“In Sheep's Clothing”
by Lee J. Minter, 2018
Samantha Jackson is an 18-year-old would-be journalist in the tiny town of Harper Creek, SD. Her mom, Gina, is a medical examiner. After a hitchhiker is found murdered, they find themselves dealing with a growing death toll.
Sheriff Alvarez is tasked with investigating a series of murders beyond his ability to understand. Game Warden Smith may be better suited to deal with attacks by a wolf... but who is trained to deal with a wolf that has human DNA?
Added to this mix is Luna Dye, another stranger, not so mysterious, on account of Minter blatantly revealing her supernatural nature. However, she quickly becomes the most interesting and appealing character in the book. She's confident, flirtatious, and quite deadly.
Also in this mix is Solo Chase, a mysterious stranger who opens an antique shop, hires Sam as a cashier, and excites desire in the heart of Gina. But is everything about him as benign as it seems?
Then, at not quite the halfway point, a new revelation is made. There is a devil-worshiping, serial killer on the loose as well!
The plot is good, the characters are well-drawn, and the conclusion is genuinely exciting.
However, much of the writing screams out for editing. Throughout the book, Minter jumps back and forth from the past tense to present tense—sometimes in the same sentence. That gets annoying fast.
The spelling and punctuation could be improved. ASAP is spelled asap (and yes, some people consider that an acceptable alternative) but Minter has ciao spelled chow. Commas are out of place or missing and quotation marks are thrown in haphazardly, like: “Mom she called out.”
There's also a far too frequent use of the passive voice. A line like: “People sitting in lounge chairs were enjoying a soda or two...” would be improved by using the active voice: “People sat in lounge chairs, enjoying a soda or two...”
Problems like these do make the book hard to read. And that's a shame, because the core story is actually pretty good.
Even with all the writing problems, there are good things here. Minter has a number of clever, insightful lines, like: “Elwood took stabs at the processed mash potatoes with his fork stirring the concoction in a liquid that was passing itself off as gravy.”
I also like the descriptions given of some of the minor characters, which really brings them to life—even if they soon vanish and are never seen again. I was particularly impressed with Minter's description of characters like Bill Fielding and the mayor.
While not a bad story, the book could have used a good editor to tighten the writing and maintain consistency.