Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

****Possible spoilers****

I usually know what I want to say about a book but Cycle of the Werewolf has left me at a lost for words. I don’t know how I feel about this book. Let me state that I am not a fan of Stephen King. I don’t find any of his books page turners for me. For me, his horror books do not do it. The only horror book I enjoyed was The Tommy Knockers. Now let me read The Green Mile or The Shawshank Redemption, and they were good stories. The characters were interesting and the story that he told had a meaning. It drew you in, and you wanted to know more. While this book did not bore me it did not wow me. I sat here waiting for the story to pick up to get more from the characters and possibly even more from the werewolf. What I got instead was glimpses like snapshots into lives of these townspeople right before they died.

The story starts out with a series of four murders over the course of four months each occurring on the full moon. With each of these horrible crimes, we get glimpses into the lives of the people in the small town of Tanker’s Mills. With each month that passes we get a little more information about life in the town and the werewolf. There is no guessing who the werewolf could because we are never given any clues until later in the book.
I will say that each of the characters covered are different in lifestyle and persona. You can distinctly tell their voice by the narrator’s words and their own. There was no confusion about who was talking. I think that was possible because most of the characters were the only covered in that “chapter.” If there were multiple characters, they were limited, but each word about them or spoken by them was picked carefully so the reader could tell who the main focus was.
As the story progress, we learn who the two main characters of this book are Marty Coslow and Reverend Lowe. Marty is a ten-year-old boy who hopes are dashed when the 4th of July fireworks are canceled due to a full moon. He is upset, and his Uncle who is a bit of an enabler gives him a package of fireworks and tells him to wait till after the full moon. First of all how many of us remember being ten years old or have a ten-year-old. We all know no one is going to wait. Marty decides that this is a good time to go out on the night of the full moon. In doing this, he encounters the werewolf and thank goodness for the irresponsible uncle because if Marty had not had the fireworks, he would have been the werewolf’s next victim.
Marty uses the fireworks against the werewolf and survives. His parents send him away, and for now, the boy is safe. It isn’t until he goes trick-or-treating with his father that Marty discovers who the werewolf is. Instead of trying to get others to listen to him he taunts the werewolf with letters. Asking him why he does it and why doesn’t he kill himself. I’m sorry, but this kid is not too bright because before the book ends, he signs his name to the letter. All I wanted to do was reach through the book and smack him upside his head. Let’s lead the suspected killer right to you then panic and beg your uncle for a gun.
The story ends with the werewolf coming to Marty’s house to silence him. The uncle sits on the couch with a gun in his lap and does nothing. Marty miraculously is a good shot and his second shot lands right in the werewolf’s other eye blinding him completely and killing him the process.
The ending felt anti-climatic, and nothing seemed satisfying. I think this book was a good example of tone and voice. You could feel that throughout the pages but anything short of that I was not enthralled by this story or left wanting another book to be written. I was left with wanting more to the characters in the town and more story to go along with these short pages.

2 thoughts on “Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

  1. I’m a huge Stephen King fan, particularly his work in the 70s/80s, pre-Hearts in Atlantis. And I was pretty meh about this story, too. It was like he made the notes for an interesting werewolf story, and then didn’t bother to flesh it out.

    I really struggled to understand why Marty would choose to write blackmail letters to Rev. Lowe, rather than say, tell somebody. In particular the uncle who was apparently supportive enough to make silver bullets for him. And I struggled even more with why Lowe would bother trying to silence him. Marty’s theory is so far fetched it seems that all Rev. Lowe would have to do is say, “Yeah, no, I’m not a werewolf.” And people would say, “Cool, OK, must be a bear or something.” I just didn’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that this is sketchy and the ending is anti-climactic. The reader is left wanting more. There’s not enough story or character development. King excels at dialogue, as always, but this felt like a halfhearted effort to me. Maybe it was the format.

    Liked by 1 person

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