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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2008
In a sleepy little town, evil is bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to erupt. Women are getting violently raped, dead bodies are rising from their slabs in the morgue to walk out, vicious murders are taking place, and strange creatures, resembling large wolves are stalking the darkening abyss of the night.

Meanwhile, a man named Daniel Fargo has the answer to the riddle; he understands that what the sleepy town of Big Rock is against isn't man made carnage, but something of the supernatural. Yes, Virginia, werewolves do exist. Now it's a race against time as the enigmatic Fargo tracks down the beasts, waiting for the day he might avenge himself. But, he's going to need help. In order to destroy the evil that lurks in the night, he must confide in the ever skeptical sheriff Arlin Hurley. However, Hurley is loath to believe the truth behind the myth and as he disregards Fargo, the murders persist. What will happen to Big Rock if the werewolves are not contained? What will become of our world as their evil seed spreads? Welcome to Big Rock --- population decreasing.

The wonderful world of Ray Garton's self styled horror is back in full force. The usual emphasis on sex, violence, and gory death has not been overturned in favor of the lighter side, but has darkened over the years, presenting the latest Garton, Ravenous with a bleak atmosphere complemented by the description of ever present drizzling rain, cold dark woods, and creaky abandoned houses festooned with mummified corpses. The ceaseless violence and mayhem begin immediately, never allowing the reader to awaken from the nightmare, never giving pause in the tale for a respite. Indeed, Garton has increased his love of mutilation and gore, presenting some scenes that are just too melancholy for modern audiences. For instance, the werewolves are not prey to discrimination as they happily feast on pregnant women and innocent children. Yes Garton, we want the violence, but not the sadness. This time, the horror genre has simply gone too far. Get depressed.

Garton's writing style is conducive to the atmosphere of dread, describing the scenes in vivid detail, entwining the language of horror with the emotions of the characters and the never ending hunger of a beast from legend. Garton chooses to allow his characters to narrate, alternating chapters between the protagonists and villains, giving each a distinctive voice and aura. This is perhaps one of the greatest elements in the story's success, since the language allows the tale to truly come to life, engulfing the reader in a story, that while unrealistic, is more than believable once the vivid language starts to paint a scene of death.

The characters are also a bleak lot, falling into yawning chasms of depression. They act appropriately horrified, saddened, and disgusted, making them become human. Garton even threw in a genuine love story that brings two characters vibrantly alive and grants the audience a much needed dose of sentimentality, allowing these specific characters to become central to the unfolding drama and gain our hearts along the way. Hurley, the disbelieving sheriff also proves to be a likeable, albeit short sited protagonist. Since most of the drama is told through his perspective we get to know and love Hurley as well making him a central character in our circle of protagonists.

However, despite the few characters mentioned above, most of the personalities in this novel only serve a meager purpose: future werewolf chow. Yes folks, they are there to get eaten over the course of several pages and their screams are intended to drag more sleepy eyed werewolf chow from their surprisingly insecure homes. The secondary characters are not totally devoid of humanity, and we, the collective audience, are still able to light the spark of empathy for them. The reader just wishes that before they were eaten, we could get to know them a little better. The human element is not missing, its just not Garton's best interpretation.

Ravenous is surprisingly imaginative in its modern retelling of the old wolf man themes. Garton, in a desperate attempt to get sex into all of his novels, has made lycanthropy transmittable only by sexual contact and since most of his characters are surprisingly licentious, it doesn't take the virus long to spread. See, you should always practice safe sex! Likewise, the werewolves are not just monsters baying at the moon (although there is a lot of that) nor are they the sympathetic souls who chain themselves alone in a room for the protection of mankind. They are cold, hard blooded killers that tell a surprisingly good story as they are allowed to narrate their own chapters, disclosing the secret thoughts of a lycanthrope for the reader's entertainment. As with all of his tales, Garton takes an ancient legend and gives it a modern twist making the familiar take on new dimensions.

As with Garton's preoccupation with violence, the sex scenes in this book have gone beyond traditional Garton and have become disturbingly violent taking the aura of despair to whole new levels. However, these scenes are not as frequent as the scenes of death and carnage, but nonetheless, they make the entire atmosphere a little too disturbing to be entirely enjoyable.

