Saul's 16th horror novel (Shadows, 1992, etc. etc.) finds the author in a less horrific, even speakable mode, since the pivotal plot device seems possible, if definitely unlikely. Maryanne Carpenter was abandoned by her husband for a younger, prettier, richer woman, and now he wants to return to her and young Alison and Logan. Meanwhile, Maryanne is the godmother of Joey Wilkeson, and when Joey's wealthy parents both die in accidents on their fabulous Western mountain retreat, Maryanne flies to Joey to care for him—and discovers that as Joey's guardian, she's now wealthy herself and need never work again. The pubescent Joey, however, is odd, loves to fade into the hills with his dog and stay away for long periods. What's more, townsfolk have a strong aversion to him. At the same time, a shadowy figure haunts the mountain retreat and soon more bodies drop, horribly bloodied. Does Joey have something to do with these deaths? He, in fact, has strangely inhuman characteristics and is turning into the wolfboy son of the shadowy figure—a man to whom government scientists once gave the DNA of a wolf to discover what immunities he might come up with. But the wolf DNA bonded with his own, and his physical structure and appetite changed so drastically that he parted from mankind and for 14 years has lived in the wilderness—a killer. He and Joey's mother, though, had been lovers and now his DNA has bonded with Joey's. Wisely, as with Lon Chaney, Jr.'s, Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man, Saul works up some sympathy for his canine killers who, after all, are victims of the moon as well as of the government and those hunting them down. Bound for bestsellerdom—like many of Saul's others.
Read full book review >