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A supernatural slugfest that aspires to be literature but collapses under its own weight.

In calculus, the derivative of a derivative is a—well, a tangent gone astray. So it is with this book, which echoes many, many others without quite finding its own way. A wolf running wild in Central Park? Jim Harrison, check. Shape-shifters versus the children of the night? Charlaine Harris, check. Secret rituals of the Catholic Church exposed? Dan Brown, check. And let’s not forget James Fenimore Cooper. If this were parody, all would be forgiven. Assuming best-case homage, the project is still a curious one; one supposes it’s a mortgage-paying enterprise for Cabot (Blood of the Lamb, 2013)—the pseudonym of Carlos Dew, a literature professor in Rome, and S.J. Rozan, a crime fiction writer in Brooklyn—and not an effort to break new ground and/or raise the bar in the realm of supernatural fiction. That said, the storytelling is competent, with all the requisite window-rattling portents: “Natural order would be restored, ancient wrongs would be righted. It would take time; but once it began it could not be stopped any more than a raging fire could be hounded back into lightning in the sky.” Hounded: a tasty word for a loup-garou, that. The wolves who are men wish to take possession of a certain object to help the transformation along, but the vampires, some of whom are perpetual grad students, being undead and unpressed for time and all, seem determined to get in the way, as do the human scholars, priests, and assorted cops and civilians who get bound up in the tale. A useful takeaway: If you should happen to become a vampire, it’s easy to outlive your Social Security payments, so take a thought lest you find yourself “facing eternity penniless.” And did we mention the soupçon of Braveheart at the end of the whole shebang?

Entertaining enough. Still, in the words of the golem, who’s bound to turn up in the next installment, if current trends hold: Meh.

Pub Date: July 31st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16296-1
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014


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