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Bitten by Dan O'Brien

Bitten (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Dan O'Brien

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344329,500 (3.5)2
Authors:Dan O'Brien
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 236 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:paranormal, werewolf, mystery

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Bitten by Dan O'Brien (2010)



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Mystery, suspense, fantasy, romance are the many elements of this story. Some might call it dark fantasy, some might call it horror. But I think the horror never developed for me as I kept thinking of the opening pages – and to me it was a time warp. A time warp never explained or developed and because of that I never really concentrated on the story.
24/90 ( )
  Bettesbooks | Mar 20, 2017 |
Reviewed by: Indera
Book provided by: Publisher
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

Murder, Werewolves, Urban Myths, Small towns, and FBI Agents! A perfect combination for this exciting, thrilling, gory murder mystery with bits and pieces of romance and paranormal!

I did enjoy the actual writing in the book. Author Dan O’Brien uses very descriptive writing. Many times while reading I felt I could just close my eyes and be in the scene and in the moment. It is refreshing to read a good mystery that is exciting and very descriptive. It allows me to connect with each character in the story. Warning, the scenes do tend to be a bit gory and much like a horror movie. There were many times I had to shiver after reading the graphic and colorful writing. I would not recommend this for the sensitive or squeamish type.

The back story is good. It wasn’t the normal werewolf story I normally read. In Bitten there is some back story which shed light regarding many myths concerning werewolves and urban myths. The story put a little twist on the normal werewolf story. I love the twist of what happens to a person bitten by a werewolf. I also like how the stories weaved together. You have a detective investigating mysterious murders and a werewolf that seeks someone of his kind to resurrect his own supernatural race. I did want a bit more of the back story. I expected to learn more about the supernatural and mortal realms (and the new twists) along with more history of the characters and their ancestors.

Among the gory murders and the mutilated bodies author O’Brien finds a way to tie in a bit of a romance. The romance aspect of the book is also enjoyable with Agent Lauren Westlake. She is your no nonsense career driven FBI agent that gets “bit” by a love bug and turns into a young batty eyed girl in love. Many times in the novel she struggles with this persona because she is expected to be a tough and rough detective, but ends up all doe eyed and giddy over her guy Dominic. I think this part of the story was written well. I normally don’t like to read too many stories with a strong independent woman who suddenly falls apart when she falls in love. The author did a good job of giving us romance book lover’s bits and pieces of romance and attraction mixed in with horror, mystery and intrigue.

There were many other strong characters in the book including Sheriff Montgomery and by the end his relationship turns endearing and almost fatherly with Lauren. I loved the characters and their development. Sheriff Montgomery was not keen on having some FBI agent in his territory but as events unfolded he slowly starts to trust agent Westlake. This makes the story believable as most small town folks don’t want outsiders in their town! Another favorite character of mine is the transient bum. Throughout most of the book he is referred to as the vagrant or the transient and is of no use at all. Eventually with the help of Agent Westlake he opens up and ends up assisting in the investigation. Hecate was another memorable character. She plays an important role in finding who or what is killing in the small town of Locke Minnesota. Her twist is she serves as a “Guide for the Mortal Realm” and has a very unique way of helping out with the investigation.

One complaint was the story just ended and left me wanting more with Lauren and Dominic. The ending left me with the impression that Detective Westlake’s adventures will continue (with another “paranormal subject”) so I will look out for another adventure with this quirky FBI agent. I look forward to seeing what other twists Dan O’Brien can come up with for the next paranormal subject. I do recommend this book for those readers that love a good mystery with lots of gore and suspense. ( )
  RtB | Mar 26, 2013 |
Bitten (Lauren Westlake Mysteries #1) by Dan O'Brien
Page Count: 274
Release Date: 16 April, 2012
Publisher: self-published
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

I reviewed O'Brien's The Journey back in July, and while it didn't exactly strike my fancy, I decided to give the author another try with this one. Bitten flows in a slightly different vein, with the same eerie glow, but a more developed plot, cast, and structure that made it way more enjoyable.

The victim toll of brutal, violent murders is rising in the previously quiet and uneventful town of Locke, Minnesota, and federal agent, Lauren Westlake, arrives, determined to find out who—or what—is behind the random slaughters. While she is unfamiliar with small, cold Locke, the town regulars are convinced that there has got to be something beyond government measure responsible for the uncorrelated events... a conviction Lauren, herself, soon painfully discovers.

As far as horror literature goes, O'Brien has a direct, unabashed writing style that is descriptive, shocking, and just detached enough to be highly appropriate for the content conveyed. It is, however, too choppy at times, and the author seems to have a bit of an aversion to contractions, which made Bitten overall a difficult read. Vocabulary- and structure-wise, the book is pretty minimalist, but because of the unclear and unkempt writing, you have to trudge through this one.

The characters are too disinterested and flat for me to have felt anything while reading. While there is a bit of romance, nothing really stirred inside of me because of how unfamiliar I was with the involved parties, even by the end of the book. The poor characterization certainly detracts from my enjoyment of the novel, but its mystery/thriller elements prove that it is primarily plot-driven, which makes up for lack of persona somewhat.

My biggest problem with this book is the stilted dialogue, which branches off of poor characterization and goes hand-in-hand with the contraction-less diction. If the way characters think and talk just doesn't seem realistic to me, there is a 100% chance I will pick it apart. Let me tell you: "I am not sure that it would be the best idea..." is a severely outdated, awkward, and yes, awkwardly outdated, way for anyone to speak in any modern era. Bitten is completely composed of sentences like that, which, if you're like me and enjoy REAL dialogue, may have you tearing your hair out by the roots after a while.

I'm not completely ripping Bitten apart, though. I was impressed with O'Brien's ability to carry out a dark, sensual undertone throughout the entire novel. I couldn't turn one page without a sense of foreboding, of unease, and that kind of effect on a reader is quite an achievement. The aspect of werewolves is fresh, too. Bitten does not have your typical romanticized shapeshifter/alpha-male hero; instead, we've got a creepy, gruesome, and completely uncensored monster roaming about—the original werewolf.

Love: "We let others complicate our lives. We choose to live that way. We choose to include people in our lives."

Pros: Hint of romance // Vividly and gruesomely descriptive // Dark, foreboding mood // Highly thrilling and shocking // Creative incorporation of werewolves

Cons: No contractions found anywhere // Very choppy, difficult style // Unsatisfying ending // Lots of typos // Stiff, unrealistic dialogue // Flat, shallow characters // Slow-moving

Verdict: Aside from the undeveloped cast of characters and disconnected style, Bitten is a promising story that will appeal to lovers of shapeshifters, literary horror—the good ol' blood and guts—and mystery. A decent read, Bitten is a werewolf novel with serious bite!

6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ( )
  stephanieloves | Dec 26, 2012 |
My Thoughts:
This is a completely new and different feel for the werewolf story. It hints at the supernatural and ritualistic from the start and delivers in the end. I enjoyed the characters, but the plot is the driving force. Hecate was an interesting and unexpected touch. Lauren is a strong, driven woman with a sense of purpose and a desire for justice. The language is wonderful, Dan O'Brien is a master at visual description. The story is fast paced and dramatic. I loved the idea of a man who wished to be a monster and a monster who wished to be a man...the story was wonderful. This story has a little bit of everything ~ horror, mystery, romance, thrills, chills, and a bit of supernatural. I hope there are more Lauren Westlake stories to come - I will be looking for them! ( )
  DragonLibrary8 | Mar 17, 2012 |
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