by Glen Duncan
This started out with a different tone than I usually see in werewolf novels. More of a crime drama or conspiracy story tone as it's established that with the murder of a werewolf in Berlin, the protagonist is the last of his kind and an organisation that hunts down and kills werewolves will now be focused on him.
This was a very literary read. Despite a few descriptions of violence, the use of language made it a joy to read and the first person pov of the werewolf throughout felt very intimate and personal. I found myself wanting him to survive. It had a few very sexual references. Apparently being a werewolf sends the libido into animal rut. But both the sex and violence stopped short of becoming gratuitous, even if it nudged that parameter on occasion.
There was a lot of suspense well done and a few twists to keep things interesting. The last few chapters had me breathless!
The writing was so good that I went to see what else the author had written and found that this is actually a trilogy! I'll look forward to reading the next books. This was one of those stories that when it ended, I just had to sit a few moments, staring into space while processing the feels. It really had a strong emotional impact on me.
This book started off fairly well, with a man, Owen, trying to come to terms with the death of his sister. This is a horror story, so the horror comes in as outright hallucinations, which honestly isn’t quite as creepy as something more subtle would have been. Some of the initial events seem like a bit of a stretch but make sense in the context of what he’s been going through.
Owen heads out to cottage country to stay in the same rental as his sister and to go diving in the same lake where she drowned, which is apparently a flooded reservoir over the old part of the town. There’s some revelations about his past, some of which seemed pretty obvious (i.e. who his father was) and a not exactly random but not entirely necessary sexual liaison that just seemed kind of weird, especially considering what happened later.
As we progress in the book it seemed like the bad guy or the evil or whatever you want to call it gained more and more power but that power seemed to be applied inconsistently, so it didn’t entirely work for me. I just couldn’t accept the giant hand made of water that showed up out of the blue. I’m not sure whether someone who reads more horror would have liked it better but it just didn’t quite strike the right notes for me.
This book did have a lot of potential, however. I mean, flooded town where people go diving to peruse the ruins is a good, creepy starting point. Overall I’d consider it okay but not great, and I wasn’t discouraged from eventually checking out Ralston’s collection of short stories, which I also have. I mean, it was fun to read a horror story in a middle of nowhere town where you had to drive an hour just to get to the hospital in Peterborough (for reference for non-Canadians, Google tells me Peterborough is 125 km NE of Toronto and 270 km SW of Ottawa, and has a little over 80k people, which is more than I guessed).