ARC Review: Under Dark Skies by A.J. Scudiere

Under Dark Skies by A.J. ScudiereAuthor:  A.J. Scudiere

Genre: Fantasy, Crime

Publisher: Griffyn Ink

Publication Date: April 2, 2015

366 pages, paperback

NOTE: I was provided with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I enjoy crime fiction quite a bit, but it’d been a while since I’d read any when I was contacted about possibly reviewing this book. I jumped on it for two reasons: crime fiction and werewolves. I love when two genres that don’t normally mix are thrown together.

Medical examiner, Donovan Heath, and FBI agent, Eleri Eames, are recruited to a special FBI division called NightShade. It’s not as random as either of them think though, and as they begin to investigate a cult and the decade-old kidnapping cases the cult seems to be involved in, their secrets just might surface. The question is, will it “save them…or destroy them”?

Sounds cool, right? What are their secrets?! I liked figuring it all out, and A.J. Scudiere combines the supernatural with the…well, I can’t really say normal because cults aren’t exactly mundane, are they? But Scudiere weaves these two stories together in an interesting and (mostly) fast paced way. We’ve got cults, murder, kidnapping, and werewolves all thrown together in this huge, crazy, easy-to-read book.

While I really liked the story itself, I couldn’t connect with some of the characters which made the book feel pretty long. I thought Donovan was quite interesting and I liked learning about him as a werewolf, and I thought all of the things he could do and his history was super cool. Eleri was just kind of there for me. I don’t know. She wasn’t necessarily a bad character, but I didn’t connect with her as easily as I did with Donovan. I’ve always thought cults were kind of fascinating (I don’t know what this says about me), so meeting Jonah, who escapes from the cult, and learning about the cult leader kept me hooked.

I liked that while there were forensic investigations, it never got overwhelming or over-technical. Instead, Under Dark Skies focused on the abilities of the NightShade members, which were all fascinating. However, I thought the case itself was a little too easy. All of the witnesses just kind of stumbled into their path – some of them literally did just that. It made the believability factor lower quite a bit.

The bottom line:  This book reads almost like a normal FBI thriller but then you’ve got the addition of werewolves (and other supernatural abilities that I won’t spoil), which is a combination you don’t normally come across. It occasionally felt drawn out and long, but overall, I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to people who’ve read a few too many cheesy paranormals and would like something new or people who like crime fiction and would like to mix it up.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great