Reviewed by Tabatha Johnson
Written by Ray Garton
Published by Leisure Books
Remember the good old days when getting bit by a werewolf was the only way to be doomed to lycanthropy? Imagine if the curse, or rather, disease, was passed on in a decidedly different manner. Not only would it spread like wildfire, but there’d be no way of knowing who had it and who didn’t. Often put forth in vampire books and movies, this time it is the curse of the werewolf that is an STD.
Ray Garton’s latest novel, Ravenous, is a headlong rush into dangers often told. It is the story of a small midwestern town that is being overrun by a terrible evil. In this case, the monster of choice is a werewolf hellbent on starting his own pack, and it is up to the town’s kind sheriff with the help of a formerlly mild mannered Yale English professor turned werewolf hunter to put a stop to it.
Ravenous has quite a bit going for it. Garton’s attention to detail in description is second to none, especially when describing the setting. His descriptions of the original werewolf colony alone are enough to make the reader feel they are there. Also, this book caters to those who love gory goodness. Among scenes that are sure to set the gorehound’s bloody bone twitching is one in which two werewolves play catch with a fetus and another in which an eighteen-month-old child is devoured. In neither case are details spared. There is also an impressively written scene in which the sheriff has to convince his deputies that werewolves are real.
It does, however, fall short in several areas. While his development of the main characters is good, his development of secondary and tertiary characters is non-existent at best. Also, while the plot is well written, there’s not much to the actual story. Beginning with “werewolves come to town,” the book follows the expected plot of “hunters follow and tell the sheriff” and “mass chaos ensues.” It is a credit to Garton’s ability as a writer that he takes such a clichéd plot and somehow manages to make it work.
Ravenous is not your typical werewolf story. Garton does not ascribe to the newest trend that the monsters are simply misunderstood; instead he throws what these things truly are right in your face from the beginning and challenges the reader to find anything redeeming about the beast that is currently trying to rip the characters apart. They are monsters, pure and simple, with no other thought than to feed on the closest warm-blooded creatures. Although it did not add anything to the mythos surrounding the werewolf legends, the story takes ahold of the reader from the first few pages and doesn’t spit them out until the last page. The characters are compelling, the angst believable, and the monsters more than terrifying.
After reading Ray Garton’s Ravenous, I can guarantee you will never look at your neighbors in the same way again.
3 out of 5
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