Title: Alpha Unit One, New York
Author: Chris T. Kat
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 161 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy, Shifters
At a Glance: Overall, this is a good action story with a bit of mystery thrown in. Not everyone will feel comfortable with adults shifting into babies, but if that doesn’t bother you, I think you’ll like this.
Reviewed By: Kel
Blurb: The cat’s out of the bag….
In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.
Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.
Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.
Review: I’ve read my fair share of shifters and thought that the genre had been pretty well covered for the usual tropes (big cats, little cats, dogs, wolves, etc.), but this is something new and sort of interesting.
Chris T. Kat’s book is set in a world where shifters have been around for a long time and are out. The twist here is that there is a subset of shifters that transform into small animals and even babies. This causes a lot of problems because even though these shifters are adults in their human forms, they’re considered too small or immature in their shifter form to be allowed into dangerous jobs. They’re relegated to nurturing or “safe” jobs and don’t even have a say in that; their mate or guardian dictates what job they can do. They’re treated like second class citizens.
Nick is a baby shifter, shifting into a baby snow leopard. He’s dreamed of being a member of one of the elite teams forever and now that he’s finally gotten his chance, he’s not sure he can pull it off. I couldn’t help worrying with him. It was easy to see how frustrated Nick was becoming because of how he’d be treated and the effects of having to hide who he really was to his new team. By the end of the story, you’re glad the truth came out and that Nick was strong enough to stand up for himself and others like him.
Sam Black, Nick’s team leader and mate, is someone that I wanted to yell at. He had the same assumptions about small shifters that everyone else had and even though he knew that Nick was capable of handling the job, he was still going to refuse him the chance to do it. But as time went on, he slowly started to come around and actually see that Nick could do the job and that he could be safe. Granted, it wouldn’t be easy, but at least he was willing to give Nick the chance to prove himself. In the long run, it’ll make them better mates and partners.
There’s also a small mystery going on secondary to the romance storyline. At first you don’t know that anyone is causing the teams trouble, but as things come to light, you start to wonder who is behind it and why. By the end of the book, the mystery is solved and you can feel sorry for the group in a way, even if they picked a very bad way of trying to prove their point. I can understand why they did what they did, though; the frustration over the way they’d been treated and how they wanted a chance like everyone else makes sense. I just wish they could’ve found a better way to make their point before people got hurt and killed.
I do wish that the author had given us a bit more world building; I have a lot of questions about the world these people live in. While a lot of things come out over the course of the story, I’d really like to see more of it rather than hearing about it in a short conversation or even throw-away lines. There’s a lot to explore, I feel, and if the author continues this series, I’m hoping they’ll include a bit more of that.
Overall, this is a good action story with a bit of mystery thrown in. Not everyone will feel comfortable with adults shifting into babies, but if that doesn’t bother you, I think you’ll like this.
You can buy Alpha Unit One, New York here:
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