☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 4 stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••
What it’s about:
Threatened by financial ruin, widowed bakery owner Catherine Mercy leads a solitary life with more interest in reading about werewolf lore than in finding a man. Her one true love disappeared after high school and her now deceased husband kept her trapped in the house claiming that a werewolf might hunt her down one day, just as her grandmother repeatedly warned her. When Hollywood interrupts the town’s monotony by shooting a werewolf movie on location, Catherine decides to audition. Already in her thirties, she feels ridiculous trying to become an actress, but lands the leading role.
Catherine’s daily routine turns into a hair-raising adventure as fame begins to monitor her wanderings and she falls for her sexy costar Greg Byron, in spite of the actor’s neon warning sign that flashes conceited womanizer. Just when romance sparkles, a wolf bites Greg.
While Greg’s features turn lupine, Catherine discovers a resemblance between the movie script and her family’s history. Afraid, Catherine recruits werewolf expert Steve to figure out if the movie’s werewolf legend is real and Wolfern, the werewolf her grandmother spoke about, has finally come for her. If it is, Greg will turn into a dangerous werewolf. Only finding a way to undo Greg’s curse and destroying Wolfern before the next full moon can save their love and their lives.
Werewolf Nights blends fantasy, intrigue, and passion to create a chilling, unique story.
Werewolf Nights by Mari Hamill has a little bit of everything, making it hard to pin down the genre. I expected a fun, campy book when I saw the cover art, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Hamill starts her book with some Norse lore about the first werewolf and how werewolves came to reside in Michigan. I have no idea if she created all or some of the lore, but the prologue is the perfect set up for the premise of and tone in Werewolf Nights.
In the small town of Wereville, Michigan, werewolf lore is inherent to the culture. The town hosts droves of tourists who come to the town for the annual Festival of the Wolf. The descriptions sound like a darker version of Mardi Gras mayhem with people pretending to be werewolves or hunters thereof. The festival-goers bring much-needed business to Cathy Mercy’s Full Moon Bakery. Cathy has lived in Wereville her entire life, and it seems her family history is tied to the legend of the werewolves. She’s mysteriously lost two great loves (a high school sweetheart and her husband), and years later she still suffers from the small town gossip surrounding her lovers’ vanishing acts. With the help of her small, but solid, group of close friends, she effectively ignores the gossip mongers and focuses on her struggling business.
The current year’s Festival of the Wolf has again swelled the town’s population; additionally, a movie about werewolf lore is being filmed at the spooky, uninhabited mansion, Wolfern, located just outside of town. We meet the slightly creepy Charles at the bakery as he grabs a bite to eat at the end of the day. Cathy clearly wasn’t creeped out like I was because she agrees to go on a date with Charles. The film production brings Greg Byron, actor-extraodinaire to Wereville. He also seemed creepy to me, but he’s catnip to Cathy! There are a handful of secondary characters, but the only one that really merits a mention is Steve, the local werewolf lore expert. It’s a good thing that he is a close friend of Cathy’s because she needs his expertise.
The plot starts a bit slow with the telling of the werewolf history and establishing the relationship between the werewolves and humans, however, it picks up quickly once all the characters have been introduced. Hamill’s writing provides vivid imagery of drunken, carefree festival crowds who seemed like a cross between attendees of Woodstock and a Star Trek convention. They were really into the festival and the partying! There is a sense of foreboding throughout the book. Some of it comes from Cathy’s absolute fear of the festival due to her grandmother’s warnings about werewolves (are you thinking Little Red Riding Hood about now? Me too!). There is a lot going on in Werewolf Nights, and Hamill admirably wove all the pieces together. In addition to the lore, the movie production, and the festival, there are people vanishing!
Werewolf Nights is Mari Hamill’s debut novel, and a 3.5-4 star read for me. It’s not heavy dark horror; it’s not a paranormal romance. It’s like a 1950’s “B-movie” filled with kitsch and fun twists while Cathy and her friends work through the mystery.
About the author: Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mari Hamill graduated from Harvard with an A. B. in English and the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. in comparative literature. This world traveler – she’s lived in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Boston; Montreal; Paris; Venice; and Lausanne, Switzerland – speaks French, Spanish, German and some Italian. A scholar, a writer, a public speaker, and a social media influencer—she’s been featured several times on Evan Carmichael’s list of the top one hundred twitter users in Los Angeles— she begins her career as a novelist with Werewolf Nights. Since the novel’s publication, she has talked to college students about writing, has had several appearances on the radio and at author events, and has even been the guest of honor at an improv show.