Along Came a Tiger

Kat Simons
Along Came a Tiger
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T&D Publishing
Release Date
June 2014
Book 2 of Tiger Shifters
Action/Adventure Romance, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Romance, Horror Romance, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vamps & Shifters Romance

Never kill a human.

Daniel Borowski, Tracker and enforcer of tiger shifter law, faces an impossible choice when the woman he loves is set on breaking one of their people's most fundamental rules—don't kill humans. Daniel's own sense of justice cries out for the life of the man who murdered one of their own, but killing him—especially in tiger form—is an automatic death sentence. Daniel loves Sarah too much to allow her to throw her life away for revenge. But preventing her from killing could cost him any chance at a future with her.

Her soul demands blood.

Sarah Chu never imagined losing her best friend so young and in such a gruesome way. Until then, she was focused on her career as a genetics researcher and trying to get pregnant during the Mate Run so she could be with the man she loves. After her friend's murder, Sarah can think of little beyond ripping the man responsible to pieces. So when Daniel stops her from taking her revenge, anger and frustration make her lash out at him even as the chemistry between them roars through her. If she kills the human, she'll sacrifice the life she imagined with Daniel. If she lets the human go, she's not sure she'll be able to live with herself.

Justice will come at a price.

To protect Sarah, Daniel will do whatever it takes, including finding another way to get justice. Even that might not be enough for her, though. But when the murderer comes after them, intend on torture and death, Daniel and Sarah will have to choose…destroy the killer or protect their own future. Because they can't have both.

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Mar 12, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
80 people found the following review helpful
ALONG CAME A TIGER by Kat Simons presents an intriguing plot idea, but falls seriously short of its potential. I give it 2 stars and provide a significant amount of detail in my review so that the novella might perhaps be revised and the plot developed sometime in the future.

In this second installment in the Tiger Shifter series, Sarah Chu and Daniel Borowski are two tiger shifters who investigate the murder of Sarah's best friend, Su-jin, even though their shifter community prohibits their actions. Sarah's approach to the investigation is to set up a date with the main suspect, Bradley Williams, so she and/or Su-jin's brother can kill him.

Daniel is a tracker for their community, a law enforcement role, and he is in love with Sarah. Daniel's approach to the investigation is to let the human authorities handle it, and he drags Sarah away from this "date" in order to prevent her from condemning herself to death per their community's laws. Sarah is bent on revenge, even though she knows killing a human is an automatic death sentence for her, but she is also in love with Daniel and doesn't want to lose a possible future with him. With some help from Alexis and Victor (from Once Upon a Tiger, book 1 in this series), Daniel and Sarah are able to dig up some dirt on Williams and ultimately see some sort of justice.

I did not enjoy this novella. The plot had such potential, but that potential is buried under so many issues. The book was starting to get interesting and suspenseful with the Williams investigation around chapter nine, which was exactly half way through the book, but then the good fizzled out after another chapter, leaving nearly thirteen chapters of scenes that did not drive the plot forward. The Williams investigation could have developed in so many different ways, especially considering his acute sense of his surroundings, but the investigation was over and done with in two shakes of a tail without any real resolution. I can imagine a whole two or three chapters focused solely on the Williams investigation and trial, and the careful steps Daniel and Sarah have to take to protect themselves and the community.

I thought this novella was supposed to be about two people who are in love working to put away a murderer without outing their shifter community and without running afoul of their community's laws. But perhaps I missed the point of this novella, and it was actually supposed to be about two people who only think about how they aren't supposed to be in the same vicinity unless they're participating in a Mate Run, who spend a lot of time thinking about the sex they've had during the Mate Runs, fantasizing about the next Mate Run when they can have sex and worrying about whether the other will want to have sex during the next Mate Run, and then actually having sex after the Mate Run. If this is what the book was supposed to be about, then perhaps it should be on the erotic page instead of the romance page because there's very little romance to be had here.

