Title: To Catch His Mate
Author: J.D. Walker
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 123 Pages (Kindle)
At a Glance: In the end, To Catch His Mate fell way short.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Felix Cotter is a top-notch insurance investigator, as well as a beast … of some kind. He has no idea who his real parents are, but when he shifts, Felix has the body of a black panther and the head and paws of a white Bengal tiger. Weird shifter mix aside, Felix is hot on the trail of a thief.
But this thief smells like mate. Felix has never met another creature like him, so he’s not sure what to think of the wet dreams he’s been having ever since he’s been on this case. His adopted father, Ben Cotter, keeps telling him to man up and figure it out, already.
Felix finally comes face to face with burglar Tyler Panterone, a white panther shifter. Tyler is being forced to steal against his will. Now, it’s up to Felix to help Tyler, and then claim the man as his own, for always.
Review: Felix is plagued by a case that seems to have targeted only clients within his own company and a particular type of safe found at each crime scene. Being the company’s key insurance investigator, Felix slowly begins to see the pattern emerge between the safes used by his clients and the thefts that are being perpetrated on those same people. Setting up a sting, he captures the jewel thief only to discover that he is a shifter like himself.
Tyler Panterone has hidden his alter-self forever. Having watched his family be mercilessly hunted down, he barely escaped himself and has been on the move ever since. When he loses his job with the aforementioned safe company, two other furloughed employees confront Tyler in a bar one night and he does a partial shift. Since that time, they have been blackmailing him and forcing him to commit the thefts.
When Felix catches Tyler there is an immediate attraction, and despite the fact that Tyler is part of the thieving gang, Felix understands he is not really to blame. Over the course of the next few weeks, the two work together to discover whom the mastermind is behind all the jobs. Now on the cusp of closing the case, two things happen. The first is Felix’s realization that he is falling in love with Tyler—his mate. The other is that the gentle man who took Felix in so many years ago, when he had been abandoned in the woods, was slowly dying.
To Catch His Mate began fairly well. Despite the repetition of Felix’s backstory at the beginning of the novella, the story moved on and was entertaining. There was definitely an incredible amount of sex right off the bat that I felt at times just did not move the plot along at all. But one could not deny that there was most assuredly a physical attraction between Felix and Tyler. However, as the novel progressed, the story really began to falter, and by the last third of the book, I was just shaking my head at the inconsistencies in the plotline and the lack of connection, other than sex, between the two main characters.
Felix was a very likable guy. His relationship with Ben, his adoptive father, was well written, with Ben being an old curmudgeon who hid the love he had for his son behind a gruff exterior. The scenes between the two played well and were some of the most enjoyable in the book. So imagine my surprise when Ben’s death was almost an afterthought, neatly sandwiched into the novel before it turned to a reunion with Tyler and the refitting of the family farm near the end of the novel. But you see, this was just one in a long line of situations near the end of this story that seemed to be either brushed aside quickly or resolved unbelievably.
Then there was the reunion of the two, which had declarations of love, kissing and mutual hand jobs in the driveway five minutes after Tyler arrives despite the fact that he had seen hide nor hair of Felix in over a year. In fact, it is mentioned that Tyler hitchhiked to Felix’s farm—hitchhiked? Why would you let the man you love languish in prison for eighteen months and then not even be there at his release to offer him a ride? That just blew me away. But the real plot point that clinched it for me was the point in the epilogue, two years later, where Tyler and Felix find a surprise on their porch after they take an evening run together. Suffice it to say I actually groaned and then laughed out loud—it was just that far-fetched and ridiculous.
This novel had great potential. Despite the fact that most of the story was told to us with very little dialogue that was not peppered with kitschy and cloying endearments Felix often used for Tyler, the bones of a good story was there. I grant you we have no idea where the hybrid shifter that Felix turned out to be ever came from, but we did get some good past details on Tyler and his lost family. And while Felix seemed to have a great deal of power as just an investigator, the mystery element was decently written but unraveled way too quickly. Still, despite these minor problems, this novella had good bones until the author simply derailed the entire thing by weaving one confusing and unbelievable detail after another into the plot near the end of the story.
In the end, To Catch His Mate fell way short. Too much sex, too little plot and some absurd details that were included just to force a happy ever after caused this story to fall apart in the end.
You can buy To Catch His Mate here: