The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Book review

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, Canongate Books, p/b, £7.99, Website

Reviewed by Dave Brzeski

This is an odd one. A hybrid if you like. Canongate are a well-respected publisher of mainstream and literary books. They published the Booker Award winning ‘Life of Pi’.

Glen Duncan has been listed by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the twenty best young novelists in Britain. His satirical novel, ‘I, Lucifer’, was nominated for the Geoffrey Memorial Faber Prize. So what’s he doing writing a werewolf book?

It is, in fact, a very good werewolf book. Jacob Marlowe is actually the last werewolf, and he’s had enough. He’s been around for two centuries. He’s being hunted by WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena) and, frankly, he’s tempted to let them destroy him. In a way, the inclusion of this society of monster hunters places this book in the occult detective sub-genre. Except that the hero is the werewolf—who, by the way, eats a human every full moon—and the villains are the monster hunters. There is also an organised society of vampires, who might be much more trouble than they actually are, except they’re immortal and generally can’t be arsed.

Glen Duncan puts a lot of work into rationalising the combination of a generally good guy, with the fact that he grows fur and claws and eats someone every month. Somehow it works. Had this series (for there are two sequels) been the only thing he’d written, he’d be a highly respected genre author.

It’s a fairly old book, originally published in 2011. I wouldn’t normally review anything that old, but I picked up an eARC from Netgalley, which pertained to the new cover edition, released in 2014. The two sequels are also available now.

It’s one of the best werewolf themed books I’ve read in a long time, and I’ve read a few. It’s a nice change from the morass of supernatural romance novels, with keywords like “pack” and “alpha”, which seem to be currently flooding the market. I certainly intend to pick up the two sequels at some point.