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Warwolf Paperback – June 30, 2011
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"Practitioners and fans of the mystery genre have long used Faulkner to shore up its sometimes shaky reputation. Sooner or later, they'll be doing the same with T. R. Pearson." -The New York Times
"It's a rare and awesome thing to see a writer take perhaps the worst there is -- the tawdry, vain, illiterate, squalid, lurid, basest parts of all that's unrefined -- and transform it magically into a rare and perfect tone for comedy. Pearson does it, and with the touch and control of a master of his craft." - Houston Chronicle
"Make no bones about it; Pearson is an authentic original, one of the few writers today of which that can justifiably be said." - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Top customer reviews
This is a fast read, and a pleasant one, but this book seemed a little rushed, as though the characters weren't thoroughly hashed out before publication. The character of the FBI agent is somewhat trite, and even though she is a main character we neither really get to know her nor exactly understand how she found out about this murder. There are many supporting characters that are sometimes hard to keep track of, and an occasional nickname thrown in (like "L") that isn't explained until it just shows up, requiring some thought-regrouping and backtracking.
So, while TR Pearson is definitely one of my favorite authors, Warwolf is not my favorite of his efforts. He's such a tremendous talent, though, even his lesser works are still worthy of four stars.
There are some authors that you read for plot, some you read for character development, some you read for historical accuracy. And then there are some you read for style, like P.G. Wodehouse or Garrison Keillor. I put T. R. Pearson in this category. It isn't so much the story he is telling as the way he tells it. He is the consummate Southern Desultory Storyteller, but in a very modern vein. If you have Southern relatives, or if you are a Southern storyteller yourself, you will love this book.
While searching for a lost dog, Deputy Delray "Ray" Tatum discovers a body lodged high in the limbs of a black oak tree. Later he discovers that this murder is but the latest in a crime spree of "peripatetic butchery" begun many years earlier in the Western states, and with more carnage yet to come.
"Warwolf" was the name of a trebuchet, a medieval engine of war with a sling for hurling missiles used in the Scottish Wars of Independence, and believed to be the largest such catapult ever made. A similar trebuchet had thrown the body from a nearby rock quarry into the black oak tree.
Desperate for clues to solve the mystery, Deputy Tatum, joined by Katherine "Kate" LeComte, a Special FBI Agent (herself somewhat of a loose cannon) scour the mountains and ridges, hills and hollows, of Appalachia searching for leads to identify and apprehend the killers.
As in other T. R. Pearson novels, Warwolf humorously describes the quirky inhabitants of backwoods Virginia. Tatum muses, "I was stunned by the sheer magnitude of the squalor, and this in a part of the world where living in squalor is a kind of local avocation. If it had been up to me to write the county motto, I would have made it the Latin version of 'Aim Low.'"
Most of these local "citizens" are trifling ne'er-do-wells whose chief offenses are misdemeanors (stealing anything and everything that isn't locked up or nailed down). As Tatum and LeComte painstakingly and persistently investigate the local familial clans, they slowly but surely whittle down the list of suspects.
In this police procedural, Tatum and LeComte, along with fellow law-enforcement officers Verle (the local sheriff), and deputies Ronnie and Doug, and aided by forensics from Richmond and Quantico, eventually unravel the identities of these bizarre serial killers who cut open their victims, take out their vital organs, and put them in jars.
A grisly read that requires readers with strong stomachs, Warwolf is a tense and gripping whodunit.