He parked in a little neighborhood near the service road. He sat behind the wheel with his eyes shut, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. He told himself that this would pass. He’d track Abend down. He’d “confront” the dagger, whatever that meant. After that, he’d be free to turn himself in or die or … do something to make this stop. Meanwhile, though…. The guilt and horror were like thrashing, ravenous animals in him. Guilt and horror—and grief too. Because he’d lost something precious, something he’d barely known he had: he’d lost his sense of himself as a good person. Even death wouldn’t restore that. Nothing would.
I’m a total fanboy when it comes to Andrew Klavan. I discovered him after he’d become a conservative, but before he became a Christian. I consider him one of the foremost thriller writersª—and one of the best prose stylists—of our time.
Still, although I’ve praised all the books he has written since then (specifically since the Weiss-Bishop novels, which I consider unparalleled) I’ve honestly thought he’s been kind of treading water in recent years, not quite sure where to go with his art.
Who’d have thought he’d hit his next home run with a horror-fantasy book? But Werewolf Cop, complete with its William Castle title, is an amazing reading experience. Klavan has moved in on Dean Koontz’s turf, and he has done the genre proud.
Zach Adams is the hero of the book and the titular werewolf cop. He’s a Texas native relocated to New York City, where he works for a shadowy government police agency called “Extraordinary Crimes.” Along with his partner, “Broadway Joe” Goulart, he’s become a legend and a sort of a celebrity. He has a beautiful wife and a family he loves. But his life isn’t as great as people think it is. He’s worried about his partner, who has come under suspicion for corruption. He’s afraid of being blackmailed by a woman over a mistake he made. And he’s got the murder of a gangster by a mysterious, almost legendary European gangster to solve.
And that’s before he gets mauled by a werewolf.
I could quibble a little about the fantasy element in this story—werewolves here are pure Universal Pictures rather than the genuine folklore article. But Klavan mines that tired movie scenario for amazing psychological—and spiritual—insights. I was riveted from the first page to the last, and deeply moved at the same time.
You should be cautioned: there’s rough language, as in all Klavan’s books, and the gore element is what you’d expect in a werewolf story.
But if you can handle that, and wish to see old material raised to new levels, Werewolf Cop has my highest recommendation.
Lars Walker is the author of several fantasy novels, most recently Death’s Doors.