The Last Werewolf
From the book
"It's official," Harley said. "They killed the Berliner two nights ago. You're the last." Then after a pause: "I'm sorry."
Yesterday evening this was. We were in the upstairs library of his Earl's Court house, him standing at a tense tilt between stone hearth and oxblood couch, me in the window seat with a tumbler of forty-five-year-old Macallan and a Camel Filter, staring out at dark London's fast-falling snow. The room smelled of tangerines and leather and the fire's pine logs. Forty-eight hours on I was still sluggish from the Curse. Wolf drains from the wrists and shoulders last. In spite of what I'd just heard I thought: Madeline can give me a massage later, warm jasmine oil and the long-nailed magnolia hands I don't love and never will.
"What are you going to do?" Harley said.
I sipped, swallowed, glimpsed the peat bog plashing white legs of the kilted clan Macallan as the whisky kindled in my chest. It's official. You're the last. I'm sorry. I'd known what he was going to tell me. Now that he had, what? Vague ontological vertigo. Kubrik's astronaut with the severed umbilicus -spinning away all alone into infinity . . . At a certain point one's imagination refused. The phrase was: It doesn't bear thinking about. Manifestly it didn't.
"This room's dead to you," I said. "But there are bibliophiles the world over it would reduce to tears of joy." No exaggeration. Harley's collection's worth a million-six, books he doesn't go to anymore because he's entered the phase of having given up reading. If he lives another ten years he'll enter the next phase--of having gone back to it. Giving up reading seems the height of maturity at first. Like all such heights a false summit. It's a human thing. I've seen it countless times. Two hundred years, you see everything countless times.
"I can't imagine what this is like for you," he said.
"Neither can I."
"We need to plan."
I didn't reply. Instead let the silence fill with the alternative to planning. Harley lit a Gauloise and topped us up with an unsteady hand, lilac-veined and liver-spotted these days. At seventy he maintains longish thinning grey hair and a plump nicotined moustache that looks waxed but isn't. There was a time when his young men called him Buffalo Bill. Now his young men know Buffalo Bill only as the serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs. During periods of psychic weakness he leans on a bone-handled cane, though he's been told by his doctor it's ruining his spine.
"The Berliner," I said. "Grainer killed him?"
"Not Grainer. His Californian protégé, Ellis."
"Grainer's saving himself for the main event. He'll come after me alone."
Harley sat down on the couch and stared at the floor. I know what scares him: If I die first there'll be no salving surreality between him and his conscience. Jake Marlowe is a monster, fact. Kills and devours people, fact. Which makes him, Harley, an accessory after the fact, fact. With me alive, walking and talking and doing the lunar shuffle once a month he can live in it as in a decadent dream. Did I mention my best friend's a werewolf, by the way? Dead, I'll force a brutal awakening. I helped Marlowe get away with murder. He'll probably kill himself or go once and for all mad. One of his upper left incisors is full gold, a dental anachronism that suggests semicraziness anyway.
"Next full moon," he said. "The rest of the Hunt's been ordered to stand down. It's Grainer's party. You know what he's like."
Indeed. Eric Grainer is the Hunt's Big Dick. All upper-echelon members of WOCOP (World Organisation for the...
- Jake is thought to be the world's last werewolf. Chronicling his final months, narrator Robin Sachs expertly captures his introspection and fatalism, followed by his determination to live when he discovers he's no longer alone. Just as Jake is being hunted by anti-paranormal agents and stalked by vampires that want his help to walk in daylight, he finds her. Tallulah--a female werewolf. Sachs leads listeners through Jake's emotional journey to reclaim his life and protect the woman with whom he wants to build a future. Languidly, Sachs evokes Jake's reminiscing tones as he writes journal entries about his overwhelming hungers and insatiable lusts. Tight pacing secures listeners' attention to Duncan's paranormal thriller. J.M. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
Justin Cronin, The New York Times Book Review
"Glorious . . . I can't help thinking that wry, world-weary Jake Marlowe would make a fabulous dinner companion. Just not during a full moon."
- Ron Charles, The Washington Post "Duncan has finally driven a stake through vampire supremacy . . . Cerebral and campy, philosophical and ironic, The Last Werewolf is a novel that's always licking its bloody lips and winking at us . . . A dark thriller that explodes with enough conspiracies, subterfuges and murders to raise your hackles. Not to mention such hot werewolf sex that you'll be tempted to wander out under the full moon yourself next month."
- The Daily Beast "A shocking new take on the werewolf legend . . . Intelligent, fast-moving, creative, and thrilling."
- Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly "A clever narrative with a memorable antihero at its feral, furry heart."
- Kirkus Reviews "Quirky and brilliant--and definitely not for kids."
- Publishers Weekly "Savvy and exceptionally literate, this is one smart modern werewolf tale. . . [A] fine supernatural thriller."
- Stephen Poole, The Guardian (UK) "The Last Werewolf is like an updated version of Dracula, only for werewolves, and as rewritten by Bret Easton Ellis . . . In its own blood-crazed and sex-dazed way, The Last Werewolf makes the case for literature."
- Kate Saunders, The Times (London) "Sexy, funny, blisteringly intelligent . . . Duncan is the cleverest literary horror merchant since Bram Stoker."
- Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden, The Double Bind, and Midwives "Okay, no hyperbole, just an admission: I loved this novel. It's a howl, a rager, a scream. May The Last Werewolf put a stake through the heart of humorless, overwrought vampire sagas. Two big thumb-claws up!"
- James Medd, The Word (UK) "A brilliantly original thriller, a love story, a witty treatise on male (and female) urges, even an existential musing on what it is to be human. Get one for yourself and one for the Twilight fan in your life."
- Courtney Jones, Booklist "Space should be cleared for this violent, sexy thriller . . . The answer to Twilight that adults have been waiting for."
- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (Starred revie "Yes, there are vampires here . . . But don't give this book to Twilight groupies; the frank tone, dark wit, and elegant, sophisticated language will likely do them in. . . . Smart, original, and completely absorbing. Highly recommended."
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