Crescent Moon (2006) is a werewolf romance, fourth in Lori Handeland’s NIGHTCREATURE series. Diana is a cryptozoologist who is desperate to discover an unknown species, to fulfill a promise she made to her late husband. Her quest brings her to the Big Easy in search of the loup-garou werewolves that are reputed to lurk in the swamps. It also brings her to the attention of the brusque and secretive, yet sexy, Adam Ruelle.
I was interested in Crescent Moon mainly because it was set in New Orleans, a city that I love. Unfortunately, it never grabbed me and I ended up setting it aside. My problems with the novel can be boiled down to three main issues: a lack of sense of place, a distracting error about wolf behavior, and too little cohesiveness between scenes.
I’ve been spoiled by a lot of great writing about New Orleans, and I’ve also been there twice. Handeland name-checks some of the major landmarks, but just doesn’t create that I-can-feel-every-percentage-point-of-humidity-through-the-page effect I was looking for.
It threw me out of the story when Diana was being stalked by wolves and concluded that they weren’t natural wolves based on the fact that they had surrounded her from all directions. This, to her, was proof that they had human intelligence and possibly human military training. But … that’s what wolves do?
Finally, Crescent Moon’s story simply felt choppy, with scenes just happening without the setup or in-character logic that would make them make sense. I found myself frequently asking questions like “But why is she going out into the swamps alone right now?” and “But why are they having sex right now?”
I finally gave up, and decided that this 00s paranormal romance was probably best left back in the 00s.