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City of Wolves

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  166 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind. A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the late lord’s will is missing, and not everyone wants Drak ...more
Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by (first published January 1st 2016)
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Community Reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Out of’s big lineup of releases for this summer, City of Wolves was one that immediately caught my eye and I’m glad I got a chance to read it. New author Willow Palecek has written an outstandingly well-developed and complete tale in a brisk 100 pages or so, while still managing to leave me salivating for more. I’ve always had a penchant for paranormal Victorian mysteries and detective stories; throw in werewolve
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
A very okay piece of quick fiction, it felt like a beginners effort if I were being completely honest. I wasn't entirely hooked into any part of the story, but pushed to finish it because it was only 96 pages, so why not?

Whatever this was trying to be, whether steampunk, or noir, or some hybrid of gaslight paranormal slash urban fantasy, I'm not sure, but it didn't work. It lacked all the pop on the page that any of those categories require - in short, it was shallow. One might argue that it's i
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
City of Wolves makes a good, quick steampunk/mystery read, but it doesn’t have much depth. It’s competently enough written, but the fact that it zooms along hinders it somewhat from feeling like a fully developed world. I was actually intrigued by the background of the Loyalists and the War of the Wolves, but there was very little solid happening there. It felt like a potential setting for more, with this just being a taster.

It’s enjoyable, and I’d read more set in the same world, but it fails t
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

City of Wolves is a gas lamp noir fantasy, which was serviceable as a light, quick read, but isn’t much else.

The setting for this novella is an alternate nineteenth century England. At least, it appears to be England, though no one ever says that explicitly. Gas lamps, lords, ladies, vicars, cathedrals, and other Victorian-esque things seem to give it away however.

The action begins when a noble’s dead, naked body is found. The corpse is covered with unexplained
City of Wolves was a lot of things and all those things were packed into a swift-moving novella. While I enjoyed this one as, indeed, I did, I also felt that if this was not serving as a prequel- introductory story to something beyond then it fell short. Because I want to give the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to be generous as well as hopeful that there is a whole lot more coming from this fascinating and exciting alternate historical fantasy suspense staring the most impressive, witty, and r ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Written by Willow Palecek
2016; 96 Pages
Genre: fantasy, fiction, novella, steampunk

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)


"Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind. A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the lat
City of Wolves' down-at-heel investigator and first-person narrator, Alexander Drake, doesn't distinguish himself much beyond the many noir and UF protagonists he is reminiscent of. I'd like to have seen a bit more of his background and what makes him tick, aside from his having been on the losing end of the recent civil war.

This short novella's world is intriguing, though, and it's a good match for the mishmash of country-estate mystery and gaslit UF that forms its major plot. It's sketched in
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Françaisv

My English review

I did not know about the book or the author but it’s true that I was curious about the story after such a synopsis. How not to be intrigued? A detective, a different time from ours, a good mystery? I’m always ready for that!

We therefore discover Alexander Drake a detective who is hired in a strangely enough way but also against an important salary. That’s why our hero does not hesitate to accept the survey offered. Indeed, a Noble asks him to find the murde
All Things Urban Fantasy
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-kate
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

CITY OF WOLVES is an enjoyable novella. I loved the main character, the sense of humor, and the world building, but I felt there were some aspects that were unnecessary and distracting, something which is all the more obvious in a novella length piece, where every word counts.

CITY OF WOLVES is described by as "gaslamp, fantasy noir" and it definitely fits those genres.The world that Alexander Drake inhabits in CITY OF WOLVES comes off as rather
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook, own

My review in English: http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot....

Mi reseña en español: http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot....

May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-goal-105
Cool, short murder-mystery-fantasy novella that I picked up on a whim at the library because the cover was cool.

Interesting story, interesting setting, interesting characters.

Looking forward to see if this author comes out with anything else, especially with more of Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it liked it

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: July 2016

ISBN: 9780765387356

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.6/5

Publishers Description: Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind.

Review: This was a short novella mystery set in the Victorian era?? The reviews are all over the place on thi
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like City of Wolves, but it didn’t quite work for me.

I’m not going to rehash the plot, because the description given is accurate. Gaslamp fantasy noir pretty much sums up the mood of the story, too.

The problem I had while I was reading this novella is that I didn’t really feel connected to the main character, Alexander Drake. Granted, this is a novella, and the author doesn’t have a lot of room within the story for either world building or character development. I’ve read other nove
Wayne McCoy
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
'City of Wolves' by Willow Palecek is a pretty decent fantasy novella. The lead is a decent detective, and one I wouldn't mind reading more of.

