In this thriller, a Canadian veterinarian adjusts to his new status as a werewolf.
Dr. Liam, on a nightly walk with his female canine companion, Keen, comes face to face with a huge, wolflike creature. It attacks and bites Liam before similar beasts intercede, allowing the vet and his dog to survive the ordeal. But Liam endures a fever for the next few days, and upon his return to the vet clinic, his four-legged patients visibly fear him—and even Keen is wary. He soon learns that a werewolf, or wulf, was the biter. Liam is more specifically a wulfleng, a human turned by a virus rather than being born with the wulf inside. Fortunately, he knows a few wulfan who can help and later meets more. Retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police official Chris, for one, trains Liam, which entails keeping his inner wulf in control. Meanwhile, citizens find the recent appearance of werewolves lacking control unsettling. While they could merely be untrained wulfleng, some parties anticipate an uprising—essentially a virus epidemic instigated by rogue wulfan purposefully infecting humans. But the news gets worse: There’s a good chance that a mutant strain is spreading, which someone seems to have released deliberately with sinister intent. Despite some surprising plot turns, such as a significant death about halfway through the story, Horn’s (Freefight, 2016, etc.) supernatural novel moves at a measured pace. That’s because the tale is primarily one of discovery, including Liam’s newfound condition as well as wulfan origins. The book is also the start of a series, and copious well-drawn characters are primed for subsequent narratives. Liam is an immensely likable protagonist. He and Keen make a superb duo; they protect each other during the initial wulf assault. The vet’s fondness for animals is likewise an endearing trait. At the same time, the author aptly describes Liam’s gradual, sometimes painful transformation: “My joints ached and my bones burned at the core, as though flames ate at the marrow. And my teeth kept emerging through my gums.”
An unhurried but gripping supernatural tale with a persistently affable hero. — Kirkus Reviews