I have to admit that I didn’t finish “Hammered”, the previous book in this series, because it veered off into Canterbury Tales land and I lost interest. This book was a return to the first two books, where the focus of the story is on Atticus and his challenges and commitments.
As this book opens, Coyote helps Atticus fake his own death (because of events in the previous book) in return for a favor. That favor turns out to be two-fold: one thing upfront and one thing that Atticus is tricked into doing. Hence the title. Coyote claims he wants to do something meaningful for his people. He has decided that building renewable energy components and starting up a renewable energy power plant are the way to go. But the tribe needs money to do this, and his solution is that they will first open a gold mine, mine it out, and use the profits to start the renewable energy program. If you are scratching your head here, you’re with me--let’s rip up the environment before doing something meant to preserve it?
Coyote wants Atticus to talk to the Colorado elemental and have it move a large quantity of gold to a specific location that Coyote has already chosen. Oh, and he also wants Atticus to kill two shape-shifters that have been plaguing the area where Coyote intends to start up his mining-renewable energy project. The shape-shifters turn out to be the main problem that Atticus has to solve in this book.
I did like that this book focused more on Atticus and Granueil, his Druid apprentice who is forced to fake her own death as well. Granueil is my favorite character other than Atticus and I hope we get to see more of her in future books. Oberon is still too-smart for a dog, but he’s good comic relief, and he proves his bravery when Atticus’s vampire acquaintance Hal manipulates Atticus into solving a problem with a rival vampire. We also get to hear a bit more about how and when Atticus came to North America. All good stuff.
However, I found the eco-terrorism aspect of this story rather glib and hypocritical. As part of his efforts to persuade the Colorado elemental to move gold to where Coyote wants is, Atticus sabotages the local coal mine. Several times. He rationalizes this by thinking that the corporation has lots of money and it will be just fine for it to lose its operation. Little thought is given to all the middle-class workers that will be out of work; there is a throw-away line about how they can work at the new gold mine that the tribe will be starting, disregarding that it takes months to get a mine up and going. It’s also implied from the storyline that the tribe mining gold was OK economically and environmentally, but coal mining by others was not. My Kindle has lots of “WTF???” whenever this occurs.
Overall, 3 stars. It would easily have been a high four star if the environmental issues had been dealt with in a more thoughtful and intelligent manner.