Whenever I get tired of checking the bestseller lists on my Kindle book reader for new novels to read — the top of the list has been owned by Hunger Games and Lisbeth Salander ever since I got the thing — I like to try out a few of the cheap e-books. It’s a bit like checking out experimental theater productions: Most of them turn out to not be very good, but sometimes they’re unusual and different enough to get your attention.
I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be fun to blog about a few of these books, and the first one I’d like to tell you about is Shifted, by Colin D. Jones. It’s been a while since I read it, and even at the time, it defied easy explanation, but I’ll try.
First, however, I should point out that even though the main character is a werewolf of sorts, Shifted is not one of those books spawned by the popularity of the Twilight books or the Underworld movies. It’s not even a counterpoint to those storylines. Colin Jones arrives at his werewolf story from a whole different direction.
Or maybe from several different directions. Shifted is kind of a coming-of-age story about a kid who grows up in an abusive environment and discovers that he has a…werewolf, of sorts…inside him, or maybe alongside him, since there’s something about quantum physics and multiple universes. There’s a ghost of sorts too, and secretive government agents, and a little bit about Norse legends.
Jones pulls these elements together from all over the place, and assembles them into a story that — while not exactly a seamless whole — isn’t nearly as messy as it sounds. Jones’s writing style is simple and unpretentious, and the book is a pretty quick read.