As one can infer from comments thus far, my big issue with this novella is repetition and lack of plot progression. With the dialogue, there was a lot of verbatim repetition of what was written in a previous chapter. Especially in the beginning when Daniel and Sarah argue about her approach to bringing Williams to justice. When people argue continuously about a certain topic, they generally don't say the exact same thing over and over when they are trying to convince someone that their point is right. Usually, they say it differently. Here, they just said the exact same thing over and over for several chapters.

There was repetition in the narrative descriptions. There are so many ways to allude to something previously thought or described without using the exact same phrasing. Word for word repetitive narration makes for a novel that is flat, trite and/or contrived. At times it seemed almost as if some phrases were cut and pasted from one chapter to another.

The repetition issue also affected the sexual scenes. Many of the thirteen non-plot progressive chapters were filled with unnecessary graphic sex, real and fantasized. The ratio of graphic sex scenes to plot progression scenes is right on the line between the romance category and the erotic category. There was actually very little romance and a whole lot of sex, or if not the deed itself, then one character's fantasies/ inner sexual commentary about the other character. I'm not opposed to characters thinking about what they like about other characters - and fantasizing is normal when one is attracted to another – but these scenes were filled with repetition, again sometimes verbatim what was written in a previous scene. After the first two of such scenes, I started to skim the novella. Some of that repetition also interrupted the rare suspenseful scenes. At one point I wanted to tell Sarah to be quiet because I wanted to know what Williams was doing rather than hearing *again* how she felt about the Daniel.

On the technical side, there were editing, typographical and grammar issues that were distracting. There were also some inconsistencies in the setting – e.g., Mitch describes the horse ranch where he takes Sarah as being situated in such a way that they can't shift and run around the property, but Sarah's description of the place indicates that it was remote - as they stood on the hill looking around the property, the nearest neighbors were barely visible. So which is it: is the horse farm remote or not? If both facts are true, then there needed to be some explanation as to why, in such a remote area, they couldn't run around in their tiger forms.

There were also inconsistencies in the characters' thoughts/ statements. In the beginning, Mitch repeatedly tells Sarah to let the human authorities deal with Su-jin's murder, but Mitch stole Su-jin's body from the morgue. So now without a body, there is no evidence to connect Williams to the murder. The human authorities can't deal with it. Finally after five chapters of Daniel assuring Sarah that they should let the human authorities handle it, Mitch states the obvious – that since there is no body for the human authorities to examine, Williams won't be able to be tied to the murder.

Also, when building a new world involving a new culture and new rules, it's best to get all of that info out and introduced early. Here, the rules and customs of the tiger shifter community are all over the place. For several chapters, the characters allude to the fact that they can't be together (as in physically in the same location) outside the Mate Run, but without any explanation. I had a lot of questions. Then after the annoying repetition, readers start to get little bits and pieces of the rules of the tiger shifter community, but it seems like in each subsequent chapter, there's a new fact inadvertently revealed with the repetition of the old. E.g., we start to learn more in chapter four, specifically that under their laws, there are no problems with tiger shifters taking human lovers in between Mate Runs, but that once a female begins doing Mate Runs, there is to be no contact with tiger shifter males. And in chapter six, we learn there's a five year ban from the Mate Run if you're caught in contact with a tiger shifter of the opposite sex in between Runs. This is another issue made me want to skim the book instead of read it.

I had some unanswered questions about this world of tiger shifters. What is their version of jail? Confinement like "house arrest"? In the first book in the series, Once Upon a Tiger, we learn that Victor had to live with his mom when she was confined, and it sounded like he had a decent childhood. So how small is the confinement? In chapter thirteen, we finally hear the word "cell" to describe the confinement, but still no description of how big that is exactly. Also, when searching for the human remains that Alexis described to Mitch, why did they have to shift into tiger form to find it? Their noses are just as sensitive in human form, so the shift seemed unnecessary to me.

Another unanswered question was about Williams's acute sense of his surroundings. There was never any explanation as to why he could sense the tiger shifters in the dark or track them as well as he could.

So, no, I did not enjoy this novella, and I really can't recommend it to anyone else in its current state. The plot still has potential, so if more plot progressing scenes were added and the novella revised, it could be a good book. I gave the third book in this series three stars, so perhaps this is just an example of how an author's writing can improve with each work.
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