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The Howling (The Howling #1)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  8,309 ratings  ·  103 reviews
This is it! Gary Brandner's famous book, "THE HOWLING." A must read!

"If you haven't read Gary Brandner you're missing a treat."

* * *

Karyn and her husband Roy had come to the peaceful California village of Drago to escape the savagery of the city. On the surface Drago appeared to be like most small rural towns.
But it was not.
The village had a mos

Mass Market Paperback, 215 pages
Published June 12th 1986 by Fawcett (first published January 1st 1977)
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The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
133rd out of 1,289 books — 4,034 voters
Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen KingThe Wolfen by Whitley StrieberThe Wolf's Hour by Robert McCammonThe Howling by Gary BrandnerWolf Hunt by Jeff Strand
Werewolf Books That Are Not Found In The Romance Genre
4th out of 154 books — 150 voters

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Community Reviews

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THE HOWLING is an antiquated werewolf novel, but it also is one of the mainstays of werewolf storytelling. Overall, this book was a fast-paced, gripping story of how the werewolf came into existence (according to Brander). That part was interesting. What wasn't interesting was the way the characters developed. Roy, the main male character, is characterized as a hardworking, loving, and loyal husband. Until, that is, his wife is raped. Then he turns into an asshole. I think if my wi
⊱ Irena ⊰
If I had known just how miserable this book would make me, I wouldn't have started it.

Karyn is raped right in the beginning of the book. You get to read every single moment of it. Next, instead of helping her, her miserable husband cheats on her because the poor man can't cope with everything.
I don't think I'll be reading the rest (for now), but I do hope Roy gets killed. Slowly and painfully. Poor thing.

Yes, I have pet-peeves. Yes, they can ruin my reading experience. The two issues I mention
Aric Cushing
Campy fun from the 80's. The cover is fantastic, and is derived, which probably everyone knows, from the film. The book is a fast read, and delivers on a great pulp level. Werewolf tales are not my favorite, but this is a great one. If you haven't seen the film, it is a classic.
The movie is one of my all-time favorites, a very intelligent old horror movie with a great cast and great cinematography. I had to read the book. Apparently it's been out of print for a number of years, so I got a copy from, and the day it came, I read the thing from cover to cover. Couldn't put it down. The thing is, it's VERY different from the movie. It's less quirky and the themes are much less complicated. It's a pretty straight-forward story, written in a very straight-forward ...more
Most modern horror novels will read with clear connections to Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but The Howling, published in 1977 by Gary Brandner (and six years before King’s own werewolf novella The Cycle of the Werewolf), bears the mark of the same author who influenced both King and Koontz – Richard Matheson, who died last year (2103). (Coincidentally, so did Brandner) Distinguishing itself from the bloated, 500 page behemoths being printed these days, The Howling is a lean, fast moving 200 page ...more
I thought this book was a quick, fun read. I had watched the movie quite awhile back and all I could remember was the beginning and that the werewolves were scary. I was probably about 8 or 9, so when I picked up this book I couldnt really compare it to the movie.

I really loved the backstory at the beginning of the book about the town of Dradja. I thought Brandner did a good job at making the reader feel the tension and horror that Karyn felt throughout the book.

I would recommend this book for
I remember calling CAMERON'S CLOSET--the previous book I read by Gary Brandner--"meat 'n' potatoes horror," meaning that it was good but not very innovative. Well, THE HOWLING is also good, but even less innovative. Perhaps "peanut butter and jelly sandwich horror" would be an appropriate label.
Really though, the best word to describe THE HOWLING is "competent." The story and characters all feel pretty standard, but Brandner manages to hold your interest, thanks in big part to his crisp, economi
Richard Knight
This is one badass book, which is surprising since I thought it was going to be dull and lame like the movie. Amazingly, the writing is superb in this pulpy werewolf tale. In fact, the werewolf stuff is actually the least interesting aspect of this book. I really dug the characters and the ghost story town of Drago, but the actual werewolf stuff almost seems like an afterthought until that dramatic ending.

The story starts off with a brutal, infuriating scene, and I like that the concept of sexua
The Howling,

Gary Brandner's werewolf tale manages to create enough suspense to keep the pages turning, The setting is eerie, the werewolf's have enough bite to be interesting, but the characters are a bit flawed and tend to act outside their stereotype.

Karyn Beaty is a perfect example of an author losing focus of character trends.

