Picking up Amanda Green's Nocturnal Interlude this week was a bit of a risk for me -- not because I don't read urban fantasy on occasion, but because I'm always leery of jumping into the middle of a series. I'm a completist by nature; I prefer to start with the first book and then move on chronologically from there. But since Amanda asked politely - and since she was nice enough to send me a free review copy - I'm happy, this time, to break from my usual habit. And as it turns out, I didn't really need to read the first two books to understand, at least on a basic level, the universe. It's quite possible I've missed some nuances here and there, but overall, Interlude is a self-contained story friendly to neophytes as well as established fans.
Interlude is equal parts urban fantasy - with shape-shifters and werewolves - and police procedural. The protagonist, Lt. Mackenzie Santos, is a cop who discovered her own shape-shifting abilities very recently but is already perceived by the powerful among her kind as a threat. In this particular novel, her partner - also a shape-shifter - is abducted and tortured as part of a larger conspiracy, and it is up to Mac to track down the kidnappers and discover just who is behind it all.
Other reviewers have already noted this, but I will echo the observation: Amanda makes good use of her supporting characters and, thankfully, seems to have some inside knowledge regarding how police departments work. Mac is not a lone wolf doing whatever she pleases -- a well-worn trope for the crime genre. Instead, Mac takes full advantage of her team, and bucks procedure only after careful reflection -- and only under grave circumstances. I'm no expert, of course, but this feels more realistic to me.
You should be warned, however: This novel ends on one humdinger of a cliff-hanger. As a matter of fact, as soon as I read the last lines, I said to myself, "What? That's it? Noooo." But given what this installment sets up, I fully expect the fourth book to be very interesting indeed.
Final Verdict: Recommended.