w529847In Andrew Klavan’s novel Werewolf Cop, renowned detective Zach Adams and his partner Martin Goulart work for Homeland Security’s Extraordinary Crimes Division based in New York City. Adams and Goulart professionally complement one another despite their personality differences. Former Texan Adams, known as “The Cowboy,” is a family man married to a devout Christian. Divorced womanizer Goulart is intentionally un-politically correct and embodies his nickname of “Broadway Joe.” Their harmonious work relationship withers when suspicion and deceit create friction. Their boss, Rebecca Abraham-Hartwell, suspects Goulart of siphoning confidential information to the notorious international criminal mastermind, Dominic Abend. Adams, in the meantime, is being blackmailed by Margo Heatherton, with whom he had a quickie. Though plagued by adulterous guilt concerning the illicit carnal romp, his remorse gets trumped by a larger issue. While investigating a lead in Germany on the mysterious and elusive Abend, Adams is attacked by a werewolf. From there, things get really hairy.

The attack in Germany and Zach’s subsequent lupine transformations are extremely graphic and chilling. There’s gore galore, quite cinematic in execution. While the visual imagery is potent, Klavan doesn’t neglect fleshing out his characters, lending a sense of verisimilitude to the supernatural elements of the story. The narrative’s women are particularly intriguing: Zach’s wife Grace personifies unshakeable religious faith and strength of purpose, and boss Rebecca Abraham-Hartwell, is a properly tenacious Director of the Extraordinary Crimes Division. Even the obsessed Heatherton, who vacillates between wild ultimatums and unsubtle seduction attempts, is a comprehensible sociopath.

Incorporated throughout the yarn are philosophical ruminations on the nature of sin, imparting a murky gravitas to the plot. The pondering proves ponderous, segueing into a denouement laden with metaphysical musings. While these detracting elements don’t obliterate the novel’s many virtues, they do target Werewolf Cop for the paraphrasing of an idiom: “It came in like a werewolf, and went out like a lamb.”