Big Bad Wolf

Author: Suleikha Snyder

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

First Published: 26 January 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Sure, she was a little bit fucked up… and she refused to be fucked over.”

They call him a monster. More wolf than man―more dangerous than any predator.
They have no idea.

Joe Peluso has blood on his hands. He took out the mobsters responsible for killing his foster brother, and that one act of vigilante justice has earned him countless enemies in New York’s supernatural-controlled underworld. He knows that shifters like him deserve the worst. Darkness. Pain. Solitude. But meeting Neha makes him feel human for the first time in forever.

Lawyer and psychologist Neha Ahluwalia knows Joe is guilty, but she’s determined to help him craft a solid defense even if she can’t defend her own obsession. Just one look from the wolf shifter makes her skin burn hot and her pulse race. When a payback hit goes wrong, Neha’s forced to make a choice: help Joe escape or leave him to his fate. Before long they’re on the run?from the monsters who want him dead, from their own traitorous hearts, and from an attraction that threatens to destroy them.

I am not sure what I was expecting from Big Bad Wolf. It is different from every other paranormal series that I have read. It did take a little bit to get into the groove, but once that action hit, I was hooked!

Big Bad Wolf introduces a world filled with paranormal and supernatural beings who have recently revealed their existence to humans. Set against this backdrop, werewolf Joe Peluso is awaiting his trial for the murder of six Russian Bravta members. Joe is an ex-soldier and believes that killing is all he is good at. It is during his enlistment that Joe becomes a werewolf. In jail he meets Naha Ahluwalia. Neha has a doctorate in psychology and is part of Joe’s defence team. It is her job to get Joe to talk so the lawyers can build a reasonable case to defend him.

The world-building is by far the most captivating element of the narrative. It is clear from the opening that this story does not focus on just one couple but has an ensemble cast. The cast helps to showcase the world without the need for massive amounts of info-dumping. The Darkest Day was the catalyst to the supernatural creatures revelling their existence. Panic takes over, and the US becomes an increased military state. The newly created Supernatural Regulation Bureau is calling for all supernatural beings to be tracked and constantly monitored. The way Suleikha Synder can weave in the essence of our current political climate is eerie. It highlights the blatant prejudice and gross discrimination of these proposed laws.

The Third Shift was created as a counterpoint to the bigoted organisation. They work to protect the rights and freedoms of paranormal creatures. The Third Shift reminds me of Criminal Minds’ BUA mixed with a private military agency. I did not know I needed this in my life, but I do, and I need more!

The romance between Neha and Joe ultimately did not work for me. I adore Neha as a character. She does not give a fuck what anyone thinks of her and refuses to compromise who she is. Honestly, I aspire to be her. I just do not understand her relationship with Joe beyond the instant sexual attraction. There was not enough development in their emotional connection for me to want the pair to get together. I could not understand why Neha was risking her life for Joe. Joe belittles all the sacrifices Neha has made to help save him. I feel there is not enough grovelling on his part before they get back together.

We get another romance blooming in the background between police officer Danny Yeo and Yulia Vasiliev, the sister to the head of the bratva. And oh my god, these two were perfect for each other! I adored seeing their friends-to-lovers romance develop. We get the emotional depth that is lacking in Joe and Neha’s relationship. I wished Danny and Yulia was the focal point or, at the very least, that they own novel.

Ultimately, Big Bad Wolf was an intriguing start to this series. I am excited to see what happens to the Third Shift in the sequel. If you are a fan of urban fantasy authors such as Nalini Singh or Patricia Briggs, I think you would enjoy this series. 

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