The premise is Mercy Thompson is a "Walker" (short for Skinwalker) a half-Blackfoot woman that can turn into a coyote at will. Working as a mechanic in the Tri-Cities of Washington State, she is an aggressively normal woman despite having such an oddball heritage as being raised by the Marrok (King) of the Werewolves and briefly being engaged to his son. She holds a 9-5 job, has never killed before the events of the book, and attends church regularly.
The books have a special place in my book shelf and should tell you everything about my opinion that I've read most of them twice. MOON CALLED, I've read about five times. I've also bought the book in physical format, ebook, comic book, and audiobook. What's weird is I probably wouldn't rank the series my favorite of all urban fantasy series. It's just a book series I give high praise for consistency.
What do I mean by consistency? Well, a lot of series I love like The Dresden Files go up and down tremendously in quality. Sometimes I just don't like where the author is taking a work while other times they suffer from power creep. Characters end up becoming the most powerful wizard, Chosen One, King of North America's werewolves, and that doesn't leave much in the way of room for the story to continue. That's not the case with Mercy Thompson and the books are always good even if quite a few of them I wouldn't say are great.
MOON CALLED is a very good book based on the premise of a confused new werewolf wandering into her garage one day, looking for work. He's a subject of a hideous attack that killed his girlfriend and doesn't know what he is. Mercy tries to help him out but this ends up getting her pulled into a complex plot against the Marrok involving local witches and vampires. It also serves as a nifty excuse to introduce the reader to all the quirky oddballs of the Pacific Northwest's supernatural community.
Patricia Briggs has a gift for creating Bunny Ears Lawyers (see TV tropes) and oddballs that reminds me a bit of Twin Peaks, only these characters have fangs and may turn furry during full moons. There's Stephen the vampire who loves Scooby Doo to an obsessive degree, Adam the Vietnam veteran who lived Apocalypse Now only to get turned into a werewolf by his version of Colonel Kurtz, and Samuel the Native American doctor who is too gentle to be a werewolf but tough enough to put down Adam.
The actual plot isn't anything to shake a stick at. There's a lot of twists and turns but the ending reveal shows it was a lot more complicated than it needed to be. I think it was mostly an excuse to introduce the reader to the various factions in the world and that didn't really need six or seven groups working in tandem to help the main "villain" in his plan to save his family. Despite this, it worked enough to achieve the goal of telling a good story.
In conclusion, Moon Called is a good but not great introduction to a series which is still consistently entertaining throughout. If you're looking for a long series to read and enjoy then this is something which is good to try out. Mercy is a great character and a large part of why I enjoy the series is just watching her play off of larger more dangerous predators.
Like a coyote.