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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Book Review: The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu

The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu
Genre: Adult Fiction (Historical Fiction)
Date Published: September 29, 2022
Publisher: Self

Alma Katsu, the visionary author of The Fervor, The Hunger, and The Deep, brings readers a terrifying short story about monsters among men—and the thin lines that divide them.

Germany, 1945. In the waning days of World War II, the Nazis have been all but defeated. Uwe Fuchs, never a fighter, feels fortunate to have avoided the front lines as he cared for his widowed mother.

But Uwe’s fortune changes when Hans Sauer, the village bully, recruits him to join a guerilla resistance unit preparing for the arrival of Allied soldiers. At first, Uwe is wary. The war is lost, and rumor has it that Hans is a deserter. But Hans entices him with talk of power, brutality, and their village’s ancestral lore: werewolves.

With some reluctance, Uwe joins up with the pack and soon witnesses their startling transformation. But when the men’s violent rampage against enemy soldiers takes a devastatingly personal turn, Uwe must grapple not only with his role in their evil acts but with his own humanity. Can he reclaim what this group of predatory men has stolen from him?

Or has he been a monster all along?

The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu had a very interesting premise, but this was a story that needed to be full length rather than told as a short story. For such a short story, I feel like the little bit of time we had wasn't utilized as well as it could have been. We're automatically invested in the characters' lives, because we know the horrible history behind what is going on, but as individual characters, I didn't really get to know much about them. They are still strangers. I feel like this could have made an excellent full length story. The author's note at the end took a lot away for me too. I was glad to read that other reviewers felt the same. Sometimes I wonder if it's just me. I will give her props for leaving the politics (other than what was needed) out of her story though. I'd much prefer it in an author's note at the end rather than woven into the story like so many other authors are doing these days. I still want to read more of this author's work, because I enjoyed The Hunger so much.

Check out my review of another book by this author!

Alma Katsu’s books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, been featured in the NY Times and Washington Post, been nominated and won multiple prestigous awards, and appeared on numerous Best Books lists including NPR, the Observer, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Goodreads, and Amazon.

RED WIDOW is her first spy novel, the logical marriage of her love of storytelling with her 30+ year career in intelligence. As an intelligence officer, Ms. Katsu worked at several federal agencies as a senior analyst where she advised policymakers and military commanders on issues of national security. The last third of her government career was spent in emerging technologies and technology forecasting. She was also a senior technology policy analyst for the RAND Corporation and continues as an independent consultant and technology futurist, advising clients in government and private industry.

Ms. Katsu also writes novels that combine historical fiction with supernatural and horror elements. THE HUNGER (2018), a reimagining of the story of the Donner Party, was named one of NPR’s 100 favorite horror stories, was on numerous Best Books of the Year lists, and continues to be honored as a new classic in horror. Her first book, THE TAKER (2011), was named one of the top ten debut novels of 2011 by Booklist.

Ms. Katsu has relocated from the Washington, DC area to the mountains of West Virginia, where she lives with her musician husband Bruce and their two dogs, Nick and Ash.

To learn more about Alma Katsu and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

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