Duncan continues the long tradition of werewolf literature in this harrowing novel of lupine transformation.
In the 21st century the victims of werewolves’ bites have been dying rather than transforming, so when the penultimate werewolf is eliminated, Jake Marlowe becomes the last. Jake is on the hit list for WOCOP, the World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena, and he expects to be eliminated by Grainer, whose family he had killed and devoured during a full moon a while back. Helping Jake is his friend Harley, whom he had saved from a homophobic attack some 30 years before. Jake realizes the stakes are high when Harley’s head is delivered to him...so obviously no help will come from that quarter. We find out that Jake was born in the early 19th century and became a werewolf through a brief and fluky encounter with one while on a trip to Wales. His transformation led him to kill and eat his beloved wife Arabella. (Duncan gives us much more information about werewolves to devour—for example, that their libidos become hyperactive during the time of the full moon.) Although Jake fully expects to be eliminated, he makes every effort to escape from the various, mostly inept hunters WOCOP sends. And then something unprecedented and earth-shattering occurs—his acute sense of smell leads him to find another werewolf, this one a female named Talulla Demetriou. Together they go on the lam, but Grainer continues his pursuit—at least until Ellis, Grainer’s protégé, tries to strike a deal with Jake, for Ellis would like to kill Grainer instead. It seems as though having at least one werewolf alive gives Ellis a reason for living.
Duncan’s writing is quirky and brilliant—and definitely not for kids.