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Wolf’s Gambit / W.D. Gagliani

Leisure Books / September 2009
Reviewed by: Joan Turner

Legends of the were-wolf have existed throughout recorded history. The image of the man-wolf was first inscribed on a cave wall, and written accounts date back to the Biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:15-33). According to Greek mythology, an offended Zeus transformed King Lycaon of Arcadia into a wolf after he served the god a meal of human flesh.

Long a staple of horror fiction, W. D. Gagliani has fused horror with crime fiction to more than breathe new life into the traditional werewolf tale. He has produced a contemporary Wolf Cycle that is nothing short of a no-holds-barred thrill ride. Second in the series and sequel to Gagliani’s 2004 Bram Stoker nominated novel Wolf’s Trap, Wolf’s Gambit is a lusty page-turner packed with murder, mystery, sex, and unpredictable plot twists that keep the reader on the edge of his seat while tension mounts.

Wolf’s Gambit continues the story of Nick Lupo, a troubled city detective infected with the werewolf curse in his youth. Once a month, when the full moon brings out the Creature in him, Lupo heads for his secluded cabin in the North Woods where he can release the beast within and set it free. There, his girlfriend, the reservation doctor, Jessie Hardin, waits.
But trouble is waiting also. A series of brutal murders on the reservation that seem linked to the construction of a new casino have taken place. At first, it appears that an animal is responsible for the attacks, or a human who wishes to disguise the killings as such, but Lupo soon discovers that others of his kind are to blame. He and the doctor set out help the local sheriff and stop the killers at any cost.
Superb characterization brings protagonists and villains to life in this desperate game of survival. Werewolves, war-hardened mercenaries and a mystery man with an evil agenda of his own combine to build suspense to nail-biting proportions with every plot twist as Gagliani takes the crime story to a completely new level. Prepare for the unexpected.
Built on strengths – not weaknesses – shortcomings in this novel are few. Some readers may find the hero’s name, Lupo, a bit obvious, but the author provides a plausible explanation for that, and the story leaves the reader with a few unanswered questions and a hunger for more. Fortunately, the third installment in the series, Wolf’s Bluff, scheduled for release in 2010, takes up where this novel ends.  
Wolf’s Gambit is one of the most powerful lycanthrope novels to come out of the horror genre in decades and one no fan of werewolf lore will want to miss. Fantastic!

Purchase Wolf’s Gambit by W.D. Gagliani.   

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