Liz Jekyll is the Omega wolf-were of pack Beo. An Omega wolf, in Jenny Schwartz' world, is the emotional center of the pack. Liz's grandfather is the leader of the pack and, amid rumors that he will soon designate a replacement, his granddaughter has found herself overrun by beaus. Her most persistent suitor is Brandon Moffat, the only one of the three front-runners who is still single.
Brandon believes Liz's hand in marriage will be the edge that wins him the leadership. Liz isn't interested in marrying Brandon, but is unwilling to hurt his chances by publicly discouraging him. She is also hiding a secret that makes it hard for her to get close to anyone right now.
When Brandon refuses to heed her hints, Liz turns to Carson Erving, an alpha wolf-were and American biologist. Carson has his own secrets that have made him fight his growing attraction to Liz lest he bring her into a dangerous situation. Still, when Liz claims him as her boyfriend, he is all too happy to play along.
Then it is revealed that Liz is harboring Daria Gretsky, the chief witness against human trafficker Andrew Thirkell. Carson, though he is involved in growing gentian, a plant believed to be the key to immortality, puts his plans on hold to protect Liz and ensure Daria is cared for. Once it becomes clear that Liz is a target and one of their own has betrayed the Beo pack, the hunt is on, but will justice or revenge prevail?
Jenny Schwartz writes with a light touch. Her novel is fast paced and the reader comes to know both Carson and Liz. There is also a side story where Albert, the mage who warded Carson and Liz's homes, romances Daria. The antagonist of the story is less well developed, as the reader comes to know him only in broad strokes. He appears to be motivated simply by greed; it would have been nice to gain some more insight into his character. The man gives up a respected position in his community, the support of his peers, and a loving family to become a slave trader. Some insight into his thought process would be nice. Even if his thoughts are something along the line of it's easy money and no one will ever notice, which appears to be how Ms. Schwartz is characterizing him.
A more minor irritant is that the author calls the weres wolf-weres instead of werewolves. She does introduce other types of weres such as leopards in the novel and this appears to be the reason for her odd terminology, but the grammatical inversion is annoying and slows the pace of the novel. This term may also be an attempt to purposefully alienate the reader, in which case it works, but a better way would be to stick with traditional naming schemes. Always make your novel unique in positive ways, such as the Gentian plant that holds the promise of immortality, and the fact that Ms. Schwartz' weres aren't already near immortals.
DOCTOR WOLF is an interesting take on weres that anyone interested in urban fantasy should try. The idea of the Omega wolf as the heart of the pack is a particularly fascinating concept that Ms. Schwartz uses to great advantage in her novel. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=21638#sthash.cRDyIwcn.dpuf
Elizabeth Ramsay is an editor and education writer.