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on 15 July 2015
It has been far, far, FAR too long since I last read a decent werewolf book. None of these pretty, soft, furry, piss-weak werewolves having little spats with glittery vampires. Oh hell no! These things are massive, powerfully built hairy beasts that can tear your head off with a single swipe. They are foul tempered monsters who don’t discriminate between children and adults; anyone and everyone is prey.

At first I wasn’t sure where the book was going to go. I was caught off guard by the shift in time and it took me a page or two to get to grips with all the characters. I don’t know if it was just a bad day, but there seemed to be a lot of them. Then the action began and I’ll tell you what; it belted along at such a fast clip that I’m glad the chapters were broken down into chunks of time.

Graeme has a fabulous writing style and a skill at descriptive gore that makes my toes curl in appreciation. I want to write like this guy. His characters are engaging, his dialogue rings in my reading ears and his rich descriptions of the town, the changes and the people make for a beautiful reading experience.
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on 8 October 2014
Werewolves and vampires have, for want of a better phrase, 'fallen in stock' over the past decade. There's a variety of reasons for this - I won't go into them here - but needless to say, it's always fresh and exciting when someone pumps new blood, no pun intended, into either genre. Vampires - step aside, we're talking about werewolves for this review. For me, Lycanthropes take me back to my childhood. Movies such as The Howling and An American Werewolf in London - references are forthcoming - scared me witless. They proved horror can be simple yet terrifying at the same time. After all, a werewolf is nothing more than a huge dog gone bonkers, right?

We'll get to that in due course.

High Moor is a revelation. Told over a timespan of twenty-two years, it details the events of a small town, High Moor, which is rocked by several brutal murders at the hands - or claws - of a large animal. The police are clueless, the local kids terrified. After several sightings, one of the kids moves away from town, but is forced to face his demons twenty-two years later when the animal resurfaces. To say much else, would ruin the intricate, well-written plot.

Werewolves are anything but large dogs with a case of the rage. They are humans who turn into wolves on a full moon - normally. Most readers will already know this. That's where High Moor becomes interesting and refreshingly original. Reynolds switches the story up a notch by introducing different species of werewolf, those who battle against one another and even those who follow a sketchy, moral code. Where the plot could be quite linear - stay in on a full moon, job done, you survive -, Reynolds has just torn down the standard genre walls. Day walking werewolves, those who can change at will...it doesn't bode well for the humans around them. This lends the book a terrifying new angle, one that keeps you turning the pages until the thrilling finale.

The characters are vivid and realistic. Our central characters are a bunch of kids residing in High Moor, whose lives are changed forever by the arrival of the creatures. Their interactions are so typically British and authentic, I felt like I was reliving my youth. True, I never came face to terrified sprinting backside with a werewolf during my childhood, but the banter, chit chat, activities, and general interaction rang true to me. It brought the characters to life and created a humble, realistic setting in which to set the story. When the wolves aren't around, it was like reading The Body (Stand By Me) mashed with It, minus any unwelcome clowns or dead bodies...okay, maybe not the latter.

Then there are the adults. We have the avid werewolf hunter, the hero of the piece with a dark past, the police officer who goes against his orders to help the town, and the unsuspecting parents and locals. Everyone is detailed enough to play a part - the resident bullies are scarily authentic - and none are forced or mere talking heads. Reynolds creates a real tight-knit community within his prose, one that you could almost taste and smell as you immerse yourself in the lavish story. His wonderful characters, with rich, detailed back stories blend effortlessly with the beasts of the piece. People may die, oh yes, but we feel for them, mourn them. There's no cannon fodder here, everyone and anyone is potential prey, but you'll grow to love or hate them first. Which leaves us...

The werewolves are absolutely phenomenal. Terrifying, near invincible and mostly unseen. They could strike at any moment, anywhere...which they do, several times, in a variety of gory, blood-soaked ways. Graeme Reynolds has done for the written werewolf what Rick Baker did for the visual werewolf back in 1981. He's created a monster. When the first transformation happens, your mouth will hit the floor. When the wolves first appear, you'll feel the prickly goosebumps. In fact, I haven't been this enthralled by a wolf since David chased that poor commuter through Tottenham Court Road tube station in An American Werewolf in London. References you don't get, maybe, but the pure horror involved is astounding. I have included a link below for those unknowing folks who read this, but it will give you a brief idea of how it feels to read this book. Terrifying, darkly funny in places, horrifically graphic, but overall, taut and thrilling.

5 stars? No doubt about it. This book just leapt into my top three reads of 2014. Dragging werewolves clawing and biting into the 21st century, Reynolds has created a franchise that is not only British at heart, but universally enjoyable for everyone. Horror fans should add this book to their list right now. High Moor is a master-class in old school horror, written for an ageless audience. An instant classic.

An American Werewolf in London. "I can assure you that is not in the least bit amusing..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ss0nT...
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on 31 December 2014
A very well structured story. With the book's historical beginnings, the author Reynolds, put a great deal of effort into linking many well-publicised "pop-culture" real world events at the the time to the story. Reynolds also focuses on the gritty reality of a poverty stricken town and how the main characters of the book, children in the beginning, always make the best of their times growing up. Something I am sure like myself, many readers would reflect on from their own perspective.

One of the main things I enjoyed about the book was, despite it being 300+ pages, it had the feeling of reading through a trilogy due to the past and present narrative. It would be easy to put the lycanthropes in this book into two categories: the classic type that you would run for your life from, and a group that exists unbeknownst to humankind, but nonetheless almost as ruthless and deadly under the wrong circumstances.

Having recently just read the book, I certainly felt privileged to learn of a follow to the story at large. I'm sure that Reynolds will neither confirm or deny any links to the book with real life, but I would have envied being the target of any of his pranks as a child!
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on 4 June 2013
What a bloody good read.

Not my usual material as I'm normally into pulp s-f.

This had me hooked after just a few pages, I had this on my kindle for quite a while before I finally got around to devouring this with gusto.

The story starts in Wales 2008 and due to a news report about a strange animal attack our protagonist John Simpson heads off to the town of his youth High Moor, through his eyes as an 11 year old the tale travels back to 1986 and we meet the tough life of children in a northern town growing up and making there own entertainment