Rob Rosen, author of award winning novels such as Diva Las Vegas, Hot Lava and Southern Fried, makes his first foray into a new genre with his latest book Queerwolf. The new novel follows the misadventures of Blake Henry, the mild mannered gay accountant who finds himself transformed into a werewolf by chance, and finds himself fighting for survival against the dominant pack in San Francisco. The bar is set high, but sadly this book seems to fall short of our lofty expectations – managing to deliver a lackluster piece of pulp fiction that will be read and forgotten with ease.
The book in itself is not bad, but the problem here is that there is nothing which is particularly good either. The central character, with whom we are meant to empaphise, is a sarcastic and surprisingly shallow entity whose sole purpose in the book was to stumble into trouble at every available opportunity. Far from being endearing however, this only serves as an annoyance, and the constant references to his sexuality were increasingly redundant. We get it, he’s gay – there’s no need to remind us at every available opportunity that he is in to men unless it’s relevant to the story.
The main character is not the only flaw with the story – which drifts from a slightly engaging mystery, to an outlandish fever dream of impossible scenarios. A certain amount of suspended belief is required when the werewolf-inclined Barbara Streisand impersonator said she would join up with the cast if they bought him/her a new pair of breasts. To its credit, the story did keep us guessing up to its dull (anti)climax, but that was only because, up to that point, we were left feeling lost and confused – and ultimately unfulfilled.
When considering the San Francisco setting, the werewolf story, and the departures from established werewolf lore, it was hard for us not to compare this to Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift which was released on 14 February. It felt as if the writer has tried to create a pornographic version of Rice’s book – complete with perfunctory sex scenes inserted at every possible opportunity, whether related to the wider story or not. That in itself would of been acceptable, if it wasn’t for the fact that each scene seems overly contrived – as if it was written by an amateur pornographer who was only dimly aware of gay sex from what he had heard from friends or seen on the internet.In the books favour, there are some sweet and genuinely amusing moments which might appeal to some readers. The problem is that often these moments are either too brief, or they become running jokes which stop being funny long before the story ends.
Altogether we were disappointed by Queerwolf which promised so much, but delivered so very little.That being said, there were one or two moments which did make us titter quietly to ourselves, but would most likely be forgotten as quickly as it was read. A reasonable attempt by Rosen, but sadly not a memorable one.