Book Review: HIGH MOOR

PrintE-mail Written by Neil Buchanan Sunday, 13 May 2012

Book Review: High Moor / Author: Graeme Reynolds / Publisher: Horrific Tales Publishing / Release Date: Out Now

Graeme Reynolds’ debut werewolf novel is a feisty horror-shocker that doesn’t shy away from violence and gore. Its lycanthropic lupines are your old-fashioned, tear your guts out and wear them for garters variety that seem to have become lost in the slew of teenage fantasies that saturate today’s book stores and online markets.

High Moor sets the scene for a series of werewolf attacks that draws John Simpson back to the town of his birth. John is a moonstruck werewolf: unable to control his transformations on the night of the full moon. We later learn that werewolves can transform anytime they desire and only those who fight the change become the walking bipedal variety once favoured by Hollywood. That’s not to say the other four-legged versions are any less aggressive or vicious, just that they retain an element of intelligence and work in harmony with their monstrous inner selves.

High Moor is set in two different time periods. The first half in 1986 deals with John and his friends when they were children, harassed by the local thug, Malcolm Harrison. In addition to John Simpson we are also introduced to Sergeant Steven Wilkinson who begins an investigation into the killing of the local wildlife which he believes to be the result of a puma or similar big cat in the area. Soon enough, both John and Steven are confronted with werewolves and things take a turn for the worse.

The second half of the novel, set in 2008, centres on John’s return to High Moor and the escalating conflict with Malcolm Harrison. John tries to determine who is behind the new werewolf sighting but forces are aligning against him and soon events are set for an excellent monster mash-up.

Graeme Reynolds manages to achieve a rare thing with his novel. Not only is High Moor a bloody, visceral horror, it’s also funny. No easy task. High Moor is reminiscent of Dog Soldiers and American Werewolf in London. It has a quintessential British feel to it and doesn’t attempt to hide its source material. This is in your face horror and makes no bones about it. The writing is tight, the scenes provocative, and there are enough one-liners to keep the reader entertained all the way through to the final page.

As first novels go, High Moor excels and better yet promises to be the first in an ongoing series.

If you’re a fan of The Howling or The Wolf Man then High Moor is the book for you. Even if you’re not and prefer the neutered variety so often portrayed in the films of today then pick up this bad boy and see what you’ve been missing.

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