Though they started out as enemies, Lake and Declan have found their way to happiness together. But that doesn’t mean life is easy for a former hunter and a high-level chimera. When dead bodies start showing up with strange markings, markings the men have seen before, they know something bad is going on. But when the danger hits close to home and Declan seems to be a target, he and Lake know they have to take action.
Declan may be a reformed hunter, but he spent years fighting the chimera and now someone is looking for revenge. However, as they dig further into who is after Declan and why, it uncovers a terrifying plot that reveals more danger than any of them could imagine. Though both Lake and Declan wish they could put the hunter/chimera conflict behind them, they know they can’t turn a blind eye to what is going on (not to mention both men relish a good fight). Along with help from some friends, Lake and Declan once again take on the bad guys in order to protect the innocent. But finding their way out of this situation with their lives is not going to be easy.
Hunter’s Descent is the second book in Alice Winter’s Mischief and Monsters series. It follows Lake and Declan after the events of Monstrous Intent, and you are going to want to read these books in order for maximum understanding and enjoyment. I enjoyed the reveal here as the truth about what is going on slowly starts to unfold. As the men learn about who is behind the murders, the situation is pretty horrifying. I don’t want to reveal too many details, but there is nice combination of suspense, intensity, and mystery here to keep things exciting. The early parts of the book are more focused on uncovering what is going on, then we move into a new location where even more is revealed and the guys face some big danger. Declan and Lake take the lead here, but they are joined by Sy and Indigo, two former members of Lake’s group with Mona. Winters has a way with ensemble casts and I enjoyed how the four men play off of one another. Indigo is even more bloodthirsty and outrageous than Lake, if that is possible, and Sy forms sort of the straight man in it all. It is also pretty clear that Sy and Indigo are into each other, despite ostensibly hating each other, which adds some fun. The suspense element gives us a nice adventure, and also ties into some of the larger series connections. Oh, and Sir Reginald (aka Fish Stick) makes an appearance, which adds a little humor to the intensity. I love that Lake imagines this rich inner life for his fish, who basically just lies there all the time.
I continue to love Lake and Declan together and enjoy both men. Their dynamic is similar to many of Winters’ pairings, but what sets them apart a bit for me is that Declan also has a morally gray side. He was raised to believe all chimera are evil and that the hunters were always on the side of good. Now, he has come to realize that things aren’t nearly that black and white, and he is comfortable pushing that questionable line. There is somewhat of a fallen law enforcement vibe to Declan and sometimes he just doesn’t really care about following the rules anymore, which I think adds interesting layers to his character and to his dynamic with Lake.
I think the only place I struggled a little here is that there are a lot of side characters, many of whom play only minor roles, and sometimes I lost track of them all. For example, there is a woman they meet early on who shows back up later and, honestly, by then I had forgotten how she connected to it all at first. So I think maybe a few too many people to keep track of for me, but nothing overly problematic.
I am finding this series so much fun and I love the different angles that Winters can explore with these characters and the overall storyline. I hope there is more to come in this series, as I am really looking forward to the chance to read further.