Reviews for Hemlock Grove Or, The Wise Wolf

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #2
*Starred Review* The spirit of Stoker's Renfield--that madman whose strange appetites hinted at more evil than could be looked at directly--haunts and informs this unexpected, gothic monster mash of a debut. A synopsis does the book no favors. Seventeen-year-old werewolf Peter moves to Hemlock Grove just as the mangled dead bodies of girls begin appearing in the woods. He's the natural suspect, but he thankfully finds a defender in fellow student Roman, a coke-snorting vampire with a monstrously deformed sister (think Karloff) whose mood shifts generate electrical disturbances. As if their hunt for the vargulf (a werewolf that has gone insane) wasn't enough, there's also a mad doctor, gypsy magic, fairies, angels, and god knows what else. This sounds like Twilight but is the farthest thing from it. McGreevy writes with a facility that recalls the Jonathans Lethem and Franzen, and his short, quixotic chapters are masterworks of holding the unspeakable just far enough offstage to make it genuinely unnerving. At its core, the novel is a juicy soap opera, complete with love affairs, unwanted pregnancies, class warfare, and the occasional grave-robbing or entrail-eating--which helps otherwise align a challenging read on an irresistible Peyton Place trajectory. There hasn't been a town as rotten as Hemlock Grove in a while. Somebody turn this into a TV series, already. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #4

In screenwriter McGreevy's smartly constructed debut novel, a former mill town is swept with fear when the corpse of a local teen is discovered. The crime scene lacks the usual clues, though the wounds point to an unidentifiable animal. At Hemlock Grove High School, eyes immediately turn to Peter Rumancek, a new senior rumored to be a werewolf. Peter is grudgingly persuaded by Roman Godfrey--heir to an old family fortune whose assets lie in the Godfrey Institute for Biomedical Technologies--to find the real killer. Meanwhile, Roman must deal with his bizarre family--his cousin, Letha, who insists she was impregnated by an angel; his younger sister, Shelley, whose preternatural intelligence is housed in a grotesque body; and his mother, Olivia, an icy beauty with a tendency to faint. Propelled by the clockwork appearance of bodies, Roman and Peter follow a trail of clues that lead them to dig up a victim's grave and to a mysterious project headed by slick genius Dr. Pryce at the Godfrey Institute. Not only does their investigation reveal the killer, it also uncovers many Godfrey family secrets in the process. McGreevy cleverly contemporizes the gothic novel, underlining the isolations of modern-day technology and adolescence in this engaging, though occasionally affected, literary horror novel. (Apr.)

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