Friday, August 11, 2006

Werewolf, by Peter Rubie

(pb; 1991)

From the back cover:

“Something is prowling the streets of World War II London. It goes hunting during the fires and turmoil of the Blitz when most people are dodging Nazi bombs. But this creature isn't deterred by the destruction or the carnage. As its victims start turning up shredded and gnawed, the East End community of Smiths Common become terrified of what might be preying on them. Only the gypsies will give it a name: werewolf.

“Detective Sergeant George Llewellyn's assignment is to restore order to the chaos of the war, and solve a series of brutal child slayings. A victim of his own abuse, Llewellyn is disturbed by the killings. As the pieces of the case begin to come together, he is forced to confront his own rage and fears, something he must do before he can stop the ravages of war and the beast...”


This intimate gem of a horror novel gripped me from its first word to its last, with its intense focus on character (each character, particularly the leads, read like real, multi-dimensional people), mood – much of it grim, given the death and destruction brought about both by werewolf and German bombs – and violence, which is grisly, while reflecting the personalities of those inflicting it (German bombs notwithstanding).

Memorably great lycanthropic read. If I ever abandon short story writing for novel writing, I hope my work is this intense and character-true.

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