AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Howling Mad by Peter David

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Welcome to the first day of werewolf book week. I am continuing with my theme of werewolves by talking about werewolf novels all week. The first book I want to talk about is Howling Mad by Peter David.

Howling Mad

Peter David is one of my favorite authors.  David is a sometime novel author, sometime comic book author and has written volumes of books and comic books throughout the years.  His most famous comic book work is with The Incredible Hulk and his most famous novel work is with Star Trek.  Some of my favorite Peter David books include Sir Apropos of Nothing, Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast, Star Trek: Q-Squared and Star Trek: Q-in-law.  David is also busy writing movie novelizations, including the ones for Spider-man 1-3, Fantastic Four 1-2, Iron Man, both Hulk movies and Batman Forever (don’t judge, it’s great).  David has also written several original novels like his King Arthur trilogy.  And yes, I read every single book I just listed above.

So naturally, in the late ’90s, while digging around the Internet, when I found out that David wrote a werewolf story in 1988 called Howling Mad, I was thrust into a quest. I decided I must have that book as I loved both werewolves and Peter David.  At this time, finding old books wasn’t as easy as logging onto Amazon or eBay and just buying it. If your local bookstore didn’t have it, odds are, Amazon would list it, but not have it in stock and eBay was still hit or miss for most things.  So I went looking for it by pounding the pavement. For several years. Luckily, around 1999, the book was re-published along with another older David book, Knight Life, the first in his Arthur trilogy.  I bought both books and read them.  And loved them.  Howling Mad, especially.

David’s take on the classic werewolf story is intriguing.  A werewolf hunts in the Canadian woods.  During one of his hunts, a regular gray wolf stumbles upon the werewolf and his kill.  The werewolf attacks and nearly kills the wolf.  The regular wolf barely escapes after being scratched and bitten.  During the next full moon, the wolf turns into a man.  The book follows this “man-wolf” on his adventures into an insane asylum, getting shipped to a NY city zoo, being found by a single woman who tries to ignore her feelings towards the mysterious man and helps him find the werewolf that originally turned him.  Through all this the wolf tries to adjust to his changing into a human man and interacting with the human world.

Like I said, it’s a fun and clever story that takes the werewolf tale and turns it on its ear.  The book is short, just barely reaching 200 pages thanks to a page and a half epilogue at the end and it’s funny.  While not being as uproariously good as I remember, it’s definitely worth a read.

However, as for David’s entire oeuvre,  I would still recommend his original novel Sir Apropos of Nothing before this as well as his Star Trek books Q-Squared, Q-In-Law and Imzadi.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.


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