The best werewolf thrillers without motorbikes or erotica

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by the dichotomy between humanity’s beauty and its penchant for visiting horror upon the world. This fascination drove me to write my own werewolf novel (and keep it true to the heart of the mythos). In no other genre/subgenre is human double-nature better explored than the werewolf one. From earliest times, these tales examined human complexity, mental illness, moral responsibility, the tenuousness of our understanding of reality. For me, a great werewolf novel is not an erotic romance or comedy urban fantasy. It’s a monster story: antsy, atmospheric, dark, violent, fraught. It's a thriller, not a swooner, with more in common with Jekyll and Hyde or Incredible Hulk than with Twilight (sorry Stephanie!). 

I wrote...

Black Marks

By Pete Aldin,

Book cover of Black Marks

What is my book about?

Jake Brennan thought the streets could hide him. He thought a werewolf’s sins could be erased.

Now Jake’s kind deeds have drawn the attention of his enemies. And he’ll need to embrace his dark side to save the woman he loves. If his dark side doesn’t kill her first...

The books I picked & why

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By Stephen Graham Jones,

Book cover of Mongrels

Why this book?

A family of werewolves tries to live large in a world that hates and fears them. Mongrels is one-part urban fantasy, one-part horror, one-part family drama, one-part Great American Novel, a coming-of-age story in its essence, a search for identity, a family epic. This book had me laughing out loud at times and "Wow"-ing at others because of the beauty of its prose and ideas. And then there were the moments where I winced and grimaced because of the pain the main character suffered. The violence, when it comes, is raw and brutal. The point-of-view narrative is believable as coming directly from the brain of an adolescent (but this is not a YA novel). Wonderful stuff. 


By Martin Livings,

Book cover of Carnies

Why this book?

This Aussie lycan tale is your classic “I’ve turned into a what!?!”

It’s wonderfully Australian and it’s decent werewolf fare. Not a romance in sight. Not a hint of alpha males riding motorbikes. Our main character faces the consequences and the mysteries that follow “getting bit.” Violent, stark, and tense.

The Wolf in the Attic

By Paul Kearney,

Book cover of The Wolf in the Attic

Why this book?

Oh, man, can Paul Kearney write. The language in this book is so beautiful, at first you think you’re reading a mainstream historical novel. Oh, you’re definitely not. When this novel starts, you think there’ll never be any violence or horror in this story. Oh, there most certainly will be. Imagine a story where a Chronicles of Narnia child discovers a netherworld where people say “fuck,” change shape and invite her to join them in doing questionable things.

Wolf in the Attic deals in part with an adolescent finding her place/identity in an unfriendly world. Set in the 1930s, the book features brilliantly-rendered cameos from CS Lewis and Tolkien. Clever and atmospheric, with a kickass payoff.

Chimera Shakes: The Ontological Crisis of Jasper Hobbes

By Chuck Regan,

Book cover of Chimera Shakes: The Ontological Crisis of Jasper Hobbes

Why this book?

Okay, so the title already has you frowning. Stay with me here. This indie ebook novelette had me smiling, nodding, and ooo-ing. I loved the brave way the author attempted something new and, well, left field. Because this is a lot of left field…

Our main character is a hitman. Or is he? He’s a werewolf. Or is he? I loved every paragraph of this story’s prose. But it was this “what’s really going on here?” aspect that had me smiling all the way through. It reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road—because you can watch that entire movie as a psychotic episode on Max’s part. Same with this book. Leaves you guessing until the last page while keeping things fun along the way.

Cycle of the Werewolf

By Stephen King, Bernie Wrightson (illustrator),

Book cover of Cycle of the Werewolf

Why this book?

Now this is classic werewolf fare. The kind you’ve watched in dozens of movies or TV series. But with that Stephen King touch …

What I loved about this novel: King’s signature dive into small-town lives and small lives’ details. The arrangement of what is really a long short story or novelette: the 12 chapters as vignettes are cute and make for an easy read on a rainy afternoon. The magnificent artwork throughout (which, let’s face it, is there to pad out the paperback and make it look bigger in paperback). The unlikely hero who, though a little problematic, was still satisfying to me. And there are moments of typical gnarly King prose and human insight.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in werewolves, bildungsroman, and Maine?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about werewolves, bildungsroman, and Maine.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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