Werewolf meets human. Werewolf snubs human. Werewolf loves human?
Julien Doran arrived in sleepy Maudit Falls, North Carolina, with a heart full of hurt and a head full of questions. The key to his brother’s mysterious last days might be found in this tiny town, and now Julien’s amateur investigation is starting to unearth things the locals would rather keep buried.
Perhaps most especially the strange, magnetic manager of a deserted retreat that’s nearly as odd as its staff.
Eli Smith is a lot of things: thief, werewolf, glamour-puss, liar. And now the manager of a haven for rebel pack runaways. He’s spent years cultivating a persona to disguise his origins, but for the first time ever he’s been entrusted with a real responsibility—and he plans to take that seriously.
Even if the handsome tourist who claims to be in town for some R & R is clearly on a hunt for all things paranormal. And hasn’t taken his brooding gaze off Eli since he’s arrived.
When an old skeleton and a fresh corpse turn a grief errand into a murder investigation, the unlikely Eli is the only person Julien can turn to. Trust is hard to come by in a town known for its monsters, but so is time…
Pack of Lies is the first book in a spinoff of the Big Bad Wolf series, which I have not read, so this world was entirely new for me, and this novel can stand on its own.
This is the story of Eli, a snarky werewolf who manages a mountain resort in Maudit Falls, which serves as a safe house for rebel werewolves. Eli is a bit unusual in that he possesses secret shifting abilities that he must keep secret even from his own kind. He encounters Julian, a grieving tourist who is staying at another local resort. We learn that Julian is searching for answers about his brother Rocky’s untimely death and was led to the area by a cryptic message about monsters that Julian found in his brother’s room. Both Eli and Julian are suffering from past trauma and trust issues, making them especially leery of getting too close to the other. Eli fears that Julian would reject him if he learned that Eli was a shifter. And Julian…well, he has his own secrets.
The title in this novel is perfect as there certainly is a plethora of lying going on, so much so that you’re not sure who to believe. I enjoyed how the author slowly revealed each of the character’s pasts, and in so doing, we learn their motivations, their secrets, and what drives them. Both of the characters are mysterious, highly complex, and multi-layered, and I loved how the layers are exposed to the reader a little at a time. I also enjoyed the dual POVs, allowing us to experience the story from each of their perspectives.
The author does an excellent job both with character development and world-building, leading to a compelling and atmospheric story. Additionally, the novel serves up an addicting plot along with a tantalizing mystery to solve. I love the combination of a murder mystery and the paranormal elements of the narrative and enjoyed how Eli and Julian joined forces to do some “sleuthing,” all the while trying to keep their secrets from the other. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of their relationship as the story progressed.
All in all, Pack of Lies is an enthralling read about secrets and murder that pulled me in immediately. It features plenty of snark and humor, twists galore, nail-biting suspense, monster hunting, danger, and sizzling chemistry between our two main characters. I loved the sexual tension and the romantic dynamics between Eli and Julian.
Though this is the first book in the series, the author nicely wrapped up the ending with no cliffhangers while setting up the story for future books. I can’t wait to continue on with the series and see what the author will do with this compelling world. Recommended!
A huge thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book.
This title will be released on August 30, 2022 but you can preorder it HERE.