I’ve been following Andrew Klavan’s video commentary since around “Talking Crap with the President” aired. Klavan’s a gifted writer when it comes to making the viewer laugh while teaching some facts. Though I loved watching his videos, I had never read any of his books. Then I saw a tweet about Nightmare City being on sale. I thought I would give it a go. I didn’t realize that it was a YA book, but that didn’t matter. It was no less gripping and intense than what I would expect from a more mature book. I was impressed. So when Andrew started tweeting about his latest upcoming release, Werewolf Cop, I was intrigued.
I made a mistake when I first started reading this new supernatural crime thriller of his. A mistake because I started reading it right as I was launching my own novel, and those efforts demanded I spend much of my time focused on that, and less time reading. I was annoyed with this because after just two chapters of Werewolf Cop, I was hooked, and I didn’t want to stop reading.
Here we are, a month or so later, and I have finished Werewolf Cop. Do I feel the same about it as I did after the first two chapters? Nope. I like it even more.
One of the first things that drew me in with this book was Klavan’s elegant, yet simple writing. I must admit a tinge of jealousy coursed through my veins as I read Werewolf Cop—I only hope to be able to write that well someday. When you’re reading this book it’s very obvious that you are not just reading a police report or blog post recapping some events. However, a casual reader also won’t be reaching for a thesaurus every ten minutes either. Klavan does a great job of using words that aren’t always common, but common enough that the reader will know what he’s saying. And when he uses more obscure words, he does a wonderful job of surrounding it with context that will let you know the definition. Casual and hardcore readers alike will enjoy this book. And while we’re on this topic, Klavan’s ability to create unique, interesting ways to describe everyday things is fantastic! I know on more than one occasion I stopped and read a description and went “I know I have never heard that kind of description before, but it works so perfectly I can’t figure out why no one else had come up with it before.” So all in all, the writing quality is superb in Werewolf Cop.
Now to the story. I will admit, I am not really into supernatural stories, especially something along the lines of a werewolf. Not that I have anything against it, just not my usual cup of tea. Nor do I often read police suspense/thriller/mystery novels. Again, just not my normal genre, but I have nothing against it. After reading this book, though, I think I will be checking out some more police stories. If they are half as good as this one, I know I’ll enjoy them.
I’m not going to get into the specifics about the story. One, I am always afraid I’ll discuss a spoiler that the author didn’t want revealed. And secondly, I can just let the blurb on Amazon tell you what it’s about. I will say, however, that this story is very unique, and will have you on the edge of your seat more than once. Zach Adams certainly finds himself in some tough situations, but never did it feel like “yeah right, that’s unlikely,” when he did. Nor did it feel contrived when he—at times—found ways out of those situations. All in all, a great story that will have you turning each page in anticipation.
Characters are a huge part for me when it comes to a successful book. I believe boring, one dimensional characters can destroy a great story, while well written, deep characters can propel a mediocre story into greatness. Well, Werewolf Cop has a great story and great characters, so it’s win-win. When I am reading a book, I typically find myself watching the characters from an outside perspective. Sure, I get tense for them in stressful scenarios, or I am sad for them when the scene is pulling at the heart strings, but I am always able to stay pretty detached. With Zach Adams, however, I felt as if I was seeing the world through his eyes. I felt his anxiety, I felt his rage…I felt his regret. I felt the intense desire to control the beast that was consuming him. I felt as if I was Zach Adams. I am not sure that any other book I’ve read has had me so invested in the main character. Well done, Mr. Klavan!
No book is perfect, however, and while there is little I would critique about Werewolf Cop, I will warn readers who are looking for something more in line with Klavan’s YA lineup: It ain’t this book. Language in books and movies doesn’t really bother me, though I am not a fan of God’s name being taken in vain—something this book has a fair bit of. There are some relatively mild sexual scenes (mild in comparison with other books and prime time television), it may not be for everyone in that regard. The book is definitely a mature rating, but I suspect that most people would suspect that based on the title.
At the end of the day, this book is certainly among one of my favorites. I was very excited that Klavan’s website says this is book one in a trilogy, and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the lineup. In the meantime, however, I will be checking out some of Klavan’s older books, and hope that they aren’t too big of a distraction as I dive into writing my next manuscript.
You can buy Werewolf Cop over at Amazon.