Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wolfsbane by William Johnstone

by William Johnstone
1982 Zebra Books

"It's called dog-fashion,"

Like werewolves?  Too bad, this book is about a witch.  There are werewolves in it, sure, but just they only pop up quickly enough to get shotgunned down.

In 1934, rural Louisiana,  a suspected rugaru/loup garou/werewolf/bigfoot thing is killed.  Decades later, his widow vows to destroy the bloodlines of her husband's murderers.Her granddaughter Janette, wanting to get to the bottom of the family curse, recruits a burned out special forces vet Pat Strange to help her.

Pat Strange is not a racist.
Pat was not a racist; he did not hate men for the color of their skin.
As usual with statements like these, we're immediately given evidence to the contrary.
He also tried to understand the passions of black Africans - those with some degree of intelligence - to govern themselves.
Pat is the "God's Warrior" of this book, and he comes to a town where folks have gotten unfriendly and stopped going to church.  Some people "just know" things, there's a proxy war between God and Satan with rules nobody follows anyway, arbitrary timelines.

All the usual Devil series trappings, and less.  Aside from a couple of ritual killings, there's nothing resembling a horror novel for most of the book.  People talking, and talking about what they talked about, and talking about that.  Much of it in Cajun dialect, which read more Jamaican in my head.

Pat and the local Sheriff gather up the surviving descendants of the 1934 killing, but I can't be bothered to keep track of a bunch of new characters introduced this late who don't do anything.

After all the talk and rules and blah blah blah, Pat just storms the house and shotguns the hell out of everything.  Walking dead, werewolves, even the witch go down pretty quick.  Pretty good scene, with slipping around in looping intestines and heads flying off shoulders, but it doesn't make up for pages of "I naw tum ting bou ragaru, a ight?"

Epilogue:  Wisecracking Satan has long sarcastic conversations with Pat about sports and holds him in suspended animation for five years.  Pat decides to dedicate his life to stopping Satan's plans.  After pages and pages of talking about his luggage and getting new clothes.

Both the dullest and most poorly written of the Johnstone books I've read so far.  His sentence constructs seemed a bit off, and despite pulling out all the stops at the end, not much going on.  There are a couple of the most disturbing sequences, with an ancient witch raping me as part of ritual murder.  You don't run into the phrase "leathery labia" too much in horror fiction.

Available for Kindle from Amazon.

Click here to read a sample.

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