Always Gray in Winter Book Cover Always Gray in Winter
Mark J. Engels
Military, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction
Thurston Howl Publications
August 10, 2017

A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail—tooth and claw—into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water...

Available at Amazon.

Reviewed by Sherry Perkins

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

“One of the corners of his mouth slowly turned upward. Now he saw the path by which he could set his clan’s course right. By which he could set everything right.”—Always

This book has it all: a wheelchair bound CIA operative, anthropomorphism, martial arts, a distant daughter, kimchee, war heroes, scientific experiments gone wrong and family obligation. Besides which, the author is a member of the Furry Writers Guild. What else could you ask for?

“Always Gray in Winter” is a multi-POV action story that—in many ways—reads like a graphic novel and the cover certainly suggests it. However, the multi-POV story structure can be a bit confusing at times. Also confusing is that the story is told in flashback. Flashbacks are fine as plot devices, but I prefer them to be set off in some manner such as a heading, time stamp or similar. Because they were not, I found myself having to reread sections to locate who was talking and where we were. That would have been the only thing more I’d have asked for—a more streamlined read.

The story itself is clever. It involves the evolution of a clan of werecat shifters, and spans multiple countries, continents and generations. “Always Gray in Winter” is an interesting spin on typical shifter stories. Engels’ knowledge of cross-cultural blending, duty stations, military life struggles and the jargon is quite engaging. Plus, the character names are entertaining in a punny way. You’ll like the Dedication too.

“A 3.5-star review of a graphic-like novel about werecats, their generational obligations and why semper paratus really describes what’s going on with this family of military shifters.”