I discovered Jonathan Janz about one and a half, maybe two years ago when I read his novel, THE SORROWS. Brian Keene called that book the best horror novel of the year for 2012, and for good reason. It was the best horror novel I had read in years. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of reading pretty much every book Janz has written and have been pleasantly surprised to watch him grow and get better with every book he writes. His newest novel, WOLF LAND, continues that trend.
WOLF LAND is a bloody, harrowing, sensual, and brutal creature feature of a book, infused throughout with Jonathan’s trademark, often heart-breaking emotion and unapologetic violence. It’s easily the darkest, most disturbing gore-fest of a novel Janz has written, and that’s saying a lot. His vampire novel, DUST DEVILS, was a brutal son of a bitch, but WOLF LAND makes that book look like a feel good romance novel.
Janz pulls out all the stops with this book, populating his story with convincing characters dealing with real conflicts, both internal and external. And he puts those characters through absolute hell. You can tell by his meticulous attention to detail and masterful character development that Janz loves the characters he creates. But he’s a ruthless god and no one is safe from his blood-stained pen. At times I found myself enraptured by the beautifully choreographed, brutally bloody action scenes. He constructs each scenario sentence by harrowing sentence, developing tension and conflict with excellent pacing and razor sharp, captivating prose.
Before I wrap this up, I want to talk about Jonathan’s werewolves. He does monsters as well as he does anything, taking the classic werewolf legend and transforming it into something entirely his own. When I think of werewolves from now on, I’ll be thinking of Jonathan Janz’ werewolves. His larger than life monsters have a humanity about them that is heart-rending. The grief and pain the characters experience during the change is vivid and agonizing to behold, and the lust for sex and blood and human fear is edge of your seat, fight or flight terrifying. Believe me when I say that these creatures are the real deal. This is horror with carrion reeking, sharp-as-knives teeth and claws.
Jonathan Janz is one of my favorite authors and WOLF LAND is the best werewolf novel I’ve ever read, bar none. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this beautiful, ground-breaking horror story.