on March 3, 2004
In the small Maine town of Tarker's Mills, on a snowy January night when the blizzard hides what would have been a full moon, a railwayman holed up in his cabin has his throat savagely ripped out. The same thing happens again on the night of the full moon in February, only this time the victim is a lonely spinster sighing over some valentines she sent to herself. And again in March, April, May... there's a monster afoot, but it's only Marty Coslaw, a small boy in a wheelchair, who first realizes it's a werewolf, and then guesses who it is. We guess, too, and Stephen King lets us know by the middle of the book just who it is. From that point, the book deals with how to stop the horror, as the months roll by and the bodies pile up on the night of each full moon.
Most of the months are marked with special days in the calendar, and King tells us in a coda he realizes there is no way the lunar cycle could be skewed the way he tells it, but it in no way detracts from the fun. Copiously illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings and color plates by Bernie Wrightson, it's an enjoyable novella that can be read in an evening. Each little chapter is a story in itself, and together they make up a satisfying horror yarn.
on October 26, 1999
I have tiptoed around actually sitting down to read this book for a long time and when I saw a mint condition copy at a local book sale I grabbed it. I wasn't disappointed. Simple minded critics have attacked the brevity of the book (I guess the concept of the short story is beyond them) but it really is a good "werewolf" story. The illustrations helped move the book along though. I recommend that if you are sick of watching half hour situation comedies on television pick this book up. It's a good diversion from tv.
on December 30, 1999
I'd read this book when it was first released, but I decided to make a return trip; I liked it more the 2nd time around! King, along with famed illustrator Berni Wrightson, weaves a tight, tense year-long narrarative of a small Maine town dealing with a monthly visitor. The chapters are short and to the point; King doesn't waste a single word. Wrightson, for his part, brings some of the key scenes to life very vividly. (Who wouldn't LOVE to own one of these paintings?)The book itself is a BEAUTIFUL package; the paintings are wonderfully reproduced. It won't take long to read, but you'll find yourself making a return trip to Tarker Mills before long. It's just that good.... and just TRY to forget the painting of the Werewolf on top of the Semi.....I dare you!
on June 8, 2005
CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF was the first Stephen King novel that I ever read. I read it when I was 13 or 14 years old and found it to be quite scary. Just recently, my little brother read this book and loved it. And he also saw the film SILVER BULLET, the film King made out of the book. So I decided to get this book again and was thrilled with how great it is!
CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF is a story laid out over one year with each chapter covering a month. During each month, citizens of Tarker's Mills, a sleepy Maine town, are falling prey to something terrifying, something almost human. And only a wheelchair-bound young boy survives and can stop the carnage!
The book is terrifying and smartly-written. The werewolf attacks are described with such precision that you don't want to put the book down. And the illustrations by Bernie Wrightson go along beautifully with the text! One day, I would love to make a TV-movie out of this book (most likely for TNT) and make it faithful to the book!
on March 13, 2000
Anybody who reads Cycle of the Werewolf will notice something unique. Instead of chapters in the book, there are months. And for every month there is a slaying, until the werewolf is stopped. Stephen King did a nice job of writing this, I heard that Stephen King wrote this book in less than 2 hours! That is unbelievable because i think he did a very nice job of writing this book. This doesn't really resemble a normal King book in my opinion, because the main character is not determined until chapter 7, or July. But the book still has something that everyother king book has, and that is good suspense and very detailed scenes. I think this is what makes his writing so good. I don't really know if you can use this book as a model, but none the less it is still good. Now, I am going to include a quote from where Marty Coslaw encounters the beast on the 4th of July: "It has almost reached him-it's clawed hands, so like-unlike human hands, reaching for his throat-when the boy remembers the packet of firecrackers. Hardly aware he is going to do it, he strikes a match and touches it to the master fuse. The fuse spits a hot line of red sparks that singe the fine hair on the back of his hand, crisping them. The werewolf, momentarily offbalance, draws backwards, uttering a question grunt that, like his hands, is nearly human. Marty throws the packet of firecrackers in it's face." I think this really get's the reader involved in the story. I can't get this book enough praise, but, if you are not into slow moving plots, than I wouldn't suggest this book for you. If you do like slow moving stories, than this is the book for you.
on February 7, 2016
Cycle Of The Werewolf is a fantastic Novelette, and my personal favorite werewolf story to read. Keep in mind though, this is indeed a novelette, so don't expect it to be a long read.
If you've never read 'Cycle' but instead seen the film 'Silver Bullet', which is based on this novelette, you will find a lot of differences. One of the biggest ones to me, is the relationship between Marty and his sister.
