Glen Duncan,
The Last Werewolf
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2011)

Have you had enough of the teeny-bopper novels with hunky werewolves and sexy vampires fighting in the twilight? Would you like a little more "adult" read in this horror genre? Then perhaps you can look no further than The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan.

As the title suggests, main character Jack Marlowe is the last known werewolf. His kind has been hunted down by trophy hunters, vampires and those who simply wish to rid the world, once and for all, of the werewolf plague. He has a few allies who do not wish to see his light extinguished, but they are few and far between. Unfortunately, Jack's will to survive is not as strong as theirs to keep him alive, and he is pretty much ready to give up after living two centuries on the fringe.

As a man, Jack has a lot of guilt on his conscience. He killed his wife and unborn child in the early part of this lifestyle that "chose" him. The first time he transformed was a time he could hardly control the bloodlust of his wolf self. At least vampires get to keep their intellect as monsters. Jack switches from a man of logic to a beast whose only focal points seem to be food and sex -- the latter of which can be a little difficult to satisfy when you are the last werewolf standing. For a long time, for each four-week segments when he lives as a man, Jack has been relatively safe, albeit constantly watched. It is only as a werewolf that his enemies want to take him out -- all for their individual reasons.

The novel initially leads up to when Jack is waiting to transform and quit playing the game. Let his enemies end his tortured existence. But then something happens that changes his mind. Suffice it to say that the book becomes one chase scene after another as Jake doesn't know who always to trust or which way to turn as he attempts to stay ahead of his various pursuers.

I was not familiar with Glen Duncan before I picked up The Last Werewolf, and I find it a little sad that it has taken eight novels for this London-based writer to reach my eyes. On the bright side, this means I have seven titles to choose from since he is a decent storyteller that I am pretty sure I'll enjoy.

The Last Werewolf is a much better story, in my non-teenage-girl opinion, than some of the fluff out there. I much prefer the Underworld and True Blood range of werewolf and vampire rivalries to the Twilight and The Vampire Diaries tales. I think this book is a little more "real" than any of those I just mentioned. In other words, the story is more believable (as much as these creatures are believable). In short, if you like the werewolf genre, Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf is worth checking out. However, be warned that it is a more difficult read than Twilight if that is the level you prefer.

book review by
Wil Owen

31 March 2012

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