Wolf’s Edge by W. D. Gagliani

Gagliani’s Wolf series has been stalking the literary landscape, in terms of werewolf fiction, since 2006, but you didn’t know that, did you?

Beleaguered by poor planning, a terrible lack of promotion, and a publisher that wasn’t fully behind the series, books like Wolf’s Trap, Wolf’s Gambit, and Wolf’s Bluff could very well be the best series you may have never checked out. Samhain Publishing has recently remedied the situation by releasing Gagliani’s fourth novel in the series, Wolf’s Edge, and folks… it’s a huge one.

Can one werewolf stop a pack of super-wolves?

Nick Lupo is a homicide cop with a difference. He’s a werewolf. He’s worked hard to control his condition, but it isn’t easy to contain the beast inside him. It also means he has some very powerful enemies. Wolfpaw Security Services is a mercenary organization that wants Lupo dead. They want to infiltrate the US military with their own werewolves and they can’t let anyone–especially a fellow-werewolf like Lupo–stand in their way.

Wolfpaw’s genetic experiments have created a “super-wolf” nearly invulnerable to silver, and soon their ranks will be filled with these invincible warriors. Can one wolf–even a fierce beast like Lupo–face the fangs and claws of a pack of these killers and hope to survive?

Trying to keep pace with Gagliani’s major character, Lupo, is a lot like trying to run down an gazelle. He just keeps going and going, picking up speed, blasting through the underbrush (literary, in this case) with a practiced and effortless efficiency, getting exactly where he and the reader need to go. The character, himself, is a mixture of unbridled confidence and sarcasm, bound tightly to a vast amount of psychological walls protecting him from everyone around him, and maybe even himself. That said, and as an aside, Wolf’s Edge can absolutely be read as a stand-alone since Gagliani expertly explains and divulges enough about Lupo and his past to get the reader up to speed ASAP. And what we end up with is a wounded but brave character that exemplifies everything readers have come to love in crime, noir, and police procedural fiction, but with a hairy, animalistic twist.

The set up is dynamic, in Wolf’s Edge, making for a thrill ride of a read. Gagliani throws enough twists and turns into the story to keep it exciting a fresh, but really his star shines in description, scene set-up, and the overt eroticism that pervades the whole book. Gagliani is a master at titillating scenes, and doesn’t let up in this foray into Lupo’s world, at all. In fact, moments in Wolf’s Edge stand up to some of his earlier work, such as Mysteries & Mayhem and Savage Nights. This is very entertaining stuff.

Gagliani’s work is always thoroughly engaging, but his flash-back scenes (as evidenced by the stellar scenes in Savage Nights) always tend to be the most powerful. This time around, the author takes us to Nazi occupied Italy, and to the roots of Lupo’s family regarding the Lycanthrope strain. He also examines the origin of the silver daggers, blending in a touch of religious lore, and creating a truly compelling story that I, for one, would love to see fleshed out in a stand-alone novel.

Gagliani’s bad guys in the book are jaw-droppingly amazing. The amount of blood that is spilled by their hands is HUGE, and obviously allows the author to peruse his darker side, ripping and tearing his characters into tiny little pieces. Gore-hounds will love  pretty much any scene involving the wolves, as they’re unabashedly brutal, and soaking in the grue. Also, the very nature of Gagliani’s main bad guy – Sigfried – is insidious, mean, nasty, perverted, and thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. Y’know… in a dark and dirty kind of way.

Samhain has been doing a phenomenal job with the titles that I’ve read so far, and I’m really stoked to see that Gagliani got in there. I’m looking forward to more of the Wolf series, and am quite sure that they’ve found a great home with this publishing company. They will be re-releasing Wolf’s Trap, the first in the wolf series, in the coming months. Keep an eye out for it.For now, sate your need for lycanthropic reads with this phenomenal novel. It’s great as a stand-alone, and reads wonderfully with the rest of the series.

C.

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