Howl of the Gods
by Rajesh Pandey
Stratton Press

"A very thin veil of steam rose from it as the clouds passed away from the moon and allowed it to shine with all its waxing brilliance. Hal wanted this night to end."

In this supernatural crime thriller, Lieutenant Hal Dillon hunts a terrifying killer in Moon Valley. When the novel opens, Hal, a “forensic specialist turned field agent” who ironically is afraid of death, is on an undercover drug deal that goes terribly awry. Someone has left a brutally murdered victim, prompting Hal to change course. He soon finds himself in uncharted territory with the gruesome investigation. Meanwhile, Mark Hunter hunts the vicious killer, or “the beast,” with special bullets as Hal, with the support of others, is equally propelled by curiosity and necessity to stop this fearsome killer.

Every aspect of this book builds towards a finale with the usual gun chases, slaughter, and romance in an attempt to hold the reader’s attention to its end. Pandey shifts between the hunter and the hunted in this modern-day ordeal of a not-quite-human killer terrorizing a town. Though this isn’t wholly original, Pandey does a fair job with his take on the lycanthrope trope. The visceral descriptions of the killer and the creepy atmospheric details of the woods form the meat of the plot and are the most intriguing parts of Pandey’s weighty novel. Here, Pandey examines the duality of man and the struggle of the human-versus-savage nature within the contexts of a familiar monster subculture. Although the narrative is laced with derogatory terms, they are used primarily in the character development of specific members of the cast as well as to portray individual viewpoints. Overall, Pandey presents horror fans with a conventional tale that fits squarely in the genre.

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