Sometimes the Wolf

Written by Urban Waite

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group.

Sometimes the Wolf
Simon & Schuster
RRP: £8.99
Released: March 26, 2015

Twelve years ago Sheriff Patrick Drake, hit with money troubles, fell in with some unsavoury men – and was caught and convicted of one of the biggest crimes in local history. Now he’s out of jail under the watchful eye of his son, Bobby, who is now deputy sheriff. As both men attempt to readjust to new circumstances, it becomes clear that Patrick’s old life is about to catch up with him.

This is in part a crime novel – the plot involves several murders that Patrick may or may not be involved in, and some missing drugs money that he may or may not know the whereabouts of – but it’s also very much a story about the relationship between three generations of men – Bobby, his father Patrick, and his grandfather Morgan. All three of them have issues in trusting each other, and emotional baggage they have to learn to deal with before they can let the others into their lives.

And there is also the wolf of the title, a lone female and protected species who is killing farm animals and therefore at risk of being killed by a farmer if the sheriff and his colleagues cannot catch up with her first. The wolf sub-plot has little to do with the rest of the book, but appears to serve as a metaphor, as the three Drake men could all be described as ‘lone wolves’, struggling to interact with the rest of society.

Even the crime plot seems to something of a sub-plot, as this novel is largely character driven – the story of the three Drake men and their own personal demons. And this, perhaps, is the reason to read this book, as it by far the most compelling aspect of it. Here are three generations of men who are psychologically damaged and always emotionally alone, even when trying to engage with other people. And yet they are portrayed in such a realistic and harrowing manner that they get under your skin.

This book is not an easy read and not always a particularly enjoyable one, but it’s compelling and addictive, with characters that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

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