Karyn is a recent rape victim, emotionally and physically scarred, yet she is still willing to take chance's uncharacteristic of a person recovering from such a traum
Classic old school werewolf story. I have to say it is MUCH easier for the baddies to get to you when live in the mountains and your only means of communication is a phone at the local mom and pop grocery store in town and you don't even know how to drive. What young adult person didn't know how to drive in the 70's? Lots of stereotypes from the time period. The hero even drives a suped up Camero. They don't mention the gold chains and the half open silk shirt but if you grew up in the 70's you ...more
this is everything a werewolf novella should be, flawed characters with personal demons battling the unknown in a rustic setting. I loved it from start to finish! this was my first Gary Brandner book and I loved the writing style, there is something about the way it is written that sets it apart that I just can't put my finger on but I have a feeling that after reading a few of his books he will be one of those authors that you can sometimes identify by the writing style alone. I can't wait to ...more
Came to this book not knowing what to expect. I know there is a movie, well a few but haven't seen any of them. Werewolves, I like alongside most other famous or non famous monsters. I figured it may be a bloodbath ala Dog soldiers but it wasn't. Mind you it was still a decent read, more of a mystery whodunit I felt as it kept me guessing who the werewolf could be, threw little red herrings here and there....or did it seeing as how the conclusion played out haha. Not bad :)
Shaun Gregory
The Howling. I've read this book countless times since I first picked it up in 1986. Every time I read it just gets better. I love the films which are great horror movies ( well a few of them anyway! ). But the novel is very suspenseful and has you rooting for Karyn all the way through. I've read a few of Mr. Brandners other books and none are as good as this. The original movie is more tongue in cheek, than the novel but it does for Werewolves what 'Salems Lot did for Vampires. Imagine Your Wor ...more
David Bales
Saw this 1977 sucka on the free shelf at the New Hartford Library and nabbed it, eager to read the little novel that inspired the 1980 movie of the same name, one of the best werewolf movies of all time. I found the novel quite a bit different, (and much less effective) with a married couple who move to a strange little town (?) for some reason in the California mountains after the woman is raped. Everyone in "Drago" is pretty odd and why anyone would move specifically there is never explained. ...more
Carlos Río
Si "The Howling" ha perdido algo de efectividad es porque antes de leértela sabes que va de hombres lobo. La parte en la que más se nota este problema es cuando Brandner presenta Drago, el remoto pueblo a donde se mudan los Beatty. El único misterio es que la gente es amable, pero un tanto peculiar y parece guardar algún secreto; pero sabes de sobra que los aullidos que escucha Karen por las noches son de un hombre lobo, y te imaginas sin problemas cómo murieron los anteriores inquilinos de la c ...more
I always loved the movie but had never read the book it was based on. It's surprising how much the film added - characters, full scenes - and changed (such as character backgrounds). In essence, the book only served as the bare bones for the film. Having said that, I enjoyed the book. It was a bit shorter than expected and ended rather abruptly. Although there are a couple of sequels, I think this one could have been fleshed out some more. The character dialogue is a bit dated. There were some g ...more
Dale R Long
As a long time werewolf fan, I'd seen the movie, but somehow never read the book.

Maybe because I write and that has changed my reading, but I found several spots where the descriptions were weak and the dialogue hard to follow. But my biggest complaint was the transformation scene. It was handled like a fact dump and treated by the character, undergoing the change, as blase. That and there were way too many dog comparisons for my taste.

That said, the story moved at a good pace and the character
Ian Laskey
"The Howling" is a 1977 pulp horror novel which has obtained something of a cult name in main due to it's more successful (and, frankly, superior) 1981 film adaptation (directed by the great Joe Dante). The two share the same basic premise (SPOILERS): Karyn Beatty suffers a brutal rape and, to help aid her physical and mental recovery, she and husband, Roy, retreat into the quiet Californian woodlands for a sabbatical. They discover the small community of Drago which seduces, quite literally, R ...more
Damien Spencer
I was scared to read this book. Really scared. I grew up with a vhs copy of the howling film never far from me from about age 5 when my father made a bad parenting decision until still to this day. One of my all time favorites. I put this off in fear it would be like jaws, I'd love this book and start hating the film a little, same with what dreams may come. More so when I thought to start this a good friend experienced a similar problem with somewhere in time. Hold the phone though, this book i ...more
DJ Johnson
I actually snuck took this book to girl scout camp when I was 9. I found it to be far more interesting than the other things people kept shoving at me to read. I loved to read, so I read whatever drivel people gave me (Nancy Drew for instance was not my cup of tea, though I did like the Hardy Boys). Sneaking Taking this book to camp was a dramatic shift in my reading life. It had drama, horror, non-Human creatures.. I had always liked Vampires and Werewolves in film (whenever I was able to catch ...more
I can't remember whether I read this before or after seeing the movie, but they are two completely different creatures. The book was much better, with it being slightly more believable, although it still was a bit trashy. Still, it's a classic horror story, and I had to read it. I will not, however, watch or read every sequel (you have to stop somewhere, and it's going to be long before "Howling III: The Marsupials" (or even "Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf"--yes, these are titles of actua ...more
Glenn Rolfe
I've seen the movie plenty of times, but this was my first time reading the book. Brandner is awesome. There were so many tense moments in this book I thought gnaw my fingernails off. Each and every character is so real, and their interactions, whether in human or wolf form, are perfect. Blood? Oh yeah. Sex? Holy shit, yeah. Horror? yep. Werewolves done right are among my favorites. Brandner is my king of the wolf.
Now I want to watch the movie again!
Did you hear that?
Hear what?
The howling.

