That's the sign of a great novelist and good plot - the ability to create total immersion with characters and their antics.
The Dragon of Doughton Park pretty much picks up where the Draculata Nest left off (see review here). Following the protagonist Clifford Crane, a sixty year old werewolf with the body of a rock star and the courage of the cowardly lion - he is decent, kind and always serving the best interests of others, even if that means involving himself with undead girlfriends and a brewing Lycan war.
Clifford is once again forced to step up to the plate and fulfill a prophecy dictated by a dragon centuries previous while also uncovering his own path and purpose. Surprised by the respect and the admiration of his werewolf peers, Clifford soon begins to understand that destiny isn't the Chinese whispers of the past - it's the actions of the present and the faith he restores within his own abilities.
The Dragon of Doughton Park is riddled with action and enough romantic interludes to make your skin itch. The dialogue, as always, is carefully constructed and purposeful. Characterization is consistent as is the unfolding plot and various relationship turbulence. I especially enjoyed reading a novel from a man's perspective, and not necessarily the ridiculously dreamy variety found in other run-of-the-mill paranormal romances. Clifford is sixty years old, down to earth, realistically challenged by the preconceptions of others and damn sexy in his continuing reluctance to embrace his finer qualities.
Needless to say that once again the talented John Hundley has brought us a novel filled with danger, intrigue and enough plot thickeners to keep you guessing right to the very end. Teamed with the multiple character perspective and eloquent descriptive content - there is never a dull moment. I happily rate this novel four and a half fangs out five.
Clifford Crane has led a tough life – failed marriages, bankruptcy, drug addiction, and a mind-numbing dead-end job. But he’s made it through, and now he’s a few short years from retirement. He’s looking forward to his golden years, until he meets an ancient Uwharrie Indian shaman, who turns him into a werewolf. She believes Clifford is the red wolf foretold in prophecy, the one who will unite the wolf packs and lead them to victory over the vampires for once and all time. Too bad she doesn’t tell him that before she dies. Now, rescuing beautiful young women from the clutches of the undead has its rewards, but will it pay the rent for the next thousand years?
Everyone has accepted the Prophecy of the Red Wolf except the Red Wolf himself. Clifford would like to reclaim some semblance of a normal life, but there are three beautiful reasons he cannot cut his ties to the pack of werewolves of which he has become a part. There’s Heather, the sister of the Uwharrie Pack alpha, whom the pack has chosen as Clifford’s mate. There’s Nicole, the talented young Omega wolf, a seeming reincarnation of Clifford’s once and greatest love, who shares a strange and disturbing bond with him. And there’s Danielle, the gorgeous young vampire who currently shares his bed in a forbidden affair.
Clifford faces a difficult choice indeed, but it may not be his to make. Powerful forces are afoot in the world, and to protect the ones he loves, Clifford must seek the help of the powerful Fae who foretold the prophecy in the first place, the one who might do anything to make sure the prophecy comes true, the mysterious Dragon of Doughton Park.
The Dragon of Doughton Park is the second in a series of Red Wolf novels, depicting a world where vampires are mere generations away from realizing mankind’s destruction, the ultimate goal of the undead and the mysterious beings that created them.