Ben Lockwood, former Army Ranger, has become a private investigator after returning from several months as a POW in Afghanistan. Hoping for a quiet desk job with no excitement, he finds himself caught up in industrial espionage involving nanotech, and he finds out that werewolves and vampires are real. Pack Dynamics is a supernatural thriller and a good first published novel by Julie Frost.
The story is paced pretty well and kept me interested all the way through. It moved along at a steady rate, and I never felt lost in it. Frost does a good job with dialog, with only a few spots where it didn’t feel natural.
The opening scene in Pack Dynamics was stretched several pages too long. I thought that too much was given away in the scene, and some of it felt like the scene was just used as a convenient way to explain a bunch of story points via the bad guys’ dialogue as they tortured Ben. There was a scene where Megan (one of the main secondary characters) chases after Ben after a significant incident, and I thought that would have been a stronger first scene, with the actual first scene being shown in a flashback.
Until about halfway through the book, it was difficult to tell who the main character was. Even after I finally determined that, it seemed Frost was wavering between Megan and Ben as main characters due to the almost-equal amount of attention she gave both throughout Pack Dynamics. In some ways, I think Megan would have made a better main character.
I really enjoyed the world in the story. Werewolves and vampires seem to be everywhere in media in the last few years, and I enjoyed how they were used a little bit differently here. The use of the technology and the ways it was used was also fun. Even the supernatural nature of the undead and lycanthropes was able to be explained (to some degree) with the medical and technical knowledge used by the characters within Pack Dynamics. Everything was consistent, and that’s a very good thing. And the vampires don’t sparkle!
As a first novel, Frost has a good, solid story with only a few issues keeping it from being great. I look forward to seeing more from her in the future. If you like fun “popcorn” books, you can’t go wrong with Pack Dynamics.
Release Date: September 8, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 1614753598 (9781614753599)
Publisher: WordFire Press
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (frequent drinking, some smoking)
Language: 1 (occasional, mostly mild)
Sexuality: 1 (mostly mild innuendo, brief adult situations)
Violence: 3 (some brutal violence, torture, evisceration, gunfights, death)