I have to admit I am so glad to see a resurgence in the werewolf genre. Recently (within the past year or so), I’ve seen several lycanthropic movies and books released, and most of them look pretty tight. I cannot stand to think about how certain authors treated werewolves in the past (yes, Stephanie Meyer, I’m looking at you), making them tame, sensitive weenie-dogs with no bite. That is NOT what I envision when I think of werewolves, and I’m very happy to see many authors and filmmakers agree.
One of these authors is Glenn Rolfe, and his recent novel BLOOD AND RAIN shows just how bloodthirsty and unpredictable these savage beasts can be. But while his werewolves are brutally realistic, the story itself is lacking in key areas. The result is a choppy read that could have been great, but instead falls short.
If you are not familiar with BLOOD AND RAIN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets. Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.
I think the most disappointing aspect about this book for me is just how great it could have been with a little more polish. As it is, the story feels incomplete and jumbled. Still, I cannot deny Rolfe’s talents as an author, and I certainly hope to read more from him in the future.
BLOOD AND RAIN is written well from a grammatical standpoint, and the author writes in a nice, unique voice. Yet several characteristics poses many confusing questions that are never answered. For example, the time period in which the story is set. The prologue starts off in 1997, but then chapter one gives us no indication of how much time (if any) has passed…until the movie SCREAM 2 is mentioned. SCREAM 2 came out in 1997, but it is referred to in the past, possibly many years ago. I assumed then that the story had skipped forward several years…and this was reiterated at the start of chapter two, when a character is described as graduating back in ’97. BUT then, to make things even more confusing, one of the characters mentions going to see Kirsten Dunst in the new SPIDER-MAN 2 movie…which came out in 2004! So is the book set in 2004? If so, why?
The characters are damaged and believable individuals, however they are not fleshed out enough for me to care about them. I would have liked a little more backstory on the sheriff and his daughter, particularly. Still, Rolfe paints his people well for the most part, and the way he writes his dialogue is spot on.
I really like the werewolves in BLOOD AND RAIN, and I have to commend the author on the vivid way he brings them to life. They are bloodthirsty and, well, downright evil in nature. This is exactly how I pictured lycans to be: decent people to start off, but once they are bitten, the beast-like mentality overtakes their human selves.
I will say BLOOD AND RAIN is a decent read, IF you can overlook the fact that the book does not feel complete. The ending is fine, but the opening should have been fleshed out more. Still, as I mentioned above, I cannot deny the fact that Rolfe possesses talent as an author, and I hope to read more from him in the future. For his next book, however, he might want to have a content editor go through it with a fine-tooth comb to help even it out.
BLOOD AND RAIN is available now in a variety of formats.