The main thing I enjoyed about “Breeds” is Keith Blackmore’s muscular writing style. He gets you up close and personal to the action. You feel fully present even when things get bloody, which they often do. Yet there’s nothing gratuitous or exploitative here. There’s just a situation that has consequences and things that have to get done.
The situation is set up to be tense and tightly focused. An old, disillusioned werewolf, living on a remote Newfoundland island, goes rogue and starts to draw attention to himself. He knows this will bring the wrath of the werewolf Wardens on him and prepares a surprise for them that threatens everyone on the island.
The story is told from multiple points of view: the rogue werewolf, one of the wardens sent to put him down, an islander caught up in the action and even the unwilling participants in the rogue’s surprise.
The story takes place mostly within a single day and night in the midst of fierce snowstorm. Blackmore summons up the sense of isolation and vulnerability of the inhabitants of the Newfoundland island and uses it to raise tension without making the islanders seem weak or stupid.
Although there is action on almost every page and a blockbuster/video game scale body-count, Blackmore manages to generate some empathy for everybody involved from rogue, through warden, through predators and prey. I found myself being swept along by the powerful narrative thrust of the tale and enjoying myself much more than I thought I would.
This is great entertainment for blowing cobwebs away. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series, even though it’s called “Breeds 2” – I wonder how long it took to arrive at that title?