death of the moon coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Alec Channing serves as a leader among the independent shifters in Columbus, along with his good friend, Ari. The two of them help new shifters get acclimated, as well as assist those moving in and out of town. Alec currently has his hands full with his responsibilities, but things are thrown into even more chaos when shifters start getting attacked and killed.

Detective Damien O’Connor works for the Columbus Police Department and he is assigned to a murder investigation. Nothing about the case or the body makes sense and Damien can’t figure out what is going on. When the case is pulled from his jurisdiction, it is even more frustrating, especially when another similar murder follows. It is hard for Damien to believe what is right before his eyes, but he is determined to figure out who is behind it all.

When Damien and Alec meet one another, the men spark an instant connection, one both of them want to pursue. They start spending more time together and find that they are developing clear feelings for one another. But when Damien realizes that Alec may know something about his murder cases, it becomes clear that there is a lot more going on than Damien ever expected — including a whole paranormal world he never could have imagined. Now, Damien and Alec are working together to find out who is behind the killings before it is too late.

Death of the Moon in the first book in S.A. Pavlik’s new Secrets of the Moon series and I totally loved it! This is Pavlik’s debut work and I was really impressed with the great world building and engaging mystery. You may have noticed I was somewhat vague here when describing the case, and that was intentional, as Pavlik has set this up in such an interesting way. On one hand we have Alec, who is part of this shifter world and seeing fellow shifters being killed. He is working with Ari and others in the shifter community to try to figure out what is going on, as well as hide as much as possible from the human authorities who don’t know about the existence of the paranormal world. At the same time, Damien is a human detective investigating these strange murders that make no sense and have all these confusing elements that leave him struggling to piece it together. Of course, as readers we know why things aren’t adding up, since we are seeing it all from both Alec and Damien’s POVs. What I think Pavlik does so well here is set up this perfect timing where it all comes together and Alec and Damien start working with one another, versus on parallel tracks. They are kept apart just long enough to create this very fascinating puzzle where we see all these pieces not quite fit from either man’s perspective, but not so long that we don’t get the satisfaction of seeing our heroes work together to solve it. The mystery is really fascinating, as something quite strange is going on with the bodies and we don’t really know why until it’s all revealed toward the end. I found it really engaging and Pavlik combines the traditional murder/mystery investigation and the larger paranormal world building together in such interesting ways.

The focus here is really on the murders, with the relationship growing slowly along side. Alec and Damien meet casually and end up running into each other again, slowly building a friendship and then a romantic relationship. Things move forward fairly smoothly for the men (with a few false starts), which I think works well here as it allows them to come together to solve the case. There is a really lovely sweetness to their interaction, and a sense of two men who are able to be there for one another in a way they both really need. Alec, in particular, has some PTSD from past trauma and needs some extra sensitivity from his partner, which Damien willingly provides. There is also a nice sensuality to their dynamic and I found these guys to be a sexy pairing. I am really excited to see how their relationship continues to grow as the series continues.

This book is the first in what appears to be a trilogy. The murders are resolved here, but there are larger issues that will continue to be explored in upcoming books. I found this one to be a really great combination of paranormal world and mystery/suspense and I am really excited to see what comes next.

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