Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter
Brian P. Easton
Trade Paperback, 336 pages, $14.95
Review by Sheila Merritt
Obsession; compulsion; drive: Attributes that can be positive or negative, depending on their circumstances. In Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter, author Brian P. Easton explores the pros and cons of such myopic focus. Vendettas and vigilante violence extract a price. Sacrifices include loss of loved ones, and a surrendering of the soul for the sake of systematic slaughter. Over the many years in which the novel takes place, the protagonist evolves into an efficient killing machine. What begins as a teen-ager’s journey to avenge his father’s death, turns into a lifelong pre-occupation with waging war with werewolves. Easton weaves Native American folklore into this intense character study. The result is a power punch of a book; that is poignant in its treatment of retaliation as a form of redemption.
Set in various locales in Canada and the United States, the narrative follows Sylvester James as he tracks the lycanthrope responsible for his dad’s demise. Along the way, he encounters and dispatches other werewolves. One is a femme fatale, for whom their sexual encounter proves fatal. Sylvester describes her post mortem appearance thus: “Her arms and shoulders were sinewy and hirsute, much of which seemed to have spread from her pits, but still distinctly feminine. Feet and hands remained characteristically human, except they’d lengthened into fearsome claws instead of painted nails.”
Because of his skills, that get honed in a stint with the military, Sylvester finds work hunting psychopaths as a sideline. As he points out, silver bullets work just as well against humans. During the travails and travels, he engages in rocky romantic relationships. Sylvester’s vocation validates the statement that the course of true love never runs smooth. The three women he becomes involved with are interesting and well drawn characters. They grant him the opportunity to drop his guard a bit, and let his humanity (which he is always at risk of relinquishing) to shine through. Inevitably, there is danger when that happens.
Brian P. Easton does an outstanding job in depicting the first person narrator. It is impossible not to like a fellow who is wryly observant and capable of being scathingly descriptive: “The layout was the same, but the carpet was a vomitous green, the furnishings were mismatched, and the wallpaper pattern was a hypnotic repetition of scratchy, stylized brown trees.”
Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter is a detailed delving into a heart of darkness: An ache resides there, and it can only be assuaged with blood.