I have had the honor and privilege of reviewing two of author Jonathan Janz’s prior books (click here to read the review of DUST DEVILS, and click here to read the review of SAVAGE SPECIES), and I must say the third time is just as sweet. WOLF LAND hit store shelves last month, and it is yet another huge credit to Janz’s impressive list of titles. I will even go so far as to state this is one of the best werewolf stories I’ve read in a while. Fans of lycans and their kin should be foaming at the mouth for this one, and rightfully so; WOLF LAND makes most werewolf stories look like cutesy puppy dog tales.
If you are not familiar with WOLF LAND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:
An unholy predator on the prowl! The small town of Lakeview offers little excitement for Duane, Savannah, and their friends. They’re about to endure their ten-year high school reunion when their lives are shattered by the arrival of an ancient, vengeful evil. The werewolf. The first attack leaves seven dead and four wounded. And though the beast remains on the loose and eager to spill more blood, the sleepy town is about to face an even greater terror. Because the four victims of the werewolf’s fury are changing. They’re experiencing unholy desires and unimaginable cravings. They’ll prey on the innocent. They’ll act on their basest desires. Soon, they’ll plunge the entire town into a nightmare. Lakeview is about to become Wolf Land.
I’m glad to see a resurgence in werewolves. I’m also happy that many authors still write them as vicious and bloodthirsty, instead of mopey and romantic. The bestial nature of such creatures should, in my opinion, keep them from ever appearing in romance or teen novels.
As with his previous works, WOLF LAND is written well and flows at a steady, smooth clip. It is cliche to say the book pulls the reader in from the beginning, but it is true and literal in this case. The opening sentence resounds like a shotgun blast:
“A few hours before she witnessed the slaughter of her former classmates, Savannah was shoveling down her second bowl of spaghetti.”
There’s no way a reader could pass that one by. The whole book has this feel to it, giving the reader a burning desire to finish just one more page. Before long, the end is approaching, and a truckload of tension still hangs in the air. I was worried Janz wouldn’t give us a concise conclusion, but thankfully my fears were unfounded. The book wraps up nicely, and I’m very happy with how things turned out. I’m not saying it’s a necessarily happy ending per se…but I’m not refuting it, either. You’ll just have to read it and form your own conclusion.
The characters in WOLF LAND are fleshed out well and believable. Many of them struck chords with me, as I could relate them to people with whom I went to high school. As such, I felt invested in them. This makes the anxiety level of the book skyrocket when things start going bad.
The story is intriguing and gripping, a compelling look at the complex lives we live and how things are not always what they seem. The lycans are brutal and unforgiving, just like I’ve always pictured them to be. You won’t find any doting, puppy-eyed wolves here…these beasts would rather rip your throat out than hear you try to discuss your feelings.
WOLF LAND is a huge win for me, and it’s an excellent addition to the werewolf genre. I highly recommend this, and I suggest you pick it up soon. Crammed full of suspense and terror, this book is the perfect way to warm up those cold December nights.