The image of wolves, grinning, gray, rapacious, threads its way through this collection of thirteen fantastic short stories. In the title story a character is confronted on the highway by a motorcycle brigade of desperadoes bearing down on him ""with the obscene eagerness of wolves."" In a hospital room the ""wolf breath of cancer"" hangs in the air. In ""Away in Night"" a blind man blasts his retarded nephew with a shotgun half-crazed with fear of wolves. By the time we reach ""A Lament to Wolves"" we are as familiar with Bumpus' metaphor as we are with the Grim Reaper himself. It's almost a relief then to learn that a former used-car salesman is hung up, not on wolves, but only on a kangaroo named Gigi--though that doesn't turn out too well either. For in the gray zone occupied by Jerry Bumpus' characters--people on night shifts, denizens of seedy hotels, travelers moving through the night, everything is eerie and threatening, intensified by the author's sharp, spare style. Small wonder then that the hallucination is often preferable to the ""real"" thing.