Glenn Rolfe must be part human, part machine, because he seems to release a new book every quarter or so. Blood and Rain is the fourth book of his I’ve read in the last 10 months, and the author bibliography section here lists that he has two more coming soon. How he finds the time – given the large family his bio mentions – I do not know.
But I do know what I like; and I like Blood and Rain.
Rolfe again sets his story in small-town America, but he this time unleashes a supernatural fury on said town in the form of a particularly savage werewolf. Sheriff Joe Fischer instantly suspects what is stalking his town as he took one down some eight years previously, so when three brutal slayings disrupt his quiet town on the night of a full moon, he knows he has a month to find the culprit before much worse takes place. During that month, the rest of the town of Gilson Creek is fleshed out, as everyone from the Joe’s daughter to the DJ with vengeance on his mind become point of view characters. Some are fairly stereotypical and may as well have the word FODDER carved into their brow, but others are memorable and even sympathetic. Deputy Randy Hines was one such character for me. He started out as just another name, but by the last quarter of the novel, I found myself hoping he would be more than large dog food.
Which is to say the novel takes its time through these early character-building sections, and in so doing, displays Rolfe’s growth as an author, as most are allowed to live and breathe and become identifiable … before the full horror of the werewolf in their midst is unleashed.
And make no mistake: These werewolves are not interested in beautiful, unavailable women – unless it is to eviscerate them after defiling their bodies. So in this sense, Blood and Rain not only lives up to its title but is a faithful return to the werewolf lore of old. It’s also gory in sections, so expect more than just a passing mention of claw marks or angry welts. Rolfe’s werewolves revel in the damage, death and dismemberment they wreak – an aspect of the novel I very much enjoyed. He also takes the time to chart a regular person turning into a werewolf and details how he transitions from being a decent guy to a bloodthirsty killer. Which is also to say these wolves are not just hunting for food. Instead, they revel in their kills.
Once the final stage is set, the last third of this novel fairly raced by for me. It’s been quite some time since I picked up a book to read in every spare minute, but I did so with Blood and Rain, wanting to know how it all played out and who would survive. And that, for me, is the sign of a quality book.
The long and short of it is Blood and Rain is the best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt. Aside from some overly stereotypical characters, it skillfully weaves the tale of a man who is literally fighting the demons from his past, while said demons decimate the town he is desperately trying to save. Brutal, tension-fuelled and captivating, Blood and Rain is the strongest indicator yet that Rolfe is an author who could one day hold his own with the big names in the horror genre.
4.5 Torn Off Appendages for Blood and Rain.
An eARC was received from the author in an exchange for an honest review - which you have now read.