The plot is well structured and tension-filled, keeping the readers on the edges of their collective seats, forever trying to guess the woeful ending. But, to no avail! The plot twists, following shadowed corridors of violence, death, and lycanthropy leading the reader on a dangerous journey through a what-if scenario of gnashing fangs and great, silver lupine eyes staring out of the dark, rain soaked night. The conclusion races forward, delivering a shocking ending and more than one death leaving the reader to gasp as the very last sentence says it all, delivering a somber prediction for the future. The reader will be more than satisfied and will feel a prickling of curiosity, wondering just what will happen to the world after the last page.

Conclusion: Despite a few flaws, such as the rampant gore and some shallow characterization, Ravenous proves, in the end, to be worth the minor irritations. The protagonists grab our hearts and attention, the drama is all consuming, and the tension is rather addicting. The story will leave the reader breathless, waiting for more, staying awake all night, blood shot eyes riveted to the page, cups of discarded coffee strewn over the room, dawn seeping in around the window curtains. Fast paced, riveting, and entertaining, Ravenous is a novel to die for. Sweet dreams. To sleep, perchance to die.

- Ravenova
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First published in 2008, "Ravenous", by Ray Garton is a powerful, scary, graphically bloody and erotic take on the werewolf mythos that I many of us were first introduced to by the 1941 Universal film, The Wolfman starring Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the unfortunate cursed by the bite of a werewolf to turn into a werewolf "...when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright(or...the moon is full and bright in subsequent movies)"

But this is not your father's or grandfather's werewolf. This is Ray Garton's. Meshing Garton's trademark potpourri of lust, sex, blood and guts, "Ravenous" is perhaps the most original re-telling of the age-old man to wolf story. When I read Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" in 2011 and the sequel, 2012's "Tallulah Rising" (both of which I enjoyed tremendously), I thought that I had seen the first well-writtten, werewolf stories in recent years to capture the oddly harmonious blend of "sex, eat, kill, that" makes so much sense for werewolf tales. Duncan's writing has been criticized by many for being "too literary" but I in truth, I never understood those comments.

Now here comes Ray Garton. Actually, there went Ray Garton, because his werewolf saga was first published in 2008, three full years before Glen Duncan's, and the core werewolf behavior of "sex, eat, kill, that" was first described by Garton. The trinity was clearly espoused by him first And it is central to his mythos, more so than in Duncan's universe. In Garton's world, werewolves are not created by anything as impersonal as the bite of a werewolf. Nah, the virus is spread like an STD, and requires the victim to have intercourse, willingly or unwillingly, with a werewolf either in human or lupine form. Cool idea. I don't think there is any danger that a critic will read this one and opine that it is "too literary". This is the third Ray Garton novel I've read and I think it is perhaps the best one in terms of character development, unexpected twists and turns, and overall edge-of-your-seat excitement.

Long story (342 pages on my iPad) short, a single mysterious death starts Sheriff Hurley of Big Rock, CA on an journey into horror that he never expected. He is but one of several clearly drawn characters including a vicious wife-beater husband, his beautiful young wife, Andrea, and the slightly nerdish next-door neighbor twenty-something son living with his parents who has a big time crush on the lovely Andrea, and several others. Garton juggles and intertwines their stories like the seasoned pro that he is, and the result is a wonderful melange of sex, blood, the best and worst in human behavior, taut writing and plotting, and fast pacing that I suspect will keep many readers up way past their bedtimes turning just one more page to see what happens next.

As with all Garton's work that I have read, this one is NOT for those easily offended by realistic language and explicit sex and graphic gore. With that caveat,

Highly Recommended.

J.M. Tepper
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2008
If you have not yet read a Ray Garton book, then you are in for a treat!

Before I read this novel, Animals by John Skipp & Craig Spector was my favorite werewolf novel. . . No longer though. . .
Ray Garton has written the quintessential werewolf novel!

I have always been a fan of the hardcore, violent vampire novels - werewolf novels are generally good, yet I always preferred vampires to werewolves. However, due to this novel, Ray again has changed my preferences - the werewolves in this book could tear a vampire to shreds!! I so hope that Ray chooses to write another werewolf novel - preferably a sequel to this one!

