Shifter Variance (The Outlier Prophecies Book 5) 
by Tina Gower

We are well into actuarial Kate Hale and police detective Becker’s relationship by this book (5 in the series) but they’re only just enjoying the culmination of the dance they’ve been doing between being romantic and Kate fulfilling Becker’s shifter pack needs.

And now that they’ve more or less taken out the anti-fate group, Wyrd, and have a bead on New Karma, and found out about Becker’s genetic background, we are in a holding pattern with Kate disbarred from her work and Becker figuring out how to handle their bond with the addition of a another female shifter from the nearby Turmoil pack with claims on him.

And Kate’s cousin, Ali, doing her usual magic baking, is having her world changed as well by Kate’s relationships.

There’s a lot of what I like in this book: Becker/Kate tension, fate magic through the lens of police work and insurance and probability, lots of delicious Ali baked goods and meddling, and the punning snark of Becker’s partner the Troll-Gremlin, Hank.

But this one didn’t quite measure up to the others for me plot-wise (although Gower does a good job of bringing in new wrinkles every few books or so) as I just got…lost. There was no real, identifiable enemy until late in the game, and the constant theorizing about Wyrd, New Karma, and the Turmoil pack and who was buying shifter blood, and the ripples caused by the possible new member of Becker’s pack…etc. etc… was super confusing for me. I just couldn’t follow it.

Still…it’s an Outlier Prophecy novel, and we’re getting close to what it means that Kate is an outlier herself. Hopefully things will get a bit less muddled and move forward (there’s alot of waiting in this one until the very end) a bit more evenly in the next one.