Title: Tortoise Interruptus
Author: JL Merrow
Length: 10,800 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m Pararnormal
Cursed by an impatient witch to turn into a tortoise at inopportune moments, Tip is horrified to find himself tortoise-napped by a customer at the cafe where he works.
Things start to look up when Tip ends up very literally in the capable hands of drop-dead gorgeous Steve — but Tip soon begins to wonder just how far he can trust Steve, who turns out to have a close connection with his kidnapper. Tip’s attempts at a normal life seem doomed to remain frustrated in more ways than one!
I’m not usually a huge fan of shifter stories but this lighthearted tale of poor Tip who, after annoying a bad-tempered witch, is cursed as a tortoise shapeshifter, was a real winner for me. It’s just the exact opposite of the highly emotion-laden usual shifter stories, and I found myself charmed by the hapless Tip who is resigned to his fate.
The setting of the Isle of Wight proved to be a backdrop to the story and managed to blend the busyness of a tourist island with the superstition that can linger in a small community of people. Thus it is that Tip and his family think it nothing unusual that every so often Tip has ‘one of his turns’ and ends up in the garden of the family run cafe, amusing the tourists with his tortoise behaviour and scrounging lettuce. Poor Tip. I did feel a little sorry for him, especially when he is tortoise napped. In fact I struggled a little to contain my laughter at his total indignation at being dropped into a handbag. When he meets Steve things suddenly seem to be on the upturn for Tip, but interfering old ladies, sisters and witches conspire against them at every turn.
As you can probably gather, this was not a book to be taken too seriously. I giggled along with various parts as the author’s witty one liners and comedic situations, coupled with Tip’s very dry sense of humour and narrative voice made this a very amusing read. Tip was a delight, full of very British self-depreciation. Steve is less well defined and my one niggle with the story was that things happened a little too quickly with these guys. Having said that the constraints of the word length meant that there wasn’t time for a lengthy courtship and I was still pleased by the ending which managed to combine a HFN with a last bit of humour.
Overall, this is a great little story. It’s ideal for those who like a healthy dose of humour and are looking for a shifter story which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Great stuff.