Book Review of WOLF & MAGIC by R. F. Cisneros

At some point in my wonder years, I watched An American Werewolf in London, a 1981 horror movie so terrifying to me then, I don’t care to watch it now. The scene where a dead man nonchalantly jokes while his cheek dangles in bloody shreds is one I shall not forget, and when I looked up images from the movie to help write this review, I had a bit of apprehension. Some might see this as a call to censorship, but I beg to differ. Instead of censorship, it is a call for better filmmaking because if a movie made before the advent of CGI has the ability to chill me to the bone in 2020, then why is it very few past 1990 have the same effect?

This book review is not about movies nor zombies with a witty sense of humor, but it is about werewolves, wizards, and suspense in city life.

Wolf & Magic: An Undead P. I. Novella is the story of Esteban, a wizard from the Southwestern United States, who visits a city to help a friend in desperate need. No sooner does he arrive than he finds himself pursued by werewolves bent on fulfilling a plan to set in motion a life altering event. The chase begins as Esteban hurries along busy streets hunting the pack while he himself becomes the target of their aggression. Forced against the wall, he finds himself challenged and needing to prove the staff is a mighty weapon.

From the start, the story feels a bit like a comic book, and when I learned more about Esteban’s character, it became clear why. The story’s not long, easy to read, and only takes a few hours to complete. Fast readers are going to love how the story moves quickly and recognize the comic book feel. I really appreciate the fact it has no chapters. I sensed the chapters, but there’s no need for them because the action continues from page to page with no time bouncing. If you can’t stand stories that make you keep a notepad handy to follow the plot, this story is going to delight you because all you need to do is kickback and read. It’s one of those if you mark the spot, you just start where you stopped stories.

Another thing that intrigued me about this story is I thought I knew the ending, and then it surprised me when I didn’t. It left me with the feeling of getting a good solid read in. I didn’t feel cheated or coaxed. In fact, I sat back in my chair and chuckled for thinking I knew the ending. To me, that’s the sign of a good writer. They have the ability to guide you along, make you think you’re in control, but then you realize their story, much like real life, is not predictable.

Lord Zurphs