by Nicholas Pekearo
I picked up the novel The Wolfman by almost a preternatural sense. I was in my neighborhood public library (which is one of the largest braches in the city) and amongst the books on the last bookshelf I just walk right to it. I had not been scanning the shelves looking for something to read; in fact I had just finished looking in the movie rentals section. I turned around and walked right to it. I felt like I was supposed to read it.
The debut novel from Nicholas Pekearo reads like it was written by a man with several works under his name. From the start I could not put this book down. It is hard for me as a reviewer to critique this book because in doing so I do not want to reveal integral parts of the story that should only be revealed to the reader. From the title you can ascertain this novel is about a wolf and a man and that at some point the two will overlap. Marlowe is the man and the wolf is his curse. The Wolfman takes the werewolf genre we are used to and turns it on its ear. There are many of the familiar markings of traditional werewolf lore, however, there is much gratification that comes from Marlowe’s individual ordeal with the subject matter we are so familiar with. The character is a returning war Veteran that is dealt a bad hand in life on so many levels. He thinks he has just escaped the worse fate that can befall a man but unbeknownst to him he brings back more than post traumatic stress.
Marlowe is so troubled by what he becomes once a month that he moves around often, never making friends and causing destruction wherever he is. His running stops when he finds his way to Evelyn, a small southern town where he happens to forge a bond with policeman Danny Pearce. From there Pekearo takes the story along at an accelerated pace, only pausing to give vivid, descriptive detail to people and places, as be bounces Marlowe between various places and time. The story is gritty, violent, terrifying and yet quite humorous at times. The character is highly complex and melds average good guy, hero and executioner all in one. Marlowe has chosen to take a path of righteousness, as much as a werewolf can, and punish the guilty that may otherwise never face judgment they most assuredly deserve. From town to town he and the wolf exact their own unique justice in chilling fashion.
Although he is always on edge and tirelessly wonders what he might do while in wolf form, his problems soon take a backseat to another killer that materializes in the small town. The papers and media have coined the psychotic serial murderer “The Rose Killer” as he goes cross country leaving young female victims brutally raped and murdered. The killer is untouchable and the local police and FBI seem to be unable to stop him. As Marlowe and his friend officer Pearce try to solve the murders, the killer begins to mercilessly toy with them by increasing the frequency of his kills.
There is not very much wrong with The Wolfman. In some instances Pekearo tends to overly paint a picture by repetitive description that I assume may be a problem for readers that are impatient. For me I like detail and details he gives. Some moments of the novel fail to give the reader credit for intelligence but that does not in any way take away from the heat of the novel. It is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time and it was a bonus that the content was horror related. The Wolfman is well worth the read and was supposed to be the first in a series. However due to a horrific tragedy that may never be. The book should be available at your public library or can be purchased from various online bookstores.