Heather's Reviews > The Last Werewolf

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
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Sep 17, 12

bookshelves: 2012-books
Read from August 23 to September 11, 2012

My review from the September 16, 2012 edition of the Burlington Times-News (Burlington, NC).

Jacob Marlowe is the last living werewolf, and his days are numbered. The World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena’s hunters have Jake squarely in their sights; they’re simply waiting for the next full moon to strike.
Jake isn’t overly concerned about his impending death. Although he is physically healthy, Jacob is lonely and depressed. The monster within prevents the man from developing any long-term, meaningful relationships because the hunger turns all humans into potential victims. When the moon is full, any human will do, but when the werewolf has a deeper connection to the victim, the killing is so much more satisfying.
In his 201 years, Jacob has amassed a sizeable fortune, which allows him to enjoy life’s luxuries, but it’s a hollow comfort. He is haunted by the lives he’s taken, and no amount of expensive booze, hired companionship and physical comfort quiets the voices of the dead souls murmuring in his head.
Jacob’s money also provides him the freedom to travel extensively, using a never ending variety of false identities. Travel and anonymity are particularly important, as he is able to spend his full moon nights in different places around the world. After all, even one victim per month will add up to create a suspicious pattern in the eyes of the authorities over time.
Jake’s acceptance of his inevitable death is troubling to his only friend, Harley. Harley has been Jacob’s lifeline for over fifty years. As a WOCOP agent, Harley has spent decades throwing out false trails for the hunters to protect his friend.
At 75, Harley just wants Jacob to hold on until his death, so that he won’t have to spend his final days alone. That’s why Harley continues with business as usual, lining up new identities, lodging and travel plans to get Jacob safely through another month, despite Jacob’s protests.
Everything changes when Harley’s WOCOP cover is blown. Hunters, dissatisfied with the idea of Jacob willingly submitting to death, use Harley as leverage to goad Jake into a fight. Harley’s death, followed by a chance encounter at Heathrow Airport, yanks Jacob back fully into the life he was previously so ready to leave behind. The chase is on, spanning oceans and continents, and it seems that WOCOP is not the only group tracking the last living werewolf.
Jake is a shameless, selfish monster. He embraces his monstrosity, yet his character is sympathetic and even occasionally endearing. He is not a victim, though he did not choose to become a werewolf. He struggles to live with his curse, because he lacks the courage to kill himself. Jacob Marlowe is a complex monster perfect for the 21st century.
Author Glen Duncan has crafted a completely different sort of werewolf story. The Last Werewolf is one part bittersweet reflection, one part gore and two parts white-knuckle roller-coaster ride. I didn’t want to put it down, and I breathed a big sigh of relief when I stumbled
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