Alexander Drake is an investigator for hire in a pre-industrial world. He doesn't like to work for the rich, but this is exactly what he is called to do. When the head of a family dies suddenly and violently, he is called in to find out what happened, and, more importantly, to find the missing will. That the man was found naked and wounded outside his bed
Shera (Book Whispers)
**Review copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.**

Hmmm. An interesting short and I believe a fun introduction to what could be a fantastic new series. I did feel that some of the mythology was sketchy. It didn't fully develop the world in a timely fashion. Like letting readers know how much of the paranormal is known and so on. Not to mention what kinds of paranormal is out there.

The short didn't fully sell me on the lead or what I would assume is the cast of characters that would
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
It might've been two, three days ago, no more, that I told a customer at the bookstore where I work, that, in my opinion, a novella published by Tor was as much a stamp of quality as a book being picked up by either HBO or, maybe even more so - I say, and think of the wonderful adaption of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - BBC.
Maybe that's also why I feel almost betrayed (that is a strong word, I know) by City of Wolves...

Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lupenwald, a city resembling 18th century Victorian London is the setting for the murder of Lord Abergreen, The nobleman is found naked in the gardens of his estate. He has apparently fallen from the window of his study and his body is covered in canine-like bite wounds. Enter Alexander Drake. Drake has been hired by Colin Abergreen, his son, to determine the cause of death. Since there is no evidence of a will, by tradition, the majority of the inheritance will pass to Corth Abergreen, the elde ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
I won this novella in a goodreads drawing.

A fun little tale about a private investigator active in an alternative Britain, circa 1700. Pre-industrial revolution, so not really steam punk, more wind up key punk, I guess.

A nobleman is murdered, and the PI investigates, and finds more secrets than he cares to learn.

Almost more of a gaming scenario than a real novel, but still entertaining.
Nadine Paque-Wolkow
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sorry. this just didn't work for me. It was the essence of a good story, but it was to short to do the plot or the characters justice.


Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Full review to come!
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoy novellas and short stories and there was a lot to like in this one; good voice, interesting premise, great descriptions. It is a fantasy mystery and was handled well. It just needed more. Not to be a full length novel, but another 15 - 20 pages would have been great. That being said, I would definitely try more from this author.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not a big fan of the voice/writing
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impulse checked this book out of the library because of the cool art on the cover, and boy did it pay off. I loved this story. Sooooo much fun. Please, Willow, right more and more and more!
Edward Rathke
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A perfectly fun and enjoyable little book. It moves at a constant clip with great momentum. A fun little mystery novella with a roguish kind of Holmes character narrates the tale. Plus there are bits of magic and mythology.

It hints at a full world, but there's not much by way of worldbuilding. A bit thin. Even so, that's not really a bad thing. The novel never slows down long enough to really let you get a look at anything or even think too much about the mystery at hand.

And so I mostly just t
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

City of Wolves is a novella from Willow Palecek. It follows the wonderfully named Alexander Drake, a private investigator swimming in a sea of vice, iniquity and the occasional smidge of magic.

The world of City of Wolves is drawn in carefully minimalist strokes. There’s enough here to engage the reader, and get their mind working, but the prose doesn’t carry any extraneous detail. The narrative occurs in and around Lupenwald, the titular City of Wol
Kelly Martin
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, fiction, mystery
The is a great little story. I hope that she has written other books because I'm looking forward to them.
Amy Mills
Fairly enjoyable, quick read, with a few problems.

The good: it's fairly well-written with a setting that feels realistic (bit of an alternate 1800's Europe, with magic and werewolves). The mystery and its resolution worked well, and the characters, while not as developed as they might have been in a longer work, were largely enjoyable.

My first problem I'd characterize as a minor editing mistake. It came when Drake visited his wizard friend, acted badly, and made an offhand comment about never be
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Review crossposted from Reanne Reads.

This novella (or possibly novelette; it’s only about 100 pages) has an interesting premise. It’s set in what I would guess is some sort of alternate 19th century England. Except no one says England and no English cities are named that I could tell, so it’s a really alternate history. It’s a mystery with a private detective who gets hired to solve the death of a nobleman. And it’s a fantasy, with at least magic and werewolves and probably other stuff not shown
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
***I received an ARC in return for a fair and honest review***

Alexander Drake is a down on his luck private detective. Drunk and in need of a job, he is hired/forced into accepting a nobleman’s proposition to find the murderer of his father. Although Drake has sworn off working for the nobility (too much trouble despite the money), he’s accepts an offer he really couldn’t refuse anyway. And so we begin on a fast paced journey through the fictional city of Lupenwald--complete with werewolves, sha
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