Garrick Cox
I've been a huge fan of the Joe Dante film adaptation of this book for over a decade. I originally caught the film on cable and loved it in spite of how frightening the imagery was. While watching the credits, I found that the film was based on the book in question. Naturally, I sought it out. I expected good things, but nothing could have prepared me for just how GOOD this book is. It feels like a much, MUCH more fleshed out version of the film's story, making the film feel comparatively watere ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Mostly forgettable novel that managed to inspire a far superior movie.

A happy couple has tragedy enter their lives one day as the wife is raped by a handyman. In order for her to recover from the trauma, they both move to an isolated village called Drago. It's quickly apparent that something is wrong with the locals.

Unfortunately the novel isn't good. There isn't much tension in the book, mostly because things seem to happen without any real build-up. The husband will go immediately from worryin
Jamie Fessenden
I had no idea, until watching the film "The Howling" for about the 300th time last month, that it had been based on a novel. As soon as I noticed the mention of it in the credits, I looked it up on Amazon and discovered that it was available for Kindle -- and even better, it was on sale!

There are some major differences between the novel and the movie. Karyn isn't a reporter. I don't remember what her career was, since we never see her working. (view spoiler)
Neil Buchanan
Why did I wait so long before reading this? The Howling, simply put, is a fantastic, graphic and oh, so dark horror book written by a genuine master of the craft. As good as Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell or James Herbert. It opens with a brutal rape that is difficult to get through, but essential to set up the premise for the rest of the novel then favours the slow-burn of tension as things get steadily worse. Worse than rape? Gary Brandner crafts a story that slowly pulls everything away from K ...more
lynda  dwight
Feb 11, 2015 lynda dwight rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror
Shelves: horror, owned
this was a very fast paced read. looking forward to starting HOWLING II next.

karyn gets brutally raped and looses her baby her husband roy decides to move his wife out to the country away from everything in hopes to help her to heal emotionally and psychologically after such an ordeal.

what happens during their stay in the small town of Drago is horrifying and horrendous. murder around every turn but is the killer human? will karyn heal or get worse?

I loved this , it kept me at the edge of my s
Tara Hall
I have read this book several times and will likely reread throughout my life. It's not that its a stellar book...the writing is not exceptional, and by my 3rd read, I know the story well. These werewolves were my preferred kind of werecreature: sexy, scary, and more than a little dangerous. This book introduced me to werewolves, and it still gives me a thrill reading it all these years later.
Elizabeth Means
This is the first time I've ever read the book 1of the Howling,I've seen the movie more than five time ,so when I saw the books I had to get them.don't know which ones I like the best the books or the movies.we'll see after I read books 2 and 3.
I thought this was an old time werewolf novel that sure beats the crap out of the more modern werewolf tales out there. Its everything I thought a werewolf should be. Very enjoyable and well written.
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Gary Phil Brandner (May 31, 1930 – September 22, 2013) was an American horror author best known for his werewolf themed trilogy of novels, The Howling. The first book in the series was loosely adapted as a motion picture in 1981. Brandner's second and third Howling novels, published in 1979 and 1985 respectively, have no connection to the film series, though he was involved in writing the screenpl ...more
More about Gary Brandner...

Other Books in the Series

The Howling (3 books)
  • The Howling II
  • Howling III
The Howling II Howling III The Howling Trilogy ...Walkers The Brain Eaters

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