Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Book Review: Bestial - Werewolf Apocalypse by William D. Carl

Author William D. Carl bursts upon the horror scene with his ferociously non-stop, action-packed debut novel, Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse. Carl goes straight for the jugular by immersing the reader in a world overrun by werewolves, where a few remaining souls must fight tooth and nail (and fangs) for their very lives.

The book opens in the middle of a turbulent bank heist, but as soon as the full moon comes out people begin to change. Somehow, an experiment has gone wrong and a lycanthropic air borne virus has been unleashed on the populace of Cincinnati. Most people turn into werewolves, but there are a few that are miraculously immune to the virus. A group of unlikely survivors band together to escape from the thousands of bloodthirsty werewolves ravaging the city, but a military quarantine is intent on keeping anyone from leaving the perimeter, infected or not. Can the survivors find a way out of the devastated city before it’s too late?

I was hooked on Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse from page one! I don’t consider myself much of a werewolf fan (partly because there has been such an absence of good werewolf horror material lately), but finally, William D. Carl has made werewolves scary again! Not only does the fur fly fast and furious in the novel, but Carl actually takes the time to focus on characterization. Each character has a backstory, emotions and feelings, so in a short amount of time you find yourself caring deeply about each character. It’s not hard to cheer on homeless teenager Christian, sassy and strong Chesnya or even thief-with-a-heart-of-gold Rick.

Even the werewolves, though ferocious and frightening, also gained my sympathy. After ripping apart prey all night as werewolves, humans are usually horrified when dawn approaches and they realize they’ve viciously eaten their loved ones. Some embrace their new bestial selves, but most go insane with thoughts of what evil deeds they’d committed the night before. This glimpse of the humanity of the werewolves really adds depth to a book that could have easily been just a rip ‘em up gorefest.

I also enjoyed Carl’s descriptions of a quickly deteriorating society. After the virus outbreak Cincinnati is quarantined from the rest of the world and every man, woman and child, werewolf or human, are on their own. There are no cops, no firemen, no government or order to speak of – it’s everyone for themselves. Though lasting only a short three days and nights of the full moon cycle, this demolishing of “the norm” really affects people quickly and Carl portrays this breaking down of society in devastating detail.

Also devastating is the carnage left behind by the werewolves. Gorehounds won’t be disappointed with the extremely graphic and bloody scenes described by Carl. Not only that, but the tension that Carl creates will keep you on the edge of your seat! One scene in particular where three characters meet – two seek refuge from the werewolves in an armored truck while another tries to escape from a collapsing high-rise building and they all eventually come together – will have you biting your nails in anticipation and suspense!!

Horror fans can’t go wrong with William D. Carl’s Bestial: Werewolf Apocalypse. It’s an action-packed thrill ride that invigorates the werewolf subgenre and isn’t afraid to bare its teeth.

Available from Amazon!

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