I cannot rave enough about this book, so I am not even going to try.
It is a super fast read with great characters!!
Just go buy it and enjoy it!! You will be glad that you did!

myspace.com/horror_reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Author Garton brings his own special twist to werewolves in "Ravenous" just as he did to vampires in Live Girls.

In this snapping good look at "lupus verenus," don't worry about turning into a werewolf from scratches and bites. No - it takes sexual contact. So be warned that this isn't your kids' horror book. This is definitely the grown-up version.

Affairs, spousal abuse and all the intrigues of a small town plague Big Rock, California but it's the plague of werewolves that is killing that small town ambiance.

Fast paced, great character development, an author that doesn't shy away from killing off his characters (any of them) - all go into the best werewolf book I've read. I'm now looking forward to reading the sequel Bestial.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 29, 2008
Sheriff Arlin Hurley is faced with a dilema: a woman has just been attacked and raped, and a deputy murdered. The assistant coroner thinks it's an animal, but all evidence points towards a man. As the mystery (and plot) unfolds, the town of Big Rock is thrown under the shadow of the big bad wolf...

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love Garton's take on the werewolf genre. In fact, that's one of the reasons I picked this up--I wanted a horror novel that I could sink my teeth into, one with bite (how're the horror puns treating you?), that didn't rely upon much social commentary. I love Stephen King, I love Bentley Little, I love satircal horror--but I just wanted a horror novel that I could read and be entertained, without having to think too much.

I got it. And not much else, unfortunately. I wasn't expecting Shakespeare, no. You don't WANT Shakespeare, in a horror novel. But...naming a chapter "The Calm Before the Storm?" Having someone "pursue other pursuits"? To laugh a laugh? To scream a scream? For the action to keep flowing, the text has to keep flowing. And in that regard, Garton's novel fails. It all leads to an ending that is unsatisfying (though there is the hint of a great horror ending here, Garton doesn't build us up to it fully enough). I felt genuinely let down. And that is hard to come by in a horror novel, when you KNOW what to expect.

Garton's premise is brilliant. His notion of lycanthropy being an STD is almost revolutionary in the horror genre. But his execution of the story flounders; and ultimately, so does the story itself. I know most readers won't care; they're in it for the blood and guts and gratuitous sex (of which there is a lot, and I mean a lot). And kudos to Garton, for giving his readers what they want. But anyone who pays close attention is going to walk away disappointed. And it IS a disappointment--"Ravenous" had such a wonderful premise, I almost don't want to admit that the story didn't work for me. But it didn't, that's the cold hard truth, as painful as a werewolf's fang.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2008
There are some writers who instill a passion in their readers, who have a quiet, but loyal following that would go to the ends of the earth, if necessary, to lay their hands on the next precious copy of their latest work. Ray Garton is one of those writers. His prose literally shines. And yes, I'm one of those groupies:) But thanks to Leisure Books, me and all those others don't have to go quite that far.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ray Garton's work, RAVENOUS is a good place to start. Big Rock, California has a little bit of a problem--people are dying in hideously horrible ways. While the physical evidence points to a large, unbelievably large animal, eyewitnesses all tell of a human element being involved. Naturally, the local law enforcement is baffled, especially by the onslaught of half eaten corpses.

Big Rock is in the midst of an attack of werewolves, only this isn't your momma's werewolves. No, these are THE REAL DEAL. Forget the folklore, forget the rules. Everything goes out the window. These are some of the baddest mothers you could ever hope (or not) to meet in your nightmares. And they are hellbent on procreating--not through a bite, but through sex. And these werewolves are very, very hungry for more things than just food.

The action is hard and fast,connecting like a gut punch. No beloved character is safe. My jaw was constantly dropping (oh no, he didn't!!) Pardon the pun, but I devoured RAVENOUS in one sitting:)

Run, boys and girls, don't walk, run and pick up RAVENOUS!!! This is horror the way it should be done!! Don't miss it!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 10, 2008
The werewolf may be underappreciated in horror novels and movies - at least compared to vampires, zombies and serial killers - but Leisure Fiction is trying to make up for the deficiency by publishing three werewolf-themed books: Shapeshifter by J.F. Gonzalez, The Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier and most recently, Ray Garton's Ravenous. Despite some flaws, these three rather different books show that there is definitely room for werewolves in horror fiction.

