Review: Night of the Wolf: A Werewolf Anthology

By Mike Griffiths

coverGiangregorio, Anthony, ed. Night of the Wolf: A Werewolf Anthology. Living Dead Press (April 23, 2010). 250pp. US $15.99. ISBN-10: 1935458574; ISBN-13: 978-1935458579.

As you may know, Living Dead Press tends to focus most of its efforts on zombie novels and anthologies. However, as long as it involves horror, LDP is not one to shy away from any subject that could scare the flesh off your bones. This book is one such expansion on their part. Night Of The Wolf is an anthology of werewolf stories, written by different authors spread over the gloomy corners of our globe.

The book starts out with “Cute and Furry Full Moon Killers”, a truly odd tale about a werewolf whose blood infects a litter of baby rabbits with lycanthropy. One might expect this to be a comic tale of wererabbits-gone-wild, but no; this story is as bloody as the rest.

Second in the lineup is “The Strength of the Pack”. Natalie finds that being a werewolf comes with more complications that just dodging the authorities after a grizzly kill. When one is part of a pack, as with real wolves, an intricate dance in hierarchy must be observed. As the newest member of this pack, will she find her place before her enemies weed her out?

“The Tri Beast” pushes the envelope, mixing science fiction with the werewolf archetype. Hunted, alone, and without hope, can Sarah somehow survive on this hostile world where nature itself has become her enemy?

Supernatural detective Mike Monroe and his sidekick, the ultra-hot Roxy, star in “Border War”. They quickly discover that even the U.S. Government doesn’t know what to do when a pack of werewolves crosses the border and begins to feast on the Americans in a small, southern Californian town.

In “A Man on the Inside”, the U.S. Government seeks to turn two evils into a positive, by using the werewolf plague to take out a pod of terrorists. Having a werewolf in your midst is never a pleasant thing, but as long as it is ripping through the enemy, the harm seems minimal.

Julian and Harry, a pair of backcountry hikers, discover that some rumours are true, and certain old towns should be left alone, in “One Night in Ashmouth”. This story has a bit of a Lovecraft feel to it and the atmosphere alone could send shivers up your spine.

“The Hairs on Your Head Are Numbered” tells the story of a rural county and its battle to stop the crazed full-moon slayer. Is it a man or a beast? Sheriff Richards doesn’t care – he just wants it dead – but when his own troubled and darkened past becomes entangled with the murders, he might find the werewolf to be the least of his problems.

In “The Captive”, an evil werewolf attempts to terrify a man in order to improve his taste. When this fails to occur easily, the situation evolves into a cat-and-mouse game between the tormentor and his prisoner.

“Motor City Wolf” might be the closest thing to a dark comedy this anthology has to offer. Local Girl Scouts use their training to take down a dangerous werewolf. The results of their choices are most illuminating and quite comic.

Like much of Gaingregorio’s personal work, “By The Light Of The Full Moon” is a non-stop bloodfest. Perhaps the most gruesome story in the book, it doesn’t pull any punches when describing the savagery of the werewolf and the gory results of its rampage.

“The Pack” is a story about three young friends. The author does a good job developing the characters, which only makes things more tragic when they encounter the creatures of the wood.

Can someone escape the curse of the werewolf? Could a pack be left behind? “In Running Wild”, the author experiments with such notions. Jim doesn’t know what his odd dreams mean. He just wants to forget them.

“Upon A Moonlit Night” is an intense tale, perhaps the best within the anthology. When Sandra’s sister and parents are brutally murdered, she is forced to care for her infant niece. However, when the child’s uncle comes calling, claiming that only his family has the ability to care for their own, she is suddenly thrust into a confusing world, where everything she has ever believed has become useless and she will be required to make the hardest decisions of her life.

Next comes “Leader of the Pack”. In this scenario, Jim is not just a werewolf hunter but a werewolf as well. During his search for a marauding member of his kind on the tundra of northern Alaska, he is forced to not only fight his adversary but his own morals and conscience as well.

“Death is Walking” is another creative attempt at the myth of the werewolf. Here we journey back to medieval Europe and follow four warriors as they attempt to rid their world of a werewolf’s curse by more mundane means. This story is action-packed and has quick character development. It stands out as one of the anthology’s better tales.

“Rip and Tear” is another action story. Alexander is a supernatural hunter who has his work cut out for him as he tries to eradicate a whole werewolf pack. Each group tries to outdo the other with surprises and twists. If you like strong action, this one should grab you.

Lastly, we have “Homecoming”. This is a character-driven tale that gives us the werewolf mythology and a few new complications. Surviving this encounter with a werewolf will not be an easy feat.

This anthology is packed with loads of action and horror that should please any type of werewolf fan. Another plus is the great variety of tales. Many of the authors are quite inventive with their stories, so the reader experiences little repetition here.

Drawbacks include some stories that seem a little ‘green’ and could have used a greater polish, though in most cases, this is compensated for by the author’s enthusiasm for the subject. Another thing that put me off was the abundance of silver and some of the implausible ways it showed up. Yes, these are fantastic tales, but things like ambulance fenders that just happen to be made from silver can still remove me from the story and leave me scratching my head.

Overall, there is not a werewolf fan in the world who should not grab a copy of this one. Most horror lovers, in general, will also enjoy this anthology. It takes some work to put together a whole book with just werewolf tales and make each one interesting and unique. Living Dead Press pulled it off here.

You can find Night of the Wolf: A Werewolf Anthology through Amazon.com.