Yellow Tape and Coffee, by Pat Luther
Four intertwining stories. Four points of view of a single large event. Four people from different backgrounds with different ideals.
And a secret society of werewolves is unveiled in Portland, Oregon.
For four hundred years, they have kept their secret. Some will do anything to reveal it. Others will sacrifice everything to keep it.
Alliances will be forged and shattered. Friendships will be made and betrayed. Conspiracies within conspiracies will unravel as conflicting agendas clash across the city.
And by the end, nothing will be the same.
My Review (4 out of 5 )
Yellow Tape and Coffee is an interesting proposal by Pat Luther, being a paranormal thriller, but with two characteristics that I would say define this novel: an approach to the werewolf theme closer to the scientific method than others, and the use of different POV as a way to show the inaccuracy of the others POV.
This complex story starts showing how a werewolf commits a murder, drawing detective Michael Diaz to the crime scene. Despite the initial skepticism, as this seems to be the second time a dog is used as a weapon to commit a crime, things don't really make much sense. At the start, this detective is not aware of the existence of these supernatural creatures, but soon has to drop the initial hypothesis, and assume that werewolves are real, and that there are several in Portland.
At the same time, a group of other werewolves, whose leader is Carl, are trying to convert more people, without having the permission of their Alpha. Because yes, werewolves act as a society, with the Alpha of each zone deciding who should be converted and how; for Carl and his group, this is an intent to get rid of the tyranny of Portland's Alpha, Victor Stump.
Veer Rossen is a reporter who is trying to get more info about the crimes, as she thinks a Were might be implicated, acting in order to gather information for Stump and the group who keeps control over werewolves, and who accidentally gets into the way of the assassin, entering in a relationship with Michael.
Gordon is just collateral damage to one of the assassin's crimes, getting converted into a werewolf against his will. He will need to fight against the killing attempts of the Were society (they will get rid of anybody that gets converted against their mandate), and also assimilate his new nature.
Those POVs get intertwined to create an engaging thriller, using each one of them as a sort of unreliable narrator, showing how each one has a different vision of their proposal. Carl could be considered a terrorist, but in his own eyes, he's just a visionary, a sort of Messiah who wants to liberate Were from their occultism. Michael also becomes one of the most interesting POVs to follow, as we can see a rather methodical approach to the paranormal case, focusing on how to gather proofs and fight against the dangerous ones.
The novel has an excellent pace, feeling a short one despite being 213k words, as there are almost no fill chapters. Each one serves a purpose, building a complex story, which is a pleasure to be following. I love when a thriller makes you feel smart, as you can try to guess what is happening using the incomplete information the author is giving you, and certainly, this book is one of these.
Personally, I think there is some improvement margin for some of the characters. Some of them (especially the secondary ones) end up feeling a little bit plain and simple, in contraposition with others that are well developed; and some of the decisions taken by the protagonists may end feeling rather unlogical/stupid, even if they are acting with incomplete info.
In summary, I think this is a really recommendable book for people who enjoy stories implying a whole police work, while being able to make their own guesses with the info given by the unreliable narrators. Lovers of paranormal thrillers, give an opportunity to this book, because it's perfect for you!
I have lived in Portland, Oregon on and off throughout my life.
I’ve been a pizza boy, a Kelly girl, a corporate propagandist, and both a purveyor and debunker of conspiracy theories, and once had to take a class in money laundering and terrorist financing.
I once helped save the world.
The 2008 financial collapse was almost entirely not my fault.
I once drove to Guatemala with five people in a Subaru, and I’ve volunteered with archaeologists, where I’ve sifted dirt, flown drones, and dodged a giant boulder. (It wasn’t actually moving, but it was still a close call.)
I’ve been a member of one fundamentalist religion and two secret societies, and ran my first D&D game the summer before I saw my first Star Wars movie.
I’ve programmed satellites and police databases, and lost one job because the project I was working on got shut down by the EFF, and another because Bill Clinton said the wrong thing to an Iranian official.
I’ve also written two novels – so far.