About the worst thing I can say about “The Cage,” by A.M. Dellamonica, is that the beginning gave me totally the wrong impression. On my first read, I bounced off the weight given to a story about the bloody murder one Pamela Adolpha, werewolf. I thought this going to be a gory story about werewolves. It’s not.
Jude is an independent contractor, who is approached by Paige Adolpha, sister of Pamela, for help soundproofing her basement. Jude pierces several absurd excuses, until it turns out, through the most convoluted excuse of them all, that Paige needs to hide her nephew, Chase, while he turns into a were-puppy once a month. The cutest, fluffiest were-puppy you ever saw, if you can discount how destructive he is. The tone is light, well sprinkled with chuckles. A pleasant bit of fluff, with just enough peril to keep it from getting too nice.
There is a bit of a gender detection test, which I flunked, despite several obvious clues. Worse, it wasn’t until the third read that I realized that almost everyone in the story is a woman. Except the villains. It all seems utterly normal, which is the point. Eventually, even a lazy reader like me will figure it out. For anyone else who feels dumb about this, the baby is a little clue-impaired himself.
“Dykes to Watch Out For” with a were-puppy, brought to your attention by the Torque Control short story club.
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