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The awards banquet will be held at Book Expo America (BEA) on May 29th in New York. http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1653
Number 20, Spring 2013
Published by Tartarus Press, 2013
Camera Obscura by Mark Valentine
Wolf Hunter by J.L. Benét, Belfire Press 2012, 200pp.
In the dying days of World War Two Hitler Youth member
Viktor Huelen is summoned to Schloss Huelchrath to take part
in an experiment intended to create a group of fanatical young
devotees of the Reich who would be able to transform them-
selves into werewolves. Decades later, two are still alive in the
United States; but when one of them is killed it becomes clear
that someone else knows of their existence—and possesses the
power to find and destroy them. Two university students are
fascinated by werewolf lore and the possibility of using occult
means to turn into the creatures they desire to be. Joining
forces and stalked by the mysterious killer, the paths of all
three cross in the pursuit, for their own differing ends, of the
When considering Wolf Hunter it is difficult not to recall
Darker Than You Think, Jack Williamson’s celebrated novel of
lycanthropy first published in book form in 1948. Like its elder
pack sibling, Benét’s novel is no great work of literature, but
an honest and straightforward piece of pulp fiction horror
mixing legend and folklore with a pseudoscience overlay to
produce a vigorous and often gory story owing much to its
genre ancestry. Wolf Hunter also invokes the perennial appeal
(if not desire) of the despised and commonplace for transfor-
mation into the glamorous, powerful—and deadly.
Fans of the more classical tales of nightmarish werebeasts are in for a cool treat when they delve into the novel Wolf Hunter written by J.L. Benét. With striking imageries of anguished souls, hair-raising monsters, blood-soaked terror and violent action, Benét creates a world that blends dark fantasy and lifelike characters and situations into a story of horror fiction par excellence.
Part One takes the reader back to the declining days of World War II, where we learn about a Nazi named Viktor Huelen who has been unknowingly selected for an unconventional experiment. Benét’s style, from the opening scene to the end, perfectly sets the mood and captures the imagination in these bygone days, creating an overall sense of authenticity for the reader. Within the castled walls of Schloss Huelchrath, Huelen learns the shocking secrets of shapeshifting—or one method of it—and the horror of what it rightfully means. Although Nazi occult connections have been used many times in film and literature, Benét’s depiction is intriguing and doesn’t come across stock. In particular a curious auditory device he introduces us to called a Feraliminal Lycanthropizer.
Part Two expounds on the mystical legends of shapeshifters, presenting to us different paths and viewpoints. Jack (the book’s title-referenced protagonist,) with his Native American heritage, is given a mission to stop a sudden assembly of rogue werewolves, because he, like all the bearwalkers of his people, know mankind would consider them monsters and seek to destroy them all…him included.
Steve Williams, a college student who’s obsessively interested in werewolves, starts to explore the myths, trusting to find truth, and will give or do anything to become one. With the enlistment of a couple like-minded friends, and eventually Viktor Huelen himself, he stops at nothing to gain the knowledge he needs to become the wolf. The story plays out to a satisfying closure with the possibility of future trouble in a world where unnatural beasts gnash their bloodstained teeth at terror-stricken prey.
The author’s superb descriptive narrative in Wolf Hunter is both smart and stimulating. I was pleasantly surprised by the high caliber of the writing. Some standout marks are the ways in which the author describes the shapeshifting scenes. It’s done with a creativeness that successfully transports the reader and is never campy or dull. Of interest is the inclusion of projecting the wolf spirit. Also there’s a good explanation on the history of shapeshifters and some illumination on the Nazi development of such an experiment. There’s a scene with college students attending a free showing of the movie Cat People (1982) starring Nastassja Kinski, which I personally dug being referenced. All of the characters in Wolf Hunter are many-faceted, complex human beings, which only elevates the incredible story for the reader. One memorable example is when the author expresses Steve’s disposition and outlook on life through the character’s mixed-race personal experiences and how it could correlate with his desire to become a werewolf. Part man; part animal. Different than the masses. And also the way he tells and justifies Viktor Huelen’s reluctant involvement in reenacting the damned lycanthrope ritual so near to the end of his miserable life. He had me sold. The book does contain a smattering of profanity and explicit sex that may offend some. Perhaps my only one mouse-squeak complaint would be the author’s overuse of the word stoic. But, hey, what’s a balanced review without at least one gripe, right? Yep, that’s all I got here, folks.
