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The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo

The Wolfman (2008)

by Nicholas Pekearo

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If Stacia Kane's and Richard Kadrey's books got together and had babies, The Wolfman would be a product of that union. So gleefully dark, unrepentantly hard ass, The Wolfman is not your mama's werewolf.

Marlowe Higgins is straight up don't give a fuck material. His life is hard because well, serving in Vietnam and then becoming a werewolf just makes even the simple things more than a little difficult.

After having been on the road for years, Marlowe finally settles down in a small town. He gets a job as short-order cook at a diner, lives in a crappy house that was once owned by the town cat lady at the edge of town, and drives a truck that often has to be cursed at in order to bring it to life. He's also, somehow, become a kind of friend of the local sheriff. This is what is normal for Marlowe.

What's also normal is that once a month, Marlowe turns into a werewolf and kills. But this is not the werewolf story any of us grew up on. Marlowe's condition didn't come from a bite, and in a way, he's made peace with his beast and lets it loose only on people who "deserve" it. Until the serial killer comes to town and it all goes sideways.

As the pieces fall together, we also learn the story of how Marlowe became a werewolf, what it means to be a werewolf, and how one dies. All of these bits are original and creative. Nicholas Pekearo takes what we think we know about werewolves and turns it upside down.

I loved this book and read it in almost one sitting. I would give it at least 4.5 stars but for the fact that I had the bad guy figured out from about the second paragraph he was introduced. "Nah," I kept thinking, "that's so obvious, it's got to be someone else." This does not, however, detract much from what a lot of fun this book is to read.

Unfortunately, what could easily have become a series of Marlowe Higgins adventures will not come to pass. At least not with Nicholas Pekearo writing the stories. He was a volunteer with NYPD and was shot in the line of duty. The kevlar vest he paid for himself only stopped one of the bullets fired at him.

If you like grim, gritty urban fantasy with creative remaking of the established mythos, settle in for a good time with Nicholas Pekearo's The Wolfman. ( )
  AuntieClio | Sep 19, 2014 |
This was an interesting book, a very good read, about a werewolf. In an interesting twist, the man who is a werewolf does not remember what occurs on the night of a full moon, absorbs memories & habits of those the wolf kills, and directs the wolf towards targets that deserve to die.

Mr Pekearo wrote with humor and the characters are compelling. It is a shame that he died, as it would have been very interesting to learn more about the main character and his life before and after the events in the book. ( )
  cmwilson101 | Dec 25, 2009 |
Nicholas Pekearo’s debut novel, The Wolfman, breathes new life into one of the horror genre’s legendary characters, the werewolf, amazingly enough turning the monster into the sympathetic hero of the story. Sadly, it has to be mentioned that Mr. Pekearo lost his life while patrolling as an unarmed volunteer policeman in New York before publication of The Wolfman and that his hopes of turning this book into a series died with him.

Marlowe Higgins, a Viet Nam vet with a tainted military discharge, did not inherit much from his father. But unfortunately for Higgins, he did not come away completely empty-handed. Instead, upon his father’s passing Higgins found himself burdened by a curse that originated with his great-great-grandfather, one that turns him into a killing machine with the appearance of each month’s full moon.

To his credit, Marlowe is a man with a conscious and, for a time, he fought the monthly transition from human to werewolf with a determination that caused him tremendous physical and psychological pain. But, try as he might to avoid it, he was forced to make a kill each month, so he found a way to ease his feelings of guilt by killing only those who deserved to die, murderers and criminals who preyed on those weaker than themselves, especially those who targeted women and children.

If Marlowe wanted to stay under the radar of law enforcement authorities, he knew that had to live a drifter’s life, something he did until taking a break from the road and settling into the little town of Evelyn where he worked as a short-order cook. For the first time since returning from Viet Nam, Marlowe lived what passed for a relatively normal existence despite the curse which continued to plague him. But, sooner or later, all good things manage to come to an end. That end came for Marlowe’s lifestyle when a serial killer, who was to be known as the Rose Killer because of his habit of replacing the eyeballs of his victims with roses, came to Evelyn and decided to stay for a while.

The Wolfman so skillfully walks that fine line between reality and fantasy that Pekearo is able to transform a werewolf not only into a sympathetic character, but into a thoroughly believable one. The story is set in the dark little world of Evelyn, a town desperately in need of the protection of a superhero, if there ever was one, and one peopled by characters who would be right at home in the shadows and alleyways of the big city. Pekearo has skillfully combined the elements of several genres in a way that ensures the novel’s appeal to fans of each of them: horror, detective fiction, thriller, and American noire.

The book’s weak point is the relative ease with which most readers will determine the identity of the Rose Killer long before Marlowe manages it, something that diminishes some of the novel’s tension level. But in a novel that is as much fun as The Wolfman that is an easy thing to forgive.

Rated at: 4.0 ( )
  SamSattler | Aug 31, 2008 |
This book reminded me a lot of Fingerman's Bottomfeeder, which features another supernatural (but never ever glamorous) working-class monster. The main characters are regular guys who become monsters, and yet are decent people, though sometimes unlikeable.

The Wolfman is a crime novel, but the whodunit was less of a mystery to me than the question of how the protagonist became what he is. That was a much bigger revelation, IMO.

It is a real shame that the author's life was cut short. The circumstances were tragic, and a writer of great potential was lost to us all. ( )
  saltypepper | Aug 13, 2008 |
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Book description
Marlowe Higgins, an ex-Vietnam veteran and aimless drifter who kills on every full moon, finds a way to use his curse to help people and eventually discovers another killer in his neighborhood.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765320266, Hardcover)

Marlowe Higgins has had a hard life. Since being dishonorably discharged after a tour in Vietnam, he's been in and out of prison, moving from town to town, going wherever the wind takes him. He can’t stay in one place too long--every full moon he kills someone.

Marlowe Higgins is a werewolf. For years he struggled with his affliction, until he found a way to use this unfortunate curse for good--he only kills really bad people. 

Settling at last in the small town of Evelyn, Higgins works at a local restaurant and even has a friend, Daniel Pearce, one of Evelyn's two police detectives.

One night everything changes. It turns out Marlowe Higgins isn’t the only monster lurking in the area. A fiendish serial killer, known as the Rose Killer, is brutally murdering young girls all around the county. Higgins targets the killer as his next victim, but on the night of the full moon, things go drastically wrong. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Marlowe Higgins has had a hard life. Since being dishonorably discharged after a tour in Vietnam, he's been in and out of prison, moving from town to town, going wherever the wind takes him. He can't stay in one place too long - every full moon he kills someone." "For years he struggled with this affliction, until he found a way to use this unfortunate curse for good - he kills only really bad people." "Setting at last in the small town of Evelyn. Higgins works at a local restaurant and even has a friend. Daniel Pearce, one of Evelyn's two police detectives." "One night, everything changes. It turns out Marlowe Higgins isn't the only monster lurking in the area. A fiendish serial killer, known as the Rose Killer, is brutally murdering young girls all around the county. Higgins targets the killer as his next victim, but on the night of the full moon, things go drastically wrong."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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