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I have two titles up for review possibilities: The Wolfen Strain, a werewolf thriller, and Planet Janitor Custodian of the Stars, a SF adventure/thriller off-planet.

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Seth Anson, a lovelorn forest ranger, never thought that he would shoot the first eligible woman he met after his divorce. Nor did he think that he would fall in love with her after nursing her back to health. But he certainly isn’t prepared to find out that she is the result of a DNA cloning experiment gone horribly wrong and, is in fact, a hybrid wolf/human. To complicate matters, she also has no idea of her true identity.

Seth finds out early on that Melina Salinger is a handful. He mistakenly believes that she suffers from hypertrichosis (werewolf syndrome), and that she has escaped from a care facility. She confesses later that she has been confined in an underground missile silo by her geneticist father, Davis Salinger, and the only thing she knows about everyday life has been gleaned from video movies and television. Now she wants to be a normal girl.

It isn’t easy trying to indoctrinate a woman into society who pants, growls and thinks that Emerald City is a real place somewhere over the rainbow. The ritual shavings and skin maintenance are enough to drive him crazy. Moreover, when she goes into a feverish estrus cycle, sex and passion seem like blunt-force trauma.

Just when Seth thinks he has things under control, Melina becomes deathly ill. Her mysterious father shows up to offer aid, and then shockingly confesses that she carries ancient wolf DNA. After recovering, Melina, shamed and traumatized by this knowledge, becomes suicidal and runs away. Only her father left out the part about her other littermate – a grotesque monster, Romulus, has just broken out of the silo compound. Romulus is bent on finding her for the purpose of mating and will kill anyone who gets in his way.

Seth has to use his skills as a ranger to find Melina in the Wyoming wilderness. He has Romulus out in front of him, the National Guard, the sheriff’s office, a maniac cryptozoologist, and every monster-hunting vigilante in the state hot on his heels. He has to decide if it is guilt that drives him on his quest to find Melina, or that somehow, this wild and beautiful female was destined to be the love of his life.

The Wolfen Strain examines the lurid morality issues that are dealt with in The Island of Doctor Moreau. Yet the predominant theme is that of forbidden love, found in Beauty and the Beast, only with the gender rolls reversed


Captain Zachary Crowe, owner of Planet Janitor, is in love with his busted down Russian ore freighter Shenandoah, and fancies himself an entrepreneur. He’s only been in business for four years, trying to wrangle planetary job assignments that deal with cleaning up the environment and making close solar system jumps to pick up precious ores and space trash. His crew consists of seven less than stellar professionals. Their problem is they’ve destroyed biological ecosystems and habitats through neglect, and incompetence. They’ve had bad press, bad luck, and bad breath…

That’s until the slick vice president of Orion Industries Real Estate Development hires Planet Janitor for a clandestine operation that entails a 26-light-year trip out to a newly found habitable planet in the Tau Ceti system.

Planet Janitor finds out too late that they’ve been suckered into a job that entails disposing of millions of skeletons—a genocidal graveyard. They soon discover what killed this indigenous species and, being ill prepared and unarmed, are caught up in a fever-pitched battle for their lives. They must contend with genetically engineered marsupial lions, drop-shipped on the planet by an alien species. These crew members, who’ve been failures and outcasts all of their lives, transform into a fighting unit that refuses to go quietly into the night. When it appears that they have vanquished the vicious creatures, they are faced with the arrival of the aliens who created these pet animal soldiers…then the real fight begins.

I think this story combines some of the elements of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, with a breathless fight to the finish, along with the inconceivable measures used to survive on a hostile planet that can be likened to the perils of Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The action is gritty and visual, while the characters discover that heroism and self-esteem is a trait that is best achieved via cooperative teamwork, self-worth, sacrifice and love for each other.

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