Agent Cooper Dayton is on the worst mission he can imagine. He, and his partner (both in work and life) Oliver Park, are house hunting. With everything that Cooper has gone through he never expected this particular stage of his life to cause him so much angst. The pressure builds until he and Oliver are brought in on a case. They’re called back to help out their former employers the BSI on a case regarding a missing werewolf. This is not just any werewolf, but someone that Oliver locked horns with before. This missing werewolf was last seen at a vacation retreat designed for couples who are struggling in their relationships (owned, run, and made available primarily for werewolves). They make their way down to North Carolina to where the facility is located and meet the people running Maudit Falls Retreat. It doesn’t take long before they realize that something is off. People start disappearing, and Cooper’s behavior begins to change in an almost lupine manner. They then discover people are being murdered while legal arguments are mounting over ownership of the land. Cooper and Oliver have a total of 5 days to solve this mystery, assuming the impending hurricane doesn’t stop them.
The element that makes Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing so strong is the same that existed throughout the first three books of this series, and that is the relationship between Cooper and Oliver. We have seen them grow as individuals and as a couple, and just when I thought there was no more growth they could go through, author Charlie Adhara uses this retreat for their undercover mission as a means for them to dig even deeper into who they are and what makes them tick, especially for Cooper. Through an accident we see something happen to Cooper that has long-lasting repercussions, and he learns something about himself (which is a callback to the third book Thrown to the Wolves) that I hope will surface in the next book.
The other plot element here is the murder mystery. While the previous books had the classic detective murder mystery approach, this feels like an Agatha Christie story. People are dying and your cast of characters is isolated at this retreat due to a hurricane that has hit. Adhara keeps the reader hooked through classic misdirections and character twists. Just when the murder mystery is primarily solved the tone changes to a thrilling adventure story that sees Cooper trying to save the day. When all is said and done, Cooper and Oliver understand each other better, and then something happens that calls back to a previous book leaving this story on a cliffhanger.
I discovered the first three books by accident and was overjoyed by what I had read. Despite being a gay–paranormal–romance-murder mystery, it is by no means what I call a guilty pleasure. This latest book, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (as part of the “Big Bad Wolf” series) is a continuation of the same high-quality writing that was started with the first book The Wolf at the Door, and it has never let up. This is a story that perfectly balances character and plot development, which came as a big surprise given the amount of character development and growth Adhara has already given both Cooper and Oliver.
Lastly, and I’ll loosely quote myself from my review of the first three books, this is gay literature. This means there are numerous sexual moments between Cooper and Oliver, but they only serve to advance both their growth as characters as well as the story. It is steamy, but it is not erotica. Instead, this is a romance novel for people who love reading stories with strong LGBTQ characters, and it is a dazzling murder mystery that will keep readers guessing.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing will be released on March 2, 2020, and can be purchased for the Kindle from Amazon.
Website: Charlie Adhara