Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Lupine Road
AUTHOR: Cal Matthews
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 434 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2017
A wolf on the run
Cyrus Del Basque has been running his whole life. Born to a pack of fugitive werewolves, he travels the country with his family, trying to stay one step ahead of the hunters who pursue them. With only each other to rely on, his family roams from town to town, never stopping long enough for Cyrus to make friends, let alone have a relationship.
But living under constant threat has taken its toll, and when Cyrus’s grandfather falls ill, his desperate family takes refuge in the most unlikely of places—a drive-in movie theater outside of tiny Modesty Creek, Montana.
A man looking forward
Nathan Anderson is comfortable in his world. Proud owner of the Throwback Theater, Nate’s life revolves around movies, books, and World of Warcraft raids with his long-distance best friend. He’s spent the last few years healing from a car accident that left him in a wheelchair, and though he has lingering mental and physical scars, Nate is happy and content in the life he has built.
But Modesty Creek is small, and the dating options slim. So when the strange family blows into town, Nate is immediately drawn to the quiet, intense oldest son. And when sparks fly, Nate—ever the romantic—can’t help but start imagining the future they might have together.
Two world colliding
But Cyrus knows he can’t risk putting Nate and his family in danger. How could he even begin to explain? He knows that, at best, they can only have a few days together. But even as Nate and Cyrus are drawn closer together, Cyrus knows that at any moment, hunters could arrive to tear them all apart… and burn down the world that Nate has created.
This book really grips you right from the beginning. There’s a brilliant atmosphere about it. Almost a thriller kind of vibe, or an indie movie where all the Hollywood rules are out the window. You get the feeling that anything might happen at any moment, and even though it’s a longer story than has become the norm, I was enthralled throughout.
This is a werewolf story, but it felt different from most. Werewolves being hunted is hardly a new theme, but nothing about the storyline felt overly familiar. Cyrus is a big, gorgeous, muscly, tatted werewolf, but he’s no alpha fearlessly leading his pack. Instead, he has spent most of his life on the run with his extended family, travelling the United States in a caravan of three vehicles, following the lead of his grandfather and mother. The need for a normal life has built to an almost undeniable need, so when they get stranded in a small town called Modesty, it’s not surprising that he quickly becomes attached to the dream of staying.
Nate has spent his whole life in Modesty, and after the events of his past, it has become a safe haven for him. He’s confined to a wheelchair, and is self conscious of his disability. When Cyrus rolls into town, Nate isn’t going to turn down the opportunity to have sex with this smoking hot guy who is somehow attracted to him, despite the fact that he knows he’ll end up attached. And Cyrus has been clear about the fact that he will be gone in a week. In regards to Nate being in a wheelchair, I loved the way the author didn’t shy away from the realities of it. His penis wasn’t very sensitive, he had to use a catheter, and he needed lifts and rails. He wasn’t magically cured by a wolf bite. Well, that could still happen I guess, but not in this book.
I mentioned the atmosphere of the book. Oppressive is probably a good word for it. Nate was trapped in his wheelchair, Cyrus was trapped in a cycle of running. There was violence, past sexual assault, murder and that small perfect town feeling that strangely enough always creeps me out. Add to that the seclusion of the movie theatre on Lupine Road and the fact that you were just waiting for the people with guns to arrive. The author did an undeniably brilliant job of building a tone of strain. I was just waiting for something to snap. Amid all of that, the relationship between Cyrus and Nate absolutely shone. The author built the connection and love between the quickly, but so believably, because they were both desperately looking for something or someone to make their lives fuller. I adored these characters so much, and loved what the author did with them.
This story isn’t finished. There’s no cliffhanger, but I’m assuming that Lupine Road will be the first book in a new series. I’m so excited that the author left some threads unfinished, because I can look forward to seeing all of this loveable cast again.