picked up on his behavioral patterns and instead of being quirky and spunky, I was soured to him as a person and just felt he was annoying and immature. He DEMANDED trust and equal treatment, yet at every turn he ignored William’s abilities and desires and just did whatever he wanted without stopping to think them through. He DEMANDED he be treated like an adult, yet bereaved like a spoiled child never wanting to wait for someone else’s opinion or expertise. He constantly treated William exactly the way he accused William of treating him and William just kept forgiving him. This didn’t work for me and it cast an overarching shadow over my enjoyment of this book.
Finally, I never understood the “love” at all. There were some hints that fate might be at work, but it was never spelled out as fated mates and actually most of the time, this was presented as a choice. So I understood the infatuation and even the sexual tension, but these men were so incompatible and Donnie was so disrespectful to his role a partner that I never wanted these men to get together. I never understood why William forgave Donnie so often since they had just met. And I never understood why Donnie jumped in to save a total stranger to the extent that he did. Maybe it was just because I didn’t like this paring, but I felt like their instant love was not well explained to me at all.
I think some people will really like this one. It has action, it has adventure, it has mystery, it has romance. So while this one left me wanting, I encourage you to make your own decision.