Review: Big Bad Wolf by Suleikha Snyder


Title: Big Bad Wolf (Third Shift #1)
Author: Suleikha Snyder 
Genre /Tropes: PNR, politics, mafia
Release Date: 26 Jan 2021

Author's links:

My rating: 3 Stars


In 2016, New York became a Sanctuary City for supernaturals...but things quickly spun out of control. Now, Third Shift is an elite team of operatives tasked with exposing the gritty underbelly of New York's criminal-supernatural underworld, taking down the worst of the worst and protecting human- and shifter-kind alike.

Joe Peluso has blood on his hands. But lawyer and psychologist Neha Ahluwalia is determined to help him craft a solid defense...even if she can't defend her own obsession. Because Joe took out those Russian mobsters for good reason--they were responsible for the death of his beloved foster brother. Those six bad guys were part of the ruthless clan of bear shifters who control Brooklyn's Russian mafia, so his vigilante justice has earned him countless enemies in New York's supernatural-controlled underworld, and no friends in a government that now bends to Russia at every turn.

Joe knows that creatures like him only deserve the worst. Darkness. Solitude. Punishment. But meeting Neha makes him feel human for the first time in forever. He's never wanted anything in his life like he wants Neha, and he'll break almost any rule to spend a minute alone with her. But when the Russian mob attacks the jail for payback, Joe and Neha are forced to escape. Before long they're on the run--from monsters who want him dead and from their own traitorous hearts.


This is an intriguing PNR that I read in one sitting. It's action-packed, engaging, with a wonderful cast of supporting characters. Despite enjoying a lot of elements in this story, there are also some things that  didn't work that well for me.

This a paranormal romance set firmly in the politics of present-day America. I found the political messages, which I understand and fully support, to be very heavy handed in the text, very in your face, overshadowing the paranormal and romantic aspects in the story. Quotes from the news is not is not what I am looking for in PNR. 

It's the first book in what shapes to be multi-book series and I felt the world building was very sketchy and was overshadowed by the thriller aspect. I am sad to say at times it read more like a mafia book than a PNR. 

I did like the diversity of the cast, the fast pace and the whole secret operations/team of super soldiers aspect worked very well for me. There was tension and intrigue and humour, a side romance that I very much liked. 

I have mixed feelings about the main romance though. It was steamy and the sexual attraction was off the charts. At the same time, I was not a fan of the danger banging and felt there is not enough substance in Neha and Joe's relationship. It was a fated mates sort of situation though both Neha and Joe very much insisted in entering the relationship on their own free will. Both Joe and Neha acted on their attraction their own, not just being led by some supernatural forces. 

Yet, I didn't understand fully her attraction to him and they kept having the same argument over and over again of him not being good enough/worthy of her. It was repetitive and didn't really show any growth of their relationship beyond the sexual attraction.

I was not bothered by Joe being  grumpy, surly, mostly unrepentant about his past. Giant surly heroes with the softest heart are my catnip. What I was bothered by was his lack of trust in her, no growth in their relationship. 

On the positive side, I absolutely loved the side characters, all of them, Neha's friends/bosses and relative, the whole third Shift crew, they were all great, full-fledged and I can't wait to read more about them. 

Overall, this book was not what I expected and it had both things that worked great for me and things that I found annoying, making it very hard for me to review it. It's very much a YMMV situation, so I would suggest you give it a try if you like high-stakes, fast-paces, PNR with strong political aspect and diverse cast. 

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  1. You really pinpointed what I struggled with. Excellent review!


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