Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review: Wolfsbane by William W. Johnstone

They say that you never forget your first, and for me this one was a first in two areas.  Not only was Wolfsbane my first William W. Johnstone book, but it was also the first book I ever owned from Zebra Books.  Published in the late 1980's the book came from a time when Zebra's Horror imprint was on top and nearly every edition had a skull or skeleton in the artwork on the cover.  (And as I am sure you know I have a huge skull and skeleton fetish.)

The story was my introduction to the typical Johnstone horror tale, featuring monsters, cults, Satanism, a former war hero/soldier of fortune male lead, salacious sex and graphic violence.  Johnstone's horror to many is a cheap man's Stephen King, penny dreadfuls churned out in a hackish, but endearing style.  In this story a cult of Satanic werewolves has set up shop in Durcos Parrish, Louisiana, to do the dirty work of the Dark Lord, as well as assorted other naughty things, and it's up to Johnstone's dye-cut, bad ass, hero to take them all down.

I have to admit that William W. Johnstone is one of my favorites, and despite his style and sometimes carbon-copy (plug cliche in here) storytelling and stories, I do count him in as one of my influences because one thing he always was innovative with was coming up with new ways to maim and dismember victims in his stories.  Of course, when I speak of William W. Johnstone I do mean the actual William W. Johnstone and not the "continuation" of his western works since his death in 2004 by "J.A. Johnstone" or other ghost writers.  Wolfsbane itself is from a time when Johnstone's horror work was beginning to really take off.  It is not my favorite Johnstone book, but it did hold my interest enough to make me want to buy more of his works, thus turning me into a rabid Johnstone fan.

I give Wolfsbane by William W. Johnstone Four Stars.  If you have never read him before he is well worth the read, and he was a very versatile writer in his time, writing not only horror and westerns, but also men's adventure, post apocalyptic and even contemporary romance.  Many of his horror stories are out-of-print, but if you can find one in good condition and at a reasonable price I can assure you that you've found gold.  Be sure to keep a lurk out for this blast from the past!

Master Vyle

No comments:

Post a Comment