Three Men and a Bounty
Siren Publishing [link to buy]
Rating: 1 out of 5 Paddles
Well, partner, what ya got here is a tale of the old west, about three men who find they have a right powerful hankering for each other. As if a menage wasn’t complicated enough, one of the men is a US Marshall, and a former slave. In the post civil war period, that’s a big complication. But wait, the author apparently thought, let’s make it even more complicated. Let’s make one of the other men a shape-shifter, able to take the form of a wolf at will.
There are so many potentially big issues that this story could have addressed, or used to dramatic effect, but most of them get short shrift. James is the black US Marshall, and the oldest of the three men. The racial issue gets brought up often, but when it comes to the other two men, there’s little exploration of how they feel about their attraction to a man of color. This is a constant problem with the story, every issue that should prove a barrier and provide some drama to the story is often simply brushed aside. For more than half the book, we’re told that shifters like Troy, the middle man in the threesome, are feared and hunted down like the animals they become. When Troy decides almost spontaneously to show what he is to his two admirers and shifts into his wolf form, their reaction could easily be summed up as simply, “Cool!” No fear, no suspicion, nothing. Just instant acceptance with few, if any, questions.