I’d like to sleep late—boy, do I love sleeping late—but Beemer won’t let me sleep any later than he does, the big bully. He’s marching on my head and yowling, so I feed him some cat kibble, eat breakfast as I flip through the news, and go for a run.
It’s not like I need to go for a run, but it’s a good way to see the neighborhood and make sure all is well. I like to keep an eye on the city. Also, werewolves like speed—driving fast, sailing, even running in human form.
I shower, then get into my pickup, which is awesome, and go for second breakfast. The Fangborn would give Hobbits a run for their money, eating like we do—it takes a lot of calories to keep a vampire or werewolf going. But Hobbits don’t exist; vampires and werewolves and oracles do. Just sayin’.
I drive down to the breakfast joint where all the Salem cops hang out. I’m not a cop any longer, and yeah, I know they got an allergy to PI’s, but I still have friends on the force who know I might be able to handle the cases they can’t, off the record. They just have no idea how far off the record me and my people can go.
There’s no reticence about sharing the case today: A kid’s gone missing.
My people, the Fangborn are big on protecting humans and going after the bad guys, and before you ask, no my sister Claudia loves the sunlight, which helps vampires heal themselves and others. She doesn’t drink blood, I don’t attack people unless they really need it. Don’t believe the folklore or the movies; it’s all about eradicating evil. The Change is not a bone-wrecking curse, but an incentive to get on the job—it’s just about the best, most exhilarating thing in the world.
I get the trail of a missing kid straight off—my nose works way better than any human’s. But after the first cast about, I don’t even need my keen sense of smell to track him down. I think like a kid. Sure the cops checked his grandmother’s house, straight off, but she’s on a cruise. What they didn’t do was look under the covers on the deck furniture out back, where he curled up to keep warm and fell asleep. Tears all around and a happy reunion. The officer on the case offers to buy me a beer later. I can hardly tell him how easy it was for me, that I didn’t even need to Change to my wolf-man or full wolf form, so I say, sure, anytime.
Score one for the good guys.
I reward myself with a giant lunch and check my business messages—nothing officially doing—then check the Family email. Sometimes there’s business, sometimes not, but for some reason today, all the oracles are squawking. The problem with oracles is that some of them can see into the future, but no one ever finds out how to interpret what they see. What’s the point of knowing something’s up, if you don’t know what, or where, or when? Give me the simple life of a werewolf, which comes down to tracking and tearing. Apart from hiding in plain sight from Normal humans, and concealing our lives and actions with cover jobs, it’s a walk in the park.
A couple hours later, I’m thinking about that beer, and a burger, to keep me until dinner when Claudia calls. She says there’s a kerfuffle about a stray—excuse me. Claudia would never say “stray.” The formal term is “an un-acculturated pack-sister,” and Claudia’s nothing if not formal, even when she’s not head-shrinking someone. It means there’s a female werewolf who hasn’t been raised by the Family, who’s wandering around, maybe not even knowing what she is. I’ve seen this, once or twice; I shiver under the warm spring sun to remember it. All that power, and not knowing what you are, or how to use it? Being alone, away from the Family is the worst thing I can imagine. I get the deets from Claudia: a name—Zoe Miller, she’s young, in her twenties, just a kid, and…an archaeologist? Whatever. She lives near us, so picking her up shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll get it straightened out. We’ll pick her up, train her, and then we’ll have another warrior on our side in the fight against evil.
Then I frown; looks like a lot of Family, and not just local, are looking for this Zoe. It sounds big, and it sounds political, and I don’t like trouble within the Family.
So I postpone the beer and order the burger to go. I don’t think this is just another missing kid case.
You can read more about Gerry in Seven Kinds of Hell , the first book in the “Fangborn” trilogy.
Meet the author
Whether writing noir, historical fiction, urban fantasy, thriller, or traditional mystery, Dana Cameron draws from her expertise in archaeology. Her fiction (including several Fangborn stories) has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards and earned an Edgar Award nomination. The first of three novels set in the Fangborn ‘verse, Seven Kinds of Hell (47North) is now available. Dana lives in Massachusetts with her husband and benevolent feline overlords. Visit Dana at www.danacameron.com
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.