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When I pulled up The Mountain’s Shadow in Goodreads, I saw that readers had classified this book as: Fantasy – Urban Fantasy, Romance – Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters – Werewolves, Romance, Fantasy – Paranormal. These are all very valid classifications. Yes, yes, there are shapeshifters – werewolves. But to me, first and foremost, The Mountain’s Shadow is a mystery.

Here. Read this first paragraph from the book blurb:

First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.

See – there’s a fire. That just screams mystery to me. Add in an affair and things start to get suspicious. Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome is the key element that will make it all very interesting.

In The Mountain’s Shadow, CLS goes from being a psychological disorder affecting children to a physical true shape-shifting condition affecting all ages. Joanie is the behavioral epidemiologist trying to determine the causes of the former when she runs into real life examples of the later. Which just leads to more questions. This is a medical mystery that must be solved.

In addition to the medical mystery, there are children disappearing from Crystal Pines every full moon. So more questions need to be answered.

Each clue to the medical mystery or to the missing children leads to more questions. And to more people. The list of suspects is long.

Suspects will pop in from all walks of life. Researchers, medical doctors, lawyers, private investigators, butlers, a sheriff, social workers, waiters, waitresses, children, spouses. All in the small community of Crystal Pines. Anyone could be a CLS sufferer. Anyone could be involved in the mystery.

In fact, they are all involved in the mystery in one way or another. But it is a challenge to figure out. Ms. Dominic keeps you guessing throughout the story. Oh, there are quite a few suspicious characters. But there are also many, many secrets. As the secrets are revealed, suspicion may be allayed or increased or redirected.

A bit of romance is thrown in to make things even more interesting. Joanie has trouble making her mind up though. There is her former boss, a butler and a doctor. And just to complicate things, one or more of them may also suffer from CLS or they might be a suspect. Or both. That former boss thing though – Joanie, really? I got disgusted with her every time she even considered they might get back together. The thing is though, Joanie is human. It is hard to give up on something you thought was pretty good.

For that matter, there are a lot of humans in The Mountain’s Shadow, even if some of them can become wolves. They are all humanly flawed in ways that make sense and add to the story. Even a werewolf can hope for a normal life, or at least a better one. That is why Joanie’s research into a cure for CLS becomes so important and attracts the attention so many people. With that statement, I’ve come full circle, back to the researcher described in the book burb.

If you are having a hard time considering how werewolves, missing children, secrets, and a cure for CLS are all connected, I get that. After reading the book, I considered what to put in this review for several days.

First and foremost, I was happy it was a mystery that I figured out only as quickly as the heroine did. In other words, it was unpredictable. It was also complex, emotional and ultimately satisfying. Having read The Mountain’s Shadow, I can tell you that I was very happy with the way Ms. Dominic connected all the dots at the end. A major part of the story is ended, but there are a few bread crumbs left to follow to another story or two in the series.

My copy of this book was given to me by the author with no expectation of a review, but I reviewed it anyway. Why?  Because it is a 5-star book that I think a lot of people would enjoy!

Cecilia Dominic’s Website

The Lycanthropy Files on Goodreads

Amazon Link

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