A Howler of A Tale
Once again readers are being asked to suspend disbelief about the existence of werewolves and vampires, but in this instance it is well worth giving it another go. The genre has recently been all about teen-lit, but The Last Werewolf is an adult tale of literary mastery. It has it all – the suspense of a thriller, lots of sex, gallons of blood and plenty of dark, dark humour.
Author Glen Duncan studies philosophy and literature and this is evident in the musings of the central character and narrator Jake Marlowe. Jake is presumed to be the last werewolf on Earth and his existential angst is woven through the narrative of this novel. He is a villanous antihero. As a were he is a wealthy, charismatic, erudite and quite frankly, sexy English gentleman. Once a month he becomes wulf, and is unwittingly transformed into a savage nine-foot killing machine with a lust for human flesh.
Despite the fact that Jake is a killer, we sympathise with him as he struggles to come to terms with his nature. In a bitter twist, Jake has ingested the lives and voices of his victims and can never escape their collective conscience. To absolve himself he involves himself with struggles through history, rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany, funding cures for cancer, and chosing victims with discrimination. “Two nights ago I’d eaten a 43 year old hedge fund specialist. I’ve been in a phase of taking the ones no-one wants.”
At 200 years old and counting Jake is over living. He sees no reason to go on until circumstances demand he fight for his life. He is pitted against reeking vampires, vengeful members of WOCOP (World Organisation for Control of Occult Phenomena) and an overindulged heiress with penchant for the macabre.
The novel includes traditional vampire/werewolf lore used in a slightly tongue-in-cheek manner: silver bullets, stakes, immortality and an instinctual animosity between the two species. Spy thriller tactics are employed for Jake to elude his pursuers leading to a suspenseful climax. The Last Werewolf is a part of a trilogy and Talullah Rising is already available. The third installment hasn’t been published yet and quite frankly, I can’t wait.
- Review of The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (thebookstop.wordpress.com)
- ‘Talulla Rising,’ a Novel by Glen Duncan (nytimes.com) (Spoiler alert!)