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Smarter Than the Average Werewolf Paperback – March 23, 2012
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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The main character, Harvey Drago, is a PI with an unusual ability, on the track of the West End Werewolf, a serial killer with a nasty M O. Along the way he meets a beautiful client, lots of crooks, cops with attitude and lots of blood, guts and gore--literally.
I am generally not a big fan of paranormal fiction but this one is exceptional. It has that noir feeling with just the right amount of humor. I think you will enjoy it. Great job, Mark!
A good read for a Nashvillian, a visitor or anyone that has an interest in Nashville.
I look forward to the future adventures of Harv Drago. He will be a favorite of many readers.
Storybook detective you will enjoy the chase of this tale.
Plenty of grit, plenty of drama, dangerous attractions, secrets, scandals, violence, wisecracks, and witty banter … what’s not to love? Best of all, in both, the actual flamboyance of the genre tropes was downplayed to take a backseat to the detective angles instead of being center-stage. Here are main characters with unusual abilities that certainly come in handy in their respective lines of work, but aren’t made a big flashy deal of.
Or even really explained, in the course of things. Just isn’t needed. We can accept without being given all the info dump history right up front that Jessica has extraordinary strength … and we can accept, without being told a reason, that Harvey Drago can go insubstantial. That’s just the way it is, and it isn’t the main focus of the story.
Neither, despite the title, is lycanthrope. Yes, there’s been a series of grisly murders, courtesy of what the press has dubbed The West-End Werewolf, and yes, Drago’s been hired to look into them. But what follows isn’t a monster hunt. It’s a mystery, and unraveling the various clues and connections like any good gumshoe is the whole point.
Along, of course, with complicated entanglements involving the ethics of involvement with clients, professional detachment, working with (or around) the police, etc. The more Drago pokes into the case, the more he’s led into deeper trouble, and the more enemies he makes along the way.
The glut of minor characters did bog me down a few times, and some of the relationships between them came off a bit forced, but overall Drago presented as a likable and sympathetic guy, troubled but not broken, unable to get close to anyone for not quite the usual reasons.
The setting’s modern and Tennessee, but the noir-nostalgia factor is there, and it still feels in many ways like an old black-and-white movie. And the ending leaves opportunity for further adventures, which is always aces in my book.
Harvey Drago is a direct descendant of the hard-boiled mid-century detectives; he's a pragmatic, dryly funny loner, bearing a good heart and secrets. He's an easy protagonist to like. The Nashville environs are limned with affection and an eye for detail.The dialogue crackles nicely, and secondary characters are briefly but vividly defined. The plot lurches to a slow stroll in a few places but generally hums along.
If noir fiction seasoned with a dash of the paranormal appeals to you, this will absolutely entertain. I hope to see more titles from the author.