For some reason I cannot understand, it seems as if there are not very many werewolf novels coming out recently. I have always been captivated by werewolves and think that they make great monsters for horror novels but writers seem to almost shy away from them. I was happy to get a copy of “Blood and Rain,” and upcoming novel from Glenn Rolfe, and was hoping that this werewolf story would slake my thirst for more of this mythical and terrifying creature.
Gilson Creek, Maine, is a quiet town. It could even be said that this sleepy town is the perfect place to raise a family. It is idyllic on the surface and summer comes in with the promise of freedom from school and the inviting waters of Emerson Lake. Life in the small town should be perfect. But like every town, Gilson Creek has a secret lurking beneath the pristine veneer that it shows to the world. Unlike other towns, the secret that Gilson Creek hides is deadly and the devil has come to take his due in the nights that follow the sleepy summer days.
Sheriff Joe Fischer has faced down the terror that now stalks the town eight years earlier and thought that he had stopped it once and for all. He is soon to learn how terribly mistaken he was. Caught up in a web of paranoia that sweeps the town as the monster hunts during the full moon, Fischer must come to face the fact that the killer has once more returned to terrorize the small town. Gilson Creek is the home to a monster straight out of the darkest recesses of the human mind. This is no ordinary killer. The werewolf has returned to Gilson Creek and Fischer will need all of his skill, knowledge, and luck to ensure that the town can survive the night.
I had read a couple novellas by Rolfe in the past year, “Boom Town” and “Abram’s Bridge,” and was curious to see what a longer story by him would be like and I have to say that I was not disappointed at all. I mentioned the dearth of werewolf stories and it seems like the few that there were are the brooding type of werewolf who is more of a lover than a fighter. That is not the case at all in “Blood and Rain.” Much like the monster he is writing about, Rolfe attacks the story and with a ferociousness that rivals the wolf. He plants the seed of terror with the opening chapter and then waters it generously in blood as the story grows toward it final, violent end. This is not a horror story for the weak of heart but one that goes directly for the heart and does not let up. “Blood and Rain” is the story of a monster and Rolfe never lets the reader forget why the werewolf is a monster.
While “Blood and Rain” is fast paced and full of werewolf action, the thing that makes the novel more than just a slaughter-fest is that Rolfe is able to craft characters that are both believable and whom the reader can relate with. It is easy to care for the plight of Fischer and his daughter as well as his blossoming love interest. Even more impressive is that the smaller characters have substance as well so that their loss (most of them are fodder for the beast) is felt by the reader. The werewolf is an alpha monster but even the beast has a bit of a backstory. It is obvious that there was a lot of thought put into this novel as Rolfe has rounded almost all of the storytelling edges in this one. There were few times during the book when I became aware of actually reading the story rather than getting lost in the tale. “Blood and Rain” is definitely a contender to be the best horror novel of the year.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Blood and Rain” is scheduled to be released in October.