by Glen Duncan – I received this book free via a drawing online and, boy, am I glad I did! The story is centers around Jake Marlowe, a 201-year-old werewolf, after he finds out that he is now the world’s last living werewolf… and the world’s best hunter is coming after him. Marlowe is tired of his life, filled with ennui (in the classic French sense), driven by existential angst to the point where he is ready to die. But there are forces at work to keep him alive, whether he like it or not. By the time he discovers a reason to keep fighting, it may be too late for him.
The novel unfolds as a series of journal entries, although they are much longer and better written than in any journal I’ve ever seen. Perhaps we are to attribute this to the fact that Marlowe was born and raised in a very literate time. He has adapted well to the 21st century and has made the ethical/moral shifts that would probably be necessary to survive a werewolf’s existence. He’s completely unsentimental about what he is and what he does to survive, and he manages to convey what that is like in a way that is both cringe-inducing and fascinating. The killing scenes (and there are many, not all of them by Marlowe) are bloody and brutal, so maybe a bit much for the squeamish among you. They feel utterly real. Icky, but real.
The plot turn in the last half/third is not unexpected, but is still well told. And the ending is logical, if heartbreaking, with room for Duncan to write a sequel, if he chooses.
All in all, a really good, really dark read. Highly recommended for those who like their monsters with depth and intelligence, not so much for those who want them to sparkle. (finished 7/29/2011)