Dude…Hollywood Werewolves — “High Bloods” by John Farris
Trust me, that’s the biggest compliment I can pay anything.
In the world of “True Blood,” vampirism is a thing. There are vampires in the world and they walk among humans, and though some people loathe/are terrified of them, they’re there and the world is still going. Humans, an adaptable species, are learning to work around and with the vampires.
“High Bloods” takes the same basic idea – only instead of vampires, they’re werewolves.
The Lycan disease (which is transferred by blood) has taken over the country like an epidemic. Those whose blood hasn’t been crossed with a werewolf yet are the High Bloods of the book’s title. There’s a church of Lycan-ism, and a branch of the government devoted to keeping them in line. Thanks to technology, most lycans have been registered and a device has been implanted in them to keep them from turning into their beastly selves every full moon.
Of course, like anything, there are rebels, and people breaking the law.
That’s where Rawson, our hero, comes in. An agent for the organization that monitors and controls the Lycans, he’s soon swept up in the middle of a mystery so twisted and race-against-the-clock it’s as if “Law & Order” and “24” met and had a baby with an old Hammer horror film.
There are chase scenes and gunfights and lots of werewolf craziness. There are good guys and bad guys and plot twists and reveals. There’s a love story, a redemption story, and a few death scenes worthy of inclusion in a “Saw” movie. (Barbed wire. All I’m saying.)
Character-wise, it’s one of the strongest books I’ve read in a while. Though he’s far from perfect, Rawson is the kind of bad-boy narrator you follow eagerly. His lady love, Beatrice, is clever and cunning and only rarely a damsel in distress. The Hollywood hotshots, bikers, and big-wigs that circle around them are a colorful bunch, and surprisingly layered for being the potential suspects in this mystery.
Like “True Blood,” “High Bloods” tackles gristly things with ease, and on occasion dark humor. There’s violence all over the place – like I said, there’s a decapitation in the first chapter.
I devoured this book happily. Reading it felt like watching a really good movie.
(Meanwhile, the ending of the book totally leaves some things open for a sequel. I’d be stunned if there wasn’t a continuation to this wonderful story and this well-developed world.)