Moon Called is the first installment of the The Mercedes Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. This series is an interesting mix of Native American and European folklore and fairytales set in the modern age. This series covers topics like foster care, who an adopted kid’s parents are, gay rights, faith in God, racism, identity, hate crimes, kinds of love, murder, rape, self-loathing, child abuse, the death penalty, and when something is justifiable and when something is not justifiable all in an Urban Fantasy package. The amazing thing is that Briggs manages to do this through her characters, not Other than who the series is about, I have a soft spot for anything that takes place in Washington. Not to mention, it takes place in the Tri-Cities, an area not that far from Maryhill, the exact replica of Stonehenge, and Goldendale (places that I have fond memories of). For me, even though I never lived in the Tri-Cities, it felt a little bit like home.
Mercedes, Mercy to her friends, is a VW mechanic with a degree in history. She is half-Blackfoot and half Anglo. She’s a shape-shifting walker who turns into a coyote even though she was raised by werewolves and works at a shop where her former boss and current friend was a fae who claims to be a Gremlin (even though that was made up in WWI, as Mercy points out throughout the series).
The book starts out with Mac, a fifteen-year old werewolf showing up at Mercy’s garage looking for work. Through various twists and turns she finds out that Mac was kidnapped and sold for drug experiments. She calls her neighbor, Adam Hauptman, who just happens to the Alpha wolf of the area and he takes Mac in. That night Mercy wakes up to voices outside her home, finds Mac dead on her porch, hops the fence and runs to Adam’s house to find that he’s injured and his daughter, Jesse, is missing.
At this point, Mercy drives Adam and Mac’s body to Montana where she was raised to see the head werewolf in America, Bran. There she runs into an old friend who had become ill and was therefore turned into a werewolf. However, as a vet he has found that being a healer and being a predator don’t mix well. This sets up all sorts of questions for later in the series as we grow to understand the wolves more.
Mercy also sees Samuel, her super-dominant doctor ex-flame who happens to be Bran’s son and the reason Mercy left Montana in the first place. When he has helped Adam recover, Samuel returns to the Tri-Cities with Mercy and Adam. They take Adam to the house of Warren, the third-ranking member in Adam’s pack and leave him to finish recuperating there while they try to figure out what happened. Warren may be dominant and Adam’s best friend, but because he is gay other wolves take issue with him and there are some tough topics that get dealt with as a result throughout the series. He is one of the main supporting cast throughout the whole thing and I can’t help but love the old cowboy-turned-werewolf.
Mercy and Samuel find that vampires were involved and call in her friend Stefan Uccello, a powerful vampire in his own right and a great lover of Scooby Doo. He loves the cartoon so much that his VW van is painted like the Mystery Machine and his nickname is “Shaggy”. Mercy even got him a giant Scooby Doo stuffed animal to sit in the passenger seat. Though he has power and is centuries old, he is somewhat the anti-vampire. I love the fact that Briggs didn’t make him a romantic lead (though it’s clear that he cares for Mercy), didn’t make him gothic, and didn’t make him morose. He’s happy, goofy, and fun even though we know that there are hidden depths to and some hints of darkness. Stefan takes Mercy and Samuel to see Marsilia, head of the local vampire seethe.
After things go wrong at the seethe Mercy goes home only to get attacked by three werewolves and more politics between the various magical groups kick off with kidnappings, a shoot out, and mayham all around. This book was a lot of fun and sets the reader up nicely for the emotional entanglements yet to come. Mercy ends the book with rekindled feelings for Samuel, confusion about Adam, and questions all around about whether she really wants to spend her life alone.