ARC Review: VL Locey – An Eerie Garden Party

erieAuthor: VL Locey
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: MM Paranormal

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Spring has finally arrived along the shores of Lake Erie and no one is happier than the skunk shifter, Templeton Reed. Now that the snows have melted, he can frolic and play on the grounds of Lupei Manor, the formidable home that he shares with his life partner, Mikel Lupei, the alpha of the Lake Erie werewolf pack. What a pity that his joy is short lived.

Not only does a stranger appear to shake things up in the manor, bodies begin showing up on the grounds as well! Could the newcomer to the pack be the one viciously killing innocent humans and shifters? Or is there a more nefarious force at work lurking just outside the boundaries of the ancient manse that Templeton, Mikel, and their LGBT friends call home?
Review: In this latest story of skunky Templeton and his wolfy lover, Mikel, there is happiness in Lupei Manor, where the outcasts of the paranormal world are accepted. It’s near full moon, and the wolves are caught up in the moonfever. I have to put it out there that I adore Templeton. His inner musings and his outer dialogue are just funny, particularly in the face of the bigotry and prejudice that is prevalent within the shifter community. You can’t be gay, you can’t be different and you are definitely classed by your species (and Templeton the skunk is a lower order).
There is a problem around Lupei Manor right now, with bodies being found, both shifter and human. It’s to the point that the Elders (completely backwards idiots, just sayin’) want a Nosferati to “…extract any information about the slaying of the mortal from the minds of my pack.” This can’t happen, since the pack needs to hide the fact they are outcasts, gay, etc. So poor Mikel has to bite the bullet and ask Vincente, a gay vampire living with his human mate at the Manor, to do so. And that Mikel absolutely loathes the vamp, but it’s the lesser of the evils. When Mikel’s newly arrived cousin, Havel, refuses to submit to the mind interrogation he becomes suspect number one.
I have to say that due to the full moon, the sex between Templeton and Mikel is very rough, not romantic. I was disappointed, since the “take what you want” aspect of the so called upper classes seemed more evident in Mikel here. He’s definitely in thrall to the moon and acts like, well, an upper class werewolf a lot of the time. Even his cook has to comment, “If you plan to be in my kitchen, you’ll cover your cock, Master Lupei”. Of course he ignores the comment, of course. He acts like his animal side often throughout this one.
Not only are they trying to figure out who is doing the killing, but there is also the arson of a shifter owned menswear shop. Add in the moon-addled mate, plus Templeton accidentally discovering Havel’s secret and why he came to Lupei Manor and there’s a lot going on for our poor skunk. Even more so when Mikel decides to be contrary about Havel’s secret, being obnoxious enough that Vincente “…stalked out the door, obviously too affronted to even turn into a bat and try to poop on Mikel’s head as he had in the past.”
The shifter world here is incredibly behind the times when it comes to most things (“mental cleansing” was suggested for one of our characters by his own father) and differences are not tolerated. And don’t you dare step above what society considers your station. Lupei Manor, however, is different and that makes things lovely. Templeton’s conversation with his parents, for example, shows the fear. “I’m not homophobic, I’m just scared muskless that these two boys will be outed someday.” But they love their boy, “Can we go meet your new, happy friends?” Adorable.
Despite the serious undertones, this is a light story and all I can say about the end is – GO HAVEL!

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