The Last Werewolf
I am shamelessly lifting the synopsis from the publisher’s site (thank you Knopf, please don’t sue):
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but otherwise in the pink of health. The nonstop sex and exercise he’s still getting probably contribute to that, as does his diet: unusual amounts of flesh and blood (at least some from friends and relatives). Jake, of course, is a werewolf, and with the death of his colleague he has now become the only one of his kind. This depresses Jake to the point that he’s been contemplating suicide. Yet there are powerful forces who for very different reasons want—and have the power—to keep Jake alive.
Here is a powerful new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerizing and undeniably sexy, and with moments of violence so elegantly wrought they dazzle rather than repel. But perhaps its most remarkable achievement is to make the reader feel sympathy for a man who can only be described as a monster—and in doing so, remind us what it means to be human.
I love this synopsis, because 1) it’s funny 2) it’s got parentheses and you all know I love me some parentheses and 3) surprise! it’s amazingly accurate. This book is sexy and it’s also elegantly wrought. It’s also a bit gruesome, but hello…werewolf? Kinda hard to avoid that one.
A few favorite passages:
Reader, I ate him. p. 133. This one kills me. Every. Time.
This has been one of the great vampiric contentions, that they constitute a civilisation: They have art, culture, division of labour, political and legal systems. There’s no lycanthropic parallel. The yeehaw explanation is we’re too busy chasing meat’n'pussy, but the truth is the language of the wer is anathema to the wulf. After a few transformations your human self starts to lose interest in books. Reading begins to five you a blood-brown headache, People describe you as laconic. Getting the sentences out feels like a giant impure labour. I’ve heard tell of howlers going decades barely uttering a word.
“Yeah,” I said to Jacqueline, as I lit another Camel, “we’re not great ones for belles-lettres.”
Well, yes. Obviously I, anomalously, still can’t fucking shut up. p. 144
Novelists, notoriously, are always working, eyes and ears open for anything they might be able to use. Ditto werewolves. Not for quirky characters or snippets of dialogue but for murder locations, places that lend themselves to the secret kill. I’d had this stretch of coast – the hundred miles between Monterey and Morro Bay – in the file for years. p. 249. Ah. Good to know my hometown is an ideal spot for werewolf murder.
The writing is practically the perfect combination of snark and beauty (despite with the above-mentioned gruesome). I loved Jake’s warped humor and his moments of introspection. And while the plot itself was at times convoluted and hard to follow, the writing more than made up for it.