The Last Werewolf
- Yasmin Sulaiman
- 15 March 2011
Glen Duncan's mystery thriller balances a penchant for culture references with a gripping narrative
Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf may be about a supernatural being but this is no ordinary fantasy. The novel is framed as the diary of 200-year-old Jacob Marlowe, the last werewolf on earth, who is pursued by government-sanctioned hunters and is resigned to death until he discovers a secret that makes him yearn for life. As in past offerings like I, Lucifer and Weathercock, Duncan’s novel deftly eludes categorisation. It’s part thriller, part romance, part existential mystery, and every other page is spattered with either blood or semen. Moreover, it’s suffused with cultural allusions that span the breadth of film and literary history, from Jane Eyre to David Fincher’s Se7en.
But these achievements are simultaneously the book’s downfall. Duncan’s prose is often too crowded and sometimes too self-aware to properly digest its apocalyptic tone. It’s only in the middle of the novel, when Marlowe makes his life-changing discovery, that the story starts to fulfil its racy potential and begins the ascent towards its electrifying final pages.