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The Pack, review by Matteo Strukul

The Pack, Jason Starr is a badass genius and his new series about werewolves and stay-at-home-dads, set in New York City, is a must read!

Title: The PackThe Pack
Author: Jason Starr
Publisher: ACE
Pages: 464
Price: $8,99 (Mass Market Paperback)

I recently read The Pack and The Craving, two amazing novels written by one of my favorite American novelists: Jason Starr. These two books compose a Werewolves saga and I have to confess that it is a must read! Fast paced action, amazing dialogue(s) and wonderful characters for a nonstop action roller-coaster.

The story (of The Pack) is about an advertising executive, Simon Burns, who is fired from his job. Now, Simon is unemployed and his life as stay-at-home-dad with his 3 year old son Jeremy is harder than it at first seemed. More than this, Simon has issues with his wife and counseling isn’t helping their intimacy issues. But, after a while, at the local playground, he meets a trio of other dads: Michael, Charlie and Ramon. Now, Simon has some friends to hang out with during the day, and his kid is finally happy because he has other children to play with. After a crazy night of partying with his new friends at Michael’s place, Simon blacks out. He wakes up in the woods naked and does not remember anything, , but feels stronger and has a much more powerful sense of smell. On that day, a wolf slaughtered Tom, Simon’s former boss. Returning at home, Simon discovers he has a new insatiable appetite for life, for running into the woods, for making love to his wife and for eating raw steak.

That’s how the story begins; I must confess that The Pack and its sequel The Craving are classical Jason Starr storytelling: ordinary people with ordinary lives and extraordinary problems. Starr cooks up a fantastic double horror-thriller combining classical comedy elements – with his gifted and talented style for dialogues and over-the-top situations – and an amoral, pulpy, noir perspective.

I really loved the fact that Jason chose to set this entire series in New York City, especially for a foreign reader like I am: the setting is a real character in these two novels and, as a reader, you can see, taste and explore the town on different levels. In some way this is a real homage that Jason pays to his city: the reader can feel it, and that’s really amazing.

On the other side, the horror element is key to keep up intensity and suspense. Starr is a master, and he’s at his best when his characters must explain inexplicable mysteries or superhuman powers, for instance when Simon tries to explain to his wife Alison what he has become…

I definitely recommend these two novels, and I am willing to fight to persuade some Italian publishers to put their Italian versions on the shelves!

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