The book is split up into months, acting as chapters, which gives it a nice variation in the weather, and over all mood of the characters. One of the most appealing aspects of this book, is the amazing artwork. Matter of fact, there's so many illustrations, that it kind of feels like a text heavy graphic novel.
The copy I received from Amazon arrived in perfect condition, and I would highly recommend this to anyone 18 and over.
on July 10, 2013
Spoiler alert--don't read this unless you don't mind knowing what happens
When I thought about it, this reminds me of the movie "Jaws" in a way--the Beast terrorizes the town for quite a while before everyone is willing to face up to the reality that it exists and they need to kill it. The book begins in January, and it is September before the brother of a farmer whose hogs are slaughtered by the werewolf voices the opinion that it is a werewolf (not a deranged serial killer as everyone had been saying),that everyone knows that it is a werewolf, and that they have to stop "d..king around" and hunt the creature before it kills again. It is November before the hunt begins in earnest, as they chose to wait until the trees are bare and the tracking was easier. The hero of the book is a crippled child--it is he who wounds the werewolf initially and ultimately kills it with silver bullets provided by his uncle, the only adult who halfway believes him about what attacked him--but this is not a book suitable for children. Besides the various decapitations and people/animals who are disemboweled, the f-bomb is dropped a few times and it is implied (but not directly stated) that the Beast engages in bestiality with its second victim before it kills her. Worth reading, and reading again, like most of S. King's work. Try it, you will like it.
Stephen King dedicates this book to Davis Grubb (1919-). A dedication which is richly deserved, first, because Grubb's great novel "The Night of the Hunter" (1953) is truly one of the most disturbing stories of children confronting evil that has ever been written (there's an equally chilling 1955 movie version, Charles Laughton's only directorial effort); second, because King cadges a key theme & the finale of Grubb's novel. But unfortunately, in calling to mind such a haunting forbear, it serves to remind us, once again, of how forgettable King's own work tends to be.
This book represents King's entirely straightforward and unoriginal take on the legend of the Werewolf. It seems as if it was probably intended for a younger readership; in addition to the Grubb reference, the hero is a handicapped boy and the book features illustrations by renowned comic book artist Bernie Wrightson. In fact, Wrightson's art may be the best thing about the book.
The book isn't bad--in fact, it's entirely possible that King is unable to write a truly bad book. But it is a pretty pedestrian work. I think teenage boys would enjoy it, but for anyone else it will only fill time, and that briefly. Adults, try Night of the Hunter instead.
If you're looking for a great way to kill a lunch break, pick up "Cycle of the Werewolf". A crisp scary tale about a small town's year dealing with a Beast in their midst. I don't know if you would categorize this tale as a novella or a long short story, either way, you'll breeze through the story in an hour.
As the tale opens, it's a cold, snowy evening in January, and as the citizens of Tarker's Mill are tucking themselves in, the Beast takes it's first victim. The tale plays out with each chapter centered around each month's full moon. The body count rises, and the people of Tarker's Mill begin to wonder if they have a monster or a madman walking among them, and it seems that only 10 year Marty Coslaw may know the answer.
As you can imagine, there is almost no character development here, and honestly as I read I kept waiting for Marty and Uncle Al to play a larger role in the story (I'm sure this is because of the "Silver Bullet" film adaptation), but even our main characters are little more than secondary characters here. I guess the only character that's fleshed out to any degree is the monster (no spoilers here, so I won't name them).
If you like King's short fiction, you'll like this story. If you are looking for something with a bit more depth, you may want to pick up something else. I would like to note the artwork included in the novel. While I enjoyed the drawings, I found that their placement in the story almost always provided spoilers about how and when the monster would attack. Maybe they could push each illustration back by one page?
on October 10, 2001
Divided up into basically twelve short stories all dealing with a werewolf in a small Maine town, Cycle of the Werewolf is more of a mood piece that a novel but its still an entertaining read. Because of the structure -- each month giving us a new victim to meet and quickly bid a fond farewell -- this book doesn't contain the in-depth characterization that most King fans expect from the writer and, as a result, the supernatural threat never becomes personalized for the reader. Its a book that manages to cast a gloomy pall without actually achieving any real horror. That said, Cycle of the Werewolf is still a quick and fun read, especially if you're a fan of the whole werewolf legend. King's prose is quite strong here and, if you're like me and a part of the minority of readers who actually think King's book have gotten a bit excessive and self-important as of late, this book serves as a good reminder that before he became STEPHEN KING, GREAT WRITER AND SELF-STYLED LITERARY ICON, he was just a goofy guy who wanted to scare people. In this book, King comes across as an overly earnest summer camp counselor trying to tell a creepy story in front of a campfire. Its a lot of fun and there's something to be said for that.