Friday, April 3, 2009


Genre - Horror
Year Published - 2009 (Published by Leisure Books/Dorchester Publishing Co, Inc.)
Length - 339 pages
Written by Ray Garton

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Something very strange is happening in the coastal California town of Big Rock. Several residents have died in unexplained, particularly brutal ways, many torn apart in animal attacks. And there's always that eerie howling late at night...

You might think there's a werewolf in town. But you'd be wrong. It's not just one werewolf, but the whole town that's gradually transforming. Bit by bit, as the infection spreads, the werewolves are becoming more and more powerful. In fact, humans may soon be the minority, mere prey for their hungry neighbors. Is it too late for the humans to fight back? Did they ever have a chance from the start?

First of all, for those who may be unaware, Bestial is a sequel to last year's Ravenous - a sequel that I have been counting down the days for! [Bestial just came out, this past Tuesday]

Until I read Ravenous, Animals [written by John Skipp & Craig Spector] had been my favorite werewolf novel - that quickly changed though - in fact, Ravenous pretty much changed my opinion of werewolves in general. [I had always been a fan of werewolves, however my tastes leaned more towards the vampires written by Lumley, Wellington, and Garton himself. . .]

Ravenous changed all of that - I began to long for Garton's werewolves to take on any of the above vampires [except for perhaps Lumley's, as his could no doubt hold their own, yet I digress]

Anyhow, it looks like I may soon be getting my wish!

You see, Garton has also written two excellent vampire novels [Live Girls & Night Life] and in Night Life, Garton introduced two private investigators [Karen Moffet & Gavin Keoph] who were hired by an eccentric horror novelist [think Garton himself - in fact, Garton even alludes to this by mentioning one of the author's previous books about alien women with fanged vaginas - for those who have read Garton's 1st novel, 'Seductions', this is all too familiar!] Anyhow, the author [Martin Burgess] hired Moffet & Keoph to look into the subject matter that he writes about - to see if perhaps any of it actually exists.

Well, it just so happens that in Bestial, Burgess has once again hired Moffet & Keoph and sent them to Big Rock, California to look into the rumors of 'werewolves' [that came about in Ravenous] So, do you see where this is heading?!? I definitely sense a cross-over in the works! [especially given the way Bestial ended]

Enough about all of that though - I am hear to review Bestial - I just figured that a little background information would benefit those who have never read any of the other books mentioned - in fact, it may just be best to give a little background on Ravenous - you see, Garton's werewolves are created by a disease/wolf virus [Lupus Venerus] the catch is that it is sexually transmitted, which makes it all the more interesting! Like traditional werewolves though, silver is their weakness [a huge weakness, in my opinion, as silver only has to be introduced into their system for it to be fatal]

So, there you have it - now on to Bestial:

For anyone who knows or who has researched Garton, then you are aware that he was raised a Seventh Day Adventist. This plays a huge role in Bestial. Whether Garton was using this novel as a means of catharsis remains to be seen, however it sure felt as if Garton was exorcising his Adventist upbringing, while writing this novel. [there just seemed to be a lot of "personal bashing" towards the church and one of its founders - Ellen G. White] *On a personal note, I have actually researched this religion myself [I was not raised in the religion] and I feel that they actually have some really good doctrines, however I am not here to discuss all of that - if you wish, leave a comment, and I will be happy to discuss it in greater detail]

There is more to it than the author's past though, as all of it is integral to the plot of the story. [without giving too much away, the head werewolf, before he was turned, was also raised an Adventist, and he plans to use his knowledge of the church to exploit them - he plans to infiltrate the church, using it as a base of operations - he and his pack will then take over the businesses owned by the church members, their outreach programs, schools, hospitals, etc, spreading out into the surrounding communities - actually a very impressive and well thought out idea!]

Not only this, but a "new breed" has been born [with only a 3-month gestation period] which strengthens the werewolves' ideals that they are evolving and destined to become the dominant race!

I do not want to say anything more, in case I end up saying too much - if you doubt that this is an amazing read, then I encourage you to run out to your local bookstore and just read Garton's phenomenal prologue to this book - best 16 pages ever! :-)

If you have yet to read Ravenous, then I suggest that you read that one first [though you don't necessarily have to] I also suggest that you read Live Girls [which has nothing to do with Ravenous or Bestial] and its sequel Night Life [with the above mentioned investigators] as I feel that all of these books are heading towards an explosive cross-over event. I just know that we are going to see the werewolves from Ravenous & Bestial crossing paths with the vampires from Live Girls & Night Life. . .



Phantom of Pulp said...

Great review, Jason, and a very informed background on Garton and his previous works.

I have yet to get to this. Just finished "The Golem", which I'll review in the next week or so.

Garton really is an excellent writer, and he does well bringing a very personal perspective to his novels.

thebonebreaker said...

Thank you Phantom!

Garton is indeed an excellent writer - I look forward to anything that he writes.

I am looking forward to your review on The Golem, as that book is only a few down on my reading list.

Also, if you drop back by, stay tuned as I am preparing my review of a certain set of "Savage Sinema" films ;-)


Phantom of Pulp said...

I'm afraid. Very afraid!

thebonebreaker said...

No worries Phantom, No worries - I was quite entertained ;-)