Ravenous takes place in the small community of Big Rock on the California coast. Early on, Emily Crane is attacked and raped by a mysterious half-human beast; though she apparently kills it, that seems to not be the case as it escapes from the morgue. This is a werewolf, and unlike the lycanthropes of lore, this one does not transform others by bite but rather through sexual transmission. And like an STD, it slowly spreads through the community as the infected want sex at any cost, even if rape is required.

More that sex, however, the werewolves also have a taste for human flesh. On the side of the angels is Sheriff Arlin Hurley, who has a hard time accepting what's going on. Daniel Fargo, however, knows exactly what the score is: he has been werewolf hunting for a while and intends on killing the lead werewolf at any cost. Fortunately, he has an abundant supply of silver ammunition; unfortunately, the werewolf population may soon get out of control.

One flaw in this story deals with the relative ease that the werewolves multiply; with their population growth capable of growing exponentially very quickly (and very few people able to rein them in), it is unclear why they haven't overtaken all of mankind already (this issue is also common to vampire stories, or at least the ones which infection occurs merely with a bite). Another flaw is the underdevelopment of some of the characters, who often come off as relatively one-dimensional: we have the drunken wife-beater and the elderly busybody as examples of characters who rarely show any depth beyond their stereotypes.

Despite these flaws, this is actually a fun page-turner of a novel, similar in quality to Shapeshifter and The Nightwalker, although each novel offers a decidedly different take on the nature of lycanthropy. If you're a fan of horror, this is your chance to read a less familiar - but still good - author in the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written, the perfect length, characters were developed, an excellent plot. Best of all, nothing and no one was spared from werewolf mayhem! Realistically, that's exactly what would happen if there were werewolves walking around, so don't look for the cliched "happy ending", and "no children are ever harmed" bulls**t, that plague so many other books in the genre.

These werewolves are not cuddly, angst-filled, despondent creatures trying to "find" themselves, they are ravening beasts that crave two things: SEX & MEAT!

Looking forward to reading the second book "Bestial" as soon as it comes out in Kindle format, because I can't seem to locate a copy in
any bookstore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2008
I've been following the works of Ray Garton ever since Live Girls(which in my opinion is still the best) and Ray's take on werewolves in Ravenous is not only original but excellent.

Not to spoil anything but the werewolves in Ravenous while being the Howling/American werewolf in London type werewolf infects others not by bite but by sex.

Quite gory and well written, the action is fast paced and suspenseful.

Very Highly recomended....
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on August 2, 2012
Ray Garton is one of those authors that snuck his way onto my favorite authors list. Some authors I end up actively searching out their works: Tom Piccirilli, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum. Garton is one that I've picked up because I always remember liking his stuff and it looks interesting. And fortunately I remember right and have never been displeased with one of his books. RAVENOUS is his chance to enter the werewolf mythos and provide his vision of it.

Farrell Hurley is sheriff of a small, sleepy California town of Big Rock. Unfortunately his secretary is the latest victim of a serial rapist. While she ends up killing her attacker, the dead body gets up and walks out of the morgue. Coming to save the day, Daniel Fargo is the Van Helsing of the tale and has the answers. The rapist is a werewolf who is actually spreading the lycanthropy via sexual contact, a perverted from of a STD. Sheriff Hurley naturally is skeptical until he realizes that the evidence is too much and then must deal with the problem head-on.

While the story and plot is a new take on an old theme, the characters are maybe a tad shallow. You feel for some of them but at the same time, you know from the start that others are not going to make it. That doesn't stop you from enjoying the novel though. The story is still engaging and keeps you involved. There is more than enough of anything you might be looking for: scares, violence and sex. All in the traditional Ray Garton style. But be careful. You might one day realize that your bookshelf has more books by Ray Garton than you realized and he is a favorite author of you too.
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