The good, the bad, and the werewolf in between || Werewolf Cop by Andrew Klavan

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“I gotta bring him down, Martin,” Zach said.

“Hell, I know it.”

“Noting else makes any sense to me.”

“That’s why you’re the Cowboy, Cowboy.”

“It ain’t right what he does. Buying and selling people. Making their lives go where he wants instead of where they want. Shutting them down when they stand against him. Killing ’em when he can’t get his way. It ain’t right.”

Goulart gave him a glance of surprise. “But everyone does that. Everyone who can. The rest just haven’t had the chance.”

Zach turned his eyes from the road only long enough to return the glance. “Even if we all did it – even if we all thought it was right – it still wouldn’t be. I gotta stop him.”

Andrew Klaven, Werewolf Cop

 

I am not a fan of hard-hitting cop thrillers/mysteries. They always seem to get a little too close to reality, too possible to happen to someone I love. However, take the no-nonsense, essentially good, title character and turn him into a werewolf, and it’s enough for me to try it out.

You’ve heard of moral relativism? The idea that what’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me? Werewolf Cop gives that philosophy a well-deserved kick in the pants. Seriously, I didn’t expect a deep-seated exploration of the nature of good and evil, justice, choice, and the ever-paradoxical “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” from a werewolf book.

We all know about good and evil. Babies are good. Nazis are evil. A person bringing joy to others by dancing in a flash mob is good. A person bringing a gun into a theatre/high school/etc. to kill others is evil. I think that’s generally how we view good and evil most of the time. And, if given the choice, I’d say the majority, if not all, people would place themselves squarely in the good category. But is it really so simple?

If you want to deal with reality, no.

This is what I admire most about the book. Andrew Klavan doesn’t shrink away from the reality of good and evil, that they are something apart, something more than simple societal constructs. An objective Good exists, whether you believe it or not (aka God.) The same is true for an objective Evil (aka the devil.) More than that, though, is how he deals with each person’s individual struggle with right and wrong, good and evil. People aren’t either fully good or evil; we’re straddling the line between the two, and it’s ultimately our choices which determine which side we’re on.

[spoilers ahead]

 

Take Zach Adams, the Werewolf Cop, and his partner, Martin Goulart, both seriously flawed men. Each is confronted with the fallenness of the world and his own mortality. Adams is made into a werewolf against his will. The monstrous nature of the curse makes him believe he is damned, yet he continues to fight for what’s right, even if it will condemn him in the end. Goulart is faced with a terrible illness. He is given the opportunity to save his life, yet the cost is abominable. Each is given a choice to save his life or lose it, and by their individual choices they ultimately fall on one side or the other.

As G.K. Chesterton said, “The issue is quite clear now. It is between light and darkness and every one must choose his side.”

I can’t recommend this book enough. What more can you ask for than a novel that makes you think while telling a compelling story, especially when it gets it right. Werewolf Cop is apparently the first in a trilogy of books. I look forward to find out what’s next for Zach Adams.

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