High Moor by Graeme Reynolds
When John Simpson hears of a bizarre animal attack in his old home town of High Moor, it stirs memories of a long forgotten horror. John knows the truth. A werewolf stalks the town once more, and on the night of the next full moon, the killing will begin again. He should know. He survived a werewolf attack in 1986, during the worst year of his life.
It’s 1986 and the town is gripped in terror after the mutilated corpse of a young boy is found in the woods. When Sergeant Steven Wilkinson begins an investigation, with the help of a specialist hunter, he soon realises that this is no ordinary animal attack. Werewolves are real, and the trail of bodies is just beginning, with young John and his friends smack in the middle of it.
Twenty years later, John returns to High Moor. The latest attack involved one of his childhood enemies, but there’s more going on than meets the eye. The consequences of his past actions, the reappearance of an old flame and a dying man who will either save or damn him, are the least of his problems. The night of the full moon is approaching and time is running out.
But how can he hope to stop a werewolf, when every full moon he transforms into a bloodthirsty monster himself?
There is a lot of love for lycanthropes here at The Eloquent Page, it certainly explains Werewolf Appreciation Month last October. In fact we like werewolves so much so, that Mrs. Cheesecake and I entered into a lively debate about who should review/read this book first as she probably likes werewolves more than me. Fortunately, I’m far sneakier than she and time constraints/technology were on my side.
The events of 1986 form the largest part of the story and offer a good introduction to the world of John and his friends. They are a small gang of typical young children, always looking out for any mischief they can get themselves involved in. Through a stroke of bad luck they get caught up in a hunt between the local authorities, and a violent beast. As the werewolf attacks increase, events swiftly spiral out of control and build toward a violent confrontation that leaves no-one unscathed.
The story then jumps ahead twenty years and the second part of the novel picks up in the present day as events force John to return to High Moor. It’s interesting to see how he has changed in the intervening years. John has effectively been on the run since he left town, and his journey from boy to man has frequently been punctuated by an ongoing, often violent, battle with his inner demon. His return home opens up old wounds and he runs into both old enemies as well as friends.
There are some nice touches interspersed throughout the narrative. Growing up in the nineteen eighties, it raised a smile to see references to pirated computer games on cassette tape and temperamental video recorders. Anyone old enough to remember that decade I’m sure will feel the same. Another element that I particularly liked was the short paragraphs written from the werewolf’s perspective. Getting some small insight into a werewolf’s thought processes adds an extra depth to plot as it unfolds.
This story begs for a sequel and based on the events in the novel’s closing chapters, I do hope that there will be one. I’d happily read it. Reynolds has created a gory, graphic tale that features some nice fresh ideas about the werewolf mythos, and I would be keen to see where he could take them in the future. There are plenty of hints that the events in High Moor are just the tip of the iceberg and it struck me that this is fertile ground worthy of further exploration.
Werewolves in literature tend to fall into one of two categories. Firstly there is the purely animalisitic, the creature of base instinct, that is driven to kill, feed and mate. The second is the werewolf that retains some human characteristics while having the added benefits of the wolf. Reynolds story skillfully manages to bring these two differing interpretations together in a rather clever way. I wouldn’t dream of revealing any plot details but I do suggest it is certainly worth your while finding out. High Moor is a worthy addition to any self respecting werewolf fan’s library.
High Moor is published by Horrific Tales Publishing and as available for Kindle now.