Wolf Hunter by J.L. Benét is nothing short of a well-written and well-researched fantastic horror story, and it earns a place on my best-of-the-beast-novels shelf.
Requesting Smashwords Reviews
16 March 2013 2 Comments
Hello Belfire readers and Smashwords members! Heck, even if you aren’t a member of Smashwords now, you might change your mind for free books…
All of our titles are up on Smashwords, our favorite multi-format, independent, ebook distributor. The thing is, not as many of the titles are reviewed over there, as there are on Amazon or BN. Today, we’re putting a call out to those who use Smashwords, and post reviews of the titles they read.
We’ve created a freebie coupon for each of our regular fiction titles released in 2012; poetry and New Bedlam titles are by special request only. The offer expires March 23rd, but we can always generate coupons for any title.
If you like the look of our list, and think you’d like to give a read & review, please contact us with your Smashwords profile link, and we’ll send you the coupon(s) of your choice. Comment below, use our contact form, DM or @ us on Twitter or Facebook, we’ll see you!
Feel free to use this offer to check out my book, Wolf Hunter.
Join local Colorado writers, Stephen Graham Jones, Jesse Bullington, Molly Tanzer , and J.L Benet. We be presenting some multimedia readings, and discussion celebrating there latest tomes. Special guests DJ Phibes will be providing the music.
Friday, March 8, 2013, at 7 pm at the Broadway Book Mall, 200 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209. To pre-order or for more information, call 303-744-BOOK (2665). www.BroadwayBookMall.com
To RSVP, or to get more info, check out the Facebook Event Page:
Angela Crawford – Aug. 7, 2013
Snake Bite Horror (reviewed by Nathan Robinson) – 7/29/2013
The Geekdom of Gore reviews Wolf Hunter: http://thegeekdomofgore.blogspot.com/2013/03/wolf-hunter-by-jlbenet.html
The Monster Librarian Presents: Reviews of Werewolf and Shapeshifter Fiction
Wolf Hunter by J.L. Benet*New Review
Belfire Press, 2012
Available: New and e-book
Wolf Hunter has three interwoven plot threads. The first starts at the end of World War II. A group of Nazi scientists is preparing to initiate the final stage of tests that, if successful, would turn an ordinary soldier into the ultimate fighter—a werewolf. The fate of The Fatherland rests on the outcome of the tests. Unfortunately, the tests do not go as planned.
Skip ahead decades, to a young man on a mission to protect the secrets of shapeshifters for his Ojibwa tribe. A shapeshifter known as a bearwalker, he is hunting a former Nazi who underwent the top secret testing. He is to destroy all sources of the knowledge, perverted by the Nazis, which would harm the bearwalkers.
Finally, an unhappy college student, frustrated by his life and fascinated by the darker side of history and the occult, discovers clues that lead him closer to his ultimate desire. Vague references to the Nazi werewolf experiments only serve to whet his appetite. He decides he must become one. A few of the scientists are named, so he decides to reach out for some help…one way or the other.
This is a good read. J. L. Benet starts out with an interesting way to create werewolves by having Nazi scientists bring the legend of the occult back to life. This sets the stage for the themes of good vs. evil in the forms of selfishness and desire for world domination being countered by the desires for redemption and to set things right, no matter the cost. Benet does a good job balancing and tying together the three main characters’ plotlines. The voice of each character is distinctive, which keeps the segments separated and also creates conflict between them as the story unfolds. The suspense builds steadily as the story shifts through the three characters’ lives. The action of the final climax is well-scripted as everyone converges for the birth of a new age or the preservation of the old one. Benet’s descriptions are effective without being overdone—just enough to keep the story moving and the reader interested. In the end, this is an interesting take on a classic creature. Recommended.
Contains: Graphic Sex, Gore
Reviewed by: Aaron Fletcher
The Horror Fiction Review – March 2013
WOLF HUNTER by J.L. Benet (2012 Belfire Press / 200 pp / tp & eBook)
What they’re saying about Wolf Hunter:
“Horror meets mad science as Benét’s shape-shifting nightmare plays out in frightening detail against the backdrop of Nazi Germany.”
– Jason Jack Miller, author of Hellbender
“I know of two writers that I believe have the potential of rising out of the horror ghetto and producing books that the wider reading public will want to read despite the horror … one of them is Jack Kincaid and the other one is Jean-Loup Benét. Their work has heart. Yes, technically it is horror … it transcends the material that the majority of horror authors are content to produce.”
