Of Claws and Fangs, by Faith Hunter is an essential read for her fans. It fill in gaps in between stories in both the Jane Yellowrock and Nell Ingram worlds. I have read most of these stories, but I’d forgotten the details enough that it was like new reading them again. To see what I mean, read this excerpt from How Occam Got His Name.
How Occam Got His Name
First appeared as a serial short, as part of a blog tour in 2018. It is written from the point of view of Occam and answers fan questions about the origins of the were-leopard special agent.
“’Em’s the biggest bobcat prints I ever seen,” Wayman said.
Trace knelt, his .30-06 pointing at the sky, and angled the flashlight to see better. He held his hand, fingers spread, over the paw print. “They’re bigger ’an my hand.”
“I hope we see it.” Wayman knelt beside him, his blue jeans appearing in the circle of light. “Maybe we should come back with a raccoon trap and catch him.”
“I think this bobcat would eat us for dinner and still be hongry.”
“Nah,” Wayman said. “We’ll jist wave our arms and jump up and down and yell a lot. My daddy says my voice is so high that it’d scare off the devil hisself.”
Trace had to agree with that. At the Halloween carnival last year, when a zombie clown popped up in front of them, Wayman screamed so high the guy in the clown suit ran. It hurt everybody’s ears but it was so funny nobody cared. “I don’t know, Wayman. Something about the prints bothers me. They’re too big.”
“Maybe one a’ your daddy’s demon sermons is scaring you. Trust me, Trace.” Wayman shined his flashlight into Trace’s face and backed away. “Demons ain’t got paws and claws.”
Trace threw up the hand holding the shotgun. “Stop that. I can’t see jack, now.”
“Can’t see Jill neither.” Wayman laughed and ran into the night, yelling, “Come on. The meteor shower starting around midnight.”
“Idiot! Wayman, wait! I can’t see!”
Wayman’s laughter trailed away into the dark.
“Idiot. Idiot!” Trace shouted into the night. “Where are you?” And he said a worse word but too soft for Wayman to hear. His daddy’d beat his butt if he ever heard about it. And Wayman had a big mouth.
Daddy was a traveling preacher, and after they’d been kicked out of Alabama for reasons he had never heard explained, they’d settled in Texas, with four Texas churches in Dickens, Ralls, Crosbyton, and Spur. Daddy and Mama parked their RV in a different town every weekend, leading hellfire-and-damnation services in homes or small churches or empty storefronts, meeting all day, every Sunday, with an occasional fourth Sunday off, and every fifth Sunday off. Those were the weekends his daddy stayed fighting drunk or passed-out drunk.
They didn’t stay anywhere long, except Dickens, where they rented a small furnished house with a root cellar. It came with real beds, which was a nice change. It even had a window unit air conditioner to keep the place sorta cool. Trace liked Dickens, and he liked Wayman. Making friends was hard for the son of a plastered pickled preacher man—which is what he’d heard his daddy called once. Friends had been scarce most all his life. But Wayman was his best buddy. Wayman played pranks on him just like he played on everyone, treating him no different—like blinding him with a flashlight and then running into the night.
“Wayman!” Trace shouted. “Blast it all! Where’d you run off to?” His vision was clearing from the spots cast by the flashlight-to-the-face joke by Wayman, but not fast enough. He’d have to follow the footprints in the sandy bottom of the wash—Wayman’s and the bobcat’s. The cat had been this way several times, the prints overlapping one another. Bobcats were generally more scared of humans than humans were of them. But this one was bigger than normal. Way bigger than normal. “Wayman!”
This was a fourth Sunday, and he and Wayman had gone into the hills to camp and watch the meteor shower. And hide from his daddy’s fists and his drunken sermonizing, and from Wayman’s mama’s boyfriend who was a little too friendly for Wayman’s comfort level.
From up ahead, Wayman squealed his little-girl squeal, and Trace at least figured out what general direction his friend had run off to. “Stupid idiot.” Trace trudged along the wash, casting the occasional glances up into the night sky and the millions of stars that city folk never saw. No meteors yet.
“Over here, you ass crack!” Wayman shouted.
“We’ll never get back to the tent and the wagon and the bikes,” Trace shouted as he trudged around the small hill. “And there ain’t even a path to the top. You ever heard of rattlesnakes?”
From the side of the wash, Trace heard a whistling sound and a rough vibration, kinda like a purr, like a housecat would make. A huge housecat. Probably the maker of the bobcat prints. Biggest he’d ever seen.
About Faith Hunter and Fangs and Claws
New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter presents a stunning collection of stories from the world of shape-shifting vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock and beyond.
Collected together for the first time, this volume contains shorter works featuring heroines Jane Yellowrock and Nell Ingram, as well as a host of other characters from the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series. Faith Hunter is “an expert at creating worlds filled with intriguing supernatural elements and exciting scenarios”* and her skills are on full display in this collection. From a vampire-filled Halloween evening in New Orleans to the searing tale of how a certain were-leopard first got his spots, this collection has something for everyone, and each story is sure to put the super in supernatural.
With eighteen stories in all, Of Claws and Fangs will enrich and entertain—it’s a must-have for Faith Hunter’s readers and all lovers of fantasy.
Of Claws and Fangs by Faith Hunter: Preorder links
Tour-wide Giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway
There’s a tour-wide giveaway open to US residents!
- 2 winners will receive a limited-edition leather Soulwood bracelet
- 1 winner will receive their choice of a $50 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble