by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha and Omega #6
Publication Date: March 18, 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit Books
In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It's as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they've consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.
Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous - and it has met werewolves before.
Given recent challenges of life, I’d forgotten all about this book coming out until I saw it on the shelves, which just goes to show how un-nerving the times are; this is one of my top 5 current series favorites, and normally I’m counting down until release day, with the hardcover on pre-order.
No matter – I found it and I have it and I’ve read it, and as always I find it intolerable that I’ll have to wait another 2 years for the next book, which I’m assuming was foreshadowed at the end of this one. If so, I guess Samuel will finally get a bit more page-time.
I enjoyed the book as much as the others with one caveat: I do not understand this need Briggs has developed over the last half-dozen books or so to incorporate violence against animals. I mean, yes, I get it – black witches, feed off pain, suffering, yada, yada. But what’s with the focus on black witches over so many books? Even though she pretty much always mentions it after the fact, not making the reader live through it, she’s a talented enough writer that the stink of it remains and leaves me feeling rotten. That’s not why I read these books.
I read them for Charles and Bran. Charles because I thoroughly enjoy the incorporation of his Native American heritage in the story lines (though I wish there was more), and Bran because I find him endlessly fascinating. So much history and so much darkness to have overcome, and to be such a thorough master of himself, owning everything he is, is just catnip to me.
The plot of Wild Sign got my hopes up that we’d be seeing more Native American beliefs worked into the plot, but alas, this mystery seemed not to really have much basis in any known mythology, or else, Briggs felt disinclined to name it. But she more than made up for it with the inclusion of Tag, Sasquatch(es), and a cross over with Coyote. The book also goes a little deeper into Charles being witchborn on his father’s side, and events in Wild Sign force him to tap into this darker, more dangerous reserve of power.
Overall it was a good story, though not one of the best ones. Saying that, it’s still better than average, and has me hankering for a re-read of the earlier books.