Templar Publishing, Out 1 July
An archaeological dig in the Cotswolds reveals secrets stretching back centuries…
Justin Richards’ new standalone novel is a fast-paced melange of lycanthropic ideas, which revives all the usual tropes of the genre and adds in its own twists. Starting with a commando raid against some Nazis that doesn’t exactly go according to plan, it jumps to the present day as young Peter accompanies his father to a dig, and finds himself coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress.
The story’s told on a wide canvas – Peter and his teenage friend Carys end up travelling behind the old Iron Curtain on the hunt for information about the werewolves and their plans. It seems odd in a story about people turning into large hairy monsters to complain about credibility, but the speed with which the teenagers manage to get into Russia is rather surprising, given the usual lack of rapidity with which the visa system seems to operate!
Richards knows how to keep a young adult audience entertained – there’s a degree of teenage angst (although not so much that it becomes annoying to an older readership), and there are plenty of action sequences which are vividly related. Some of the minor characters perhaps aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, but the key players are, and it would be interesting to see them return.
Verdict: A horror story without too much gore, this is an enjoyable romp. 7/10