Officer Wolf started out as a joke. All of the officers of the 77th originally did, as paranormal police officers with broken psychic talents. As I lined them up—our problematic firestarter, our apportationist who could only teleport fruit, and so on—we ended up with a skim-blood vampire, which begged the inclusion of a werewolf of some sort. So, how to “break” a werewolf? I toyed with different sorts of moon-driven maladies, but they all seemed too silly, and with dietary issues, but didn’t want to repeat the vamp’s issues.
Finally, it hit me. He’s not a werewolf. He is a wolf, and in a subversion of the usual trope where a human is cursed to live as an animal, Officer Wolf was once an actual wolf who has been cursed to live as a human. He shows up here and there in the first three books as a gruff and quiet presence, someone who lends the squad extra strength and speed, but not too much more. When the fourth story, somewhat to my surprise, ended up being his, we needed to know more. (Kind of obvious, right? Silly author.)
To flesh him out as a character, I looked to real wolves for inspiration. What bits of wolfness has he retained besides better than human senses? What’s important to wolves? Food, naturally, and Wolf does have a weakness for it in every respect. Certain territorial instincts. OK, that’s easy enough. But most important of all?
Wolf packs are family. Unlike the old pecking order hierarchy of wolves many of us heard about when we were younger (alpha, beta, omega, yaddah, yaddah), more current biological studies such as those of Gordon Haber show us that wolf packs are family units. Mom and Dad wolf lead the pack, sometimes with a couple of the parents’ siblings still in tow, with the rest of the pack consisting of Mom and Dad’s pups of various ages. Wolves are attentive to the needs of the pack, empathetic and fiercely protective of their families. They’re also good problem solvers and able to learn new tactics for survival. Happily, most of these traits transfer well to police work.
From this it follows that the reticent Officer Wolf we see in the squad room is a different person at home. That he has family to whom he is thoroughly attached and that, as a wolf with a small pack family, he would be on the lookout to increase that family whether he’s actively aware of it or not. He would most likely extend that feeling of pack to co-workers, the loyalty and urge to protect that we’ve seen demonstrated as he throws himself into any fray his squad encounters.
It also follows that Wolf has a soft spot for little ones—human and otherwise. All pack members help with the raising of new cubs, from bringing food to mom while she’s nursing, to bringing food for the little ones when they start to eat meat, and playing nanny when they get older and mom rejoins the hunt.
Gruff and puzzled by humans still? Sure, Alex Wolf is that. But he’s a good son and a good friend, and there’s no one better to have on your side than a wolf.
(Sadly, we lost Gordon Haber in a plane crash in 2009. If you’re interested in Dr. Haber’s research, his website is still up or check out his research in, Among Wolves: Gordon Haber’s Insights into Alaska’s Most Misunderstood Animal.)
An orphaned kitten may be the only witness to romance and the impossible.
Officer Alex Wolf responds to a lot of ‘paranormal’ calls that aren’t. Exotic pet birds aren’t monsters and unusual dog breeds aren’t aliens. It’s a good thing he likes the Animal Control officers, but he both yearns for and dreads those calls where he runs into ACO Jason Shen. Jason’s scent is so delicious that Wolf has a difficult time humaning around him.
Animal Control calls take a disturbing turn, though, when Wolf and his lizard-man partner, Krisk, discover the impossibly mummified bodies of rats and an unfortunate mother cat. The rescue of the cat’s sole surviving kitten not only gives Wolf more time with Jason, which is both perplexing and wonderful, but also leads to dangerous discoveries. Something inconceivable stalks the city and its officers of the law. Wolf has to figure out what it is before it can attack and drain the life from the people and the kitten he loves.
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.