Review: (3.75 / 5) Cycle of the Werewolf is a 1983 novella written by Stephen King. The book was adapted to a movie in 1985, titled Silver Bullet. The name stems from the silver bullet used to kill the werewolf. Once again though, the book failed to meet my expectations, however I do score it higher than Rawhead Rex based on several factors. The first, that it’s told from the POV of the victims, so we get to feel their agony until their last breath. The second is that each chapter in the novella could stand alone as its own short story. Taking into consideration the illustrations in each chapter, Cycle of the Werewolf could be used as a children’s first horror book.
So what is this werewolf story about? Well as the title says, the life of a werewolf throughout a calendar year. The novella is broken down in to twelve short chapters, one for each month. While we do learn the identity of the werewolf, the story does not chronicle the life of the individual, only the time he transitions to the monster. The reader gets the month-by-month life of the werewolf as it terrorizes the town, leaving a trail of bloodshed.
The book is set in the fictional town of Tarker’s Mills and follows the life of the protagonist, Marty Coslaw, a ten-year-old boy. Marty is wheelchair bound and stumbles across the werewolf the evening of the Fourth of July. The interaction leaves the beast maimed, and it is after that, that Marty discovers the identity of the killer.
As the story progresses through the year, tensions rise and community bands together to hunt the beast, but even the posse and their hounds aren’t enough the track the one who prowls the nights of the full moon. The boy taunts it by sending letters to the man he believes to be the killer. Marty tells him that he know’s who he is, and that he should kill himself to end further carnage. It is then that the wolf decides to seek out the one who scarred it, but the kid is ready!
As I mentioned in the beginning, the book failed to live up to other King novels. Then again, who am I to say what the master had in mind as he wrote it. The story does have good qualities, and as a horror writer, it does have a place on my shelf. For me, this will indeed be one of the first books I read to my grandchildren when that day comes where they find their interest in the world of horror.