My beloved Clay and Elena are back and they're doing what they do best... tracking mutts. The story begins with Elena trying to catch up with a young Aussie wolf named Reese, who is being set up to take the fall for some man-eaters. (Armstrong set up a backstory for Reese in the short story "Chivalrous," but you don't have to read it to know what's going on.) She follows him to Alaska, where he is promptly attacked by mutts living there. Elena patches him up and faces the task of finding the mutts to deal with them.
She and Clay also have a side-mission while they're there. Two former Pack members (Dennis and Joey, who we met in the short story "Ascension") are living in Alaska, but Jeremy is worried about them because they have fallen out of touch. We discover quickly that Dennis is dead... killed by the mutts... giving Clay and Elena more incentive to track them down. Adding to the trouble: some missing girls and some unexplained wolf-kills. How much are the mutts responsible for? And what is the strange shifter that Dennis was researching before he died?
This book was fantastic. There was a lot of action, but there was plenty of introspection for Elena as well. She's finally aware of Jeremy's plan to make her Alpha. Is that really what she wants? And what will that mean for her and Clay? Beyond that, she is finally facing some of the demons from her childhood... at first in an intangible way, but later, in ways that are all too real.
It was all very satisfying.... kind of like coming home after the departure of Living With the Dead
. I love that Elena is finally embracing her feelings for Clay and accepting who she is. I really enjoy watching them as a couple... their fire, their commitment... just everything. It was also great fun to meet new werewolves who could expand the Pack. 5 stars.