– Janrae Frank, World Fantasy Award-winning author of the Dark Brothers of the Light series
“I enjoyed it! … It’s well-written and accomplished and entertaining (and it has Nazis!)… It reminded me of classic-era Robert R. McCammon, and you can’t go wrong with that.”
– Brian Keene, Stoker Award-winning author of The Rising and Ghoul
“… has an imaginative, interesting plot … you get off some good licks and scenes like the medicine wheel scene (in which the dialogue is quite good)…”
– Jack Ketchum, Stoker Award-winning author of Off-Season and The Girl Next Door
“Benét reminds us in sickening detail that war can turn even the most benign men into beasts, leaving nothing in their wake but blood and guts and death.”
– Heidi Ruby Miller, co-editor of Many Genres, One Craft
“Benet’s novel puts at least three interesting twists into the werewolf genre. A promising reinvigoration of the genre. It’s got Nazis, it’s got kids behaving badly in college, it’s got werewolves; what more could you want?? Oh, yeah, there’s bloodshed and personal transformation. Quit reading the blurbs and just buy the book.”
– Timons Esaias – Asimov’s Readers Award Winner and Five Time Rhysling Award Nominee.
Wolf Hunter by J.L. Benet, Belfire, 2012, $10.99, ISBN 978-1927580035
I’m not normally a fan of werewolf novels for the same reason that I’m not really a fan of zombie stories – they all tend to use the same plot. Almost every werewolf novel is a mystery in which we have to figure out which of the various characters is the shapechanger. But there are always exceptions. Robert R. McCammon and Guy Endore come immediately to mind, and now J.L. Benet is added to that list. His werewolf is the result of Nazi experiments to create supersoldiers. After the war, the protagonist emigrates to the US where he tries, unsuccessfully, to keep his secret. A local researched investigating the Nazi experiments stumbles uncomfortably close, and there’s another shapeshifter who is determined to wipe out the German bred lycanthropes. There are bits of wartime thriller, contemporary adventure, and even a kind of urban fantasy motif in this always interesting and sometimes surprising thriller. 2/21/13
Clayton Bye’s review of Wolf Hunter:
Wolf Hunter-J. L. Benet
J. L. Benet
Belfire Press, Dec 3 2012, $10.99
Aware that the Third Reich was losing the war, Himmler authorized the creation of super soldiers. In a remote part of the Forest of Rhineland at Castle Schlosshuelchrath, scientists experiment in turning into werewolves Karl “Bear” Wahlsevski, Luther “Mountain” Grutzmann, Dr. Albrecht “Spy” Pactwandler and Hitler Youth Viktor Huelen. Luther dies while the other three succeeds but as Lycan they are uncontrollable. Viktor escapes settling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
In the present, University of Michigan student Steve Williams is an obsessed genius researching the werewolf mythos with a particular interest in Dr. Worklauf’s Nazi Lycanthopker experiments as he has a compulsive need driving him. At the same time, Jack the Ojibwa shapeshifter, hunting the Lycan abominations, kills a dying Albrecht in Chicago. Meanwhile, knowing what Viktor is, Steve demands the Lycan convert him; while Jack seeks to kill the werewolf and the wannabe.
Fast-paced, the gripping brisk Nazi experiment subplot affirms that war brings out the best and the worst in people as each side will have amoral people willing to do anything to gain the victory. When the storyline changes into an exciting modern day urban fantasy, the well-written horror plot becomes typical of the genre. Wolf Hunter is an entertaining though provoking thriller.
The Antrim Review – Linda Gallagher
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Those of you who enjoy reading Horror might be interested in my book, Wolf Hunter, which recently came out from Belfire Press.
Wolf Hunter – In the waning days of WWII, the Nazis succeeded in creating the ultimate fighters, werewolves. Viktor Huelen escaped capture and made his way to America, where he lived for years undetected…until now.
In present day Detroit, Huelen is being blackmailed into sharing his dark gift with a group of college kids. Jack is an Ojibwa shapeshifter…
…and the only thing that stands between the werewolves and world domination.
The print version is now up on Amazon.
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Here is the publisher’s page, with more info:
For those wanting a print copy, so many people were interested in Belfire Press’ holiday discount (20% off print orders placed through Createspace) that they have decided to extend the offer until Jan. 1st. Just use the code CNW8CEU8 at checkout.