Blind Man's Wolf by Amelia Faulkner (Tooth & Claw #1)

A night-blind vampire. A werewolf with lousy self-confidence. And a whole hell of a lot of danger...

Ellis O'Neill is an art dealer with too many problems: his eyesight has deteriorated to the point of night-blindness; he's estranged from his family, to whom he owes a considerable sum of money; and his guide dog went right off him the night Ellis died. Without his dog, Ellis is trapped in a life bouncing between home and work, dependent on his personal assistant.

 Werewolf Randall Carter has problems of his own. He loves his pack, he really does, but as their Omega he's always the one to bear the brunt of their rage. It's a role he can't avoid, and Randall isn't sure he can take it for much longer, so he buries himself in his day job. Randall's the best dog trainer in the city, and when he's offered a client who needs him to work evenings he'd be a fool to turn it down.

 Soon Randall is falling for someone he should despise. Everything about the undead is anathema to his kind, but Ellis is exactly the kind of guy Randall would want to ask out on a date - if he were still breathing. Worse, they may not have too long to figure their feelings out. Someone or something is gunning for Ellis and anyone else who gets in the way; they won't rest until the vampire is destroyed.

COVER ARTIST: Amelia Faulkner (design)
PUBLISHER: Amelia Faulkner
YEAR: 2014
LENGTH: 206 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s).

*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book. 

As the first book in the series, BLIND MAN'S WOLF has a self-contained story which revolves around the mystery of why Ellis’s guide dog is misbehaving. It turns out this issue and its resolution are more complicated than anticipated, but what's not (very) complicated is how much Randall and Ellis want to get into each other's pants. It establishes Ellis, Randall, Jay, and Han as characters, and gets Randall and Ellis together in short order. 

Ellis is a vampire who was in the process of going blind before he was turned, now he’s stuck with enough vision to be bothered by bright light but not enough to actually use most of the time without much effort and pain. I especially like the worldbuilding as it relates to his vision loss intersecting with vampiric healing powers. The idea that vampire regeneration keeps him in a homeostasis works for avoiding any kind of magical cure narrative. He's trapped in his general physical condition at the moment when he was turned, so he'll heal to reset to that point, but becoming a vampire didn't restore his vision to before RP started affecting him.

I’m very pleased with how Randall's Omega status is handled, since wolves don’t actually do that bullshit, but humans who turn into wolves and have heard that’s what wolves do absolutely would replicate it. Even though Randall doesn’t spend very much time with his pack in the story, the little that shown makes it very clear that some abusive and fucked up things are going on. The pack members justify their bullying by claiming their wolf instincts require it. But, either coincidentally or intentionally, ending up relentlessly bullying Randall, the only Pack member who is Black. Meeting with Pack members twice in such a short narrative made it seem like they were going to play more of a role in this particular book than they actually did. 

This is a good start and I'm interested in where it goes next, I like these characters and want to read more about them.

Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content.

Moderate CW for bullying, racism, ableism, blood, injury detail, violence, cannibalism, murder, death.

Minor CW for homophobia.

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A white man in dark glasses and a beard of stubble is next to a Black man in a white shirt. Between them is a silhouette of a howling wolf against the moon


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