Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Gregory Lamberson
Published by Medallion Press
Monsters in books and movies are cyclic. For a while vampires were all the rage (until they turned into a sparkling mockery of what a movie monster should be). Then zombies dominated the scene for a while. Now, for those who like their horror with more fur, fangs, and claws, werewolves seem to be on the rise. And answering the feral call with a stylish and well written entry is Gregory Lamberson (Johnny Gruesome, Personal Demons) with The Frenzy Way.
Set in New York City, The Frenzy Way opens with a middle-of-the-night phone call to Police Captain Anthony Mace about a gruesome murder. An old man has been ripped to pieces, and the killer left the word “skinwalker” scrawled in the victim’s blood on the wall. In the old man’s safe they discover a broken sword, its blade forged of solid silver. What starts off as a horrific and bizarre case becomes much more menacing as more bodies turn up, each torn apart, each missing its head, and with strange words, written in blood, on walls that all mean the same thing: “werewolf.” Mace soon discovers that there are more things in the world than fits into his vision of reality and that not everyone is what they seem. As in, if there’s one werewolf, there are probably a lot more than you think.
Lamberson does not waste time with pleasantries as he starts the book out with a shot to the gut and keeps amping up the pressure from there. His plot is so tight that readers barely notice how many pages are going by. In addition, just when you think you know what’s going on, who the heroes are, and how the whole thing’s going to end up, Lamberson pulls the rug out from under you, letting the reader know that there are no rules and anything can happen.
One of Lamberson’s strongest points is his ability to make the reader care about his characters. He accomplishes this rather difficult task by bringing the reader into the characters’ heads and presenting their points of view on the situation at hand. In doing so, he makes even his most brutal creation into a sympathetic creature with whom the reader can almost identify. While he doesn’t excuse the rage, he does let the reader know that there are reasons, no matter how twisted they may be. So much care is taken with the characters that the reader will be genuinely affected when they die.
In short, The Frenzy Way is a good, pulpy detective novel with more to it than meets the eye. Fast-paced, bloody, sexy, and brutal, this is Lamberson at his best.
4 1/2 out of 5
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