“If she tried anything, she would be sorry. Adam was mine. She had thrown him away, thrown Jesse away—and I had snatched them up. Finders keepers.”
Night Broken is the eighth book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson series. When we first met Mercy back in Moon Called, Adam was her hot werewolf neighbor, broken up about his recent divorce. Now Adam and Mercy are married, but Adam’s ex-wife, Christy, is back in the picture. When Christy calls in a panic about being stalked by a one-night stand, Adam and Mercy agree to take her into their home and protect her, even knowing the trouble she will bring. Mercy has never been popular with the pack, whereas Christy was beloved, and a skilled emotional manipulator to boot. Meanwhile, the Fae are stilled holed up in their reservations, but some of them are quietly moving about in the human world, and they aren’t above causing Mercy trouble. And there’s nothing Coyote likes more than trouble.
The plot description for this installment smelled like drama, and I was wary going in, but I really should trust Patricia Briggs by now. She handles interpersonal relationships, even tense ones, extremely well. Christy is more manipulator than seductress, and she seems to want the safe home and happy life she had with Adam back, as much, or more, than she wants Adam himself. Christy’s antics were infuriating, but even when she managed to get to Adam in some way, he and Mercy still kept their heads and didn’t get into any ridiculous fights. It can be hard for a writer to maintain the tension of a romantic relationship after she’s married the characters off, but Christy challenges Adam and Mercy’s relationship not by causing whiney drama between them, but by complicating their relationship with the pack. It’s hard to watch this setback, since Mercy finally seemed to be gaining some ground, but she mostly manages to take the highroad without being unbelievably saint-like. She has uncharitable thoughts, and insecurities, but she doesn’t dissolve into an angsty pile of slop.
Briggs has created a vast cast of characters over the years, and it takes a lot of skill to stage manage them all. It’s hard, but necessary, to set some characters aside if they don’t have a role to play in this particular story. Some favourites, like Ben and Bran, barely make an appearance, but we get a bit of a glimpse of what is going on with Stefan, plus a telling moment in Warren and Kyle’s relationship. The best character development in this installment comes for Tad, and especially Honey, who is coping with the aftermath of her mate’s death, and what that means for her status in the pack. We’re also introduced to Gary Laughingdog, another walker, and meet Alistair Beauclaire, the Gray Lord who orchestrated the Fae retreat to the reservations. Some old questions are answered, and new dangling threads are exposed, so that, as always, Patricia Briggs leaves me wanting more, and preferably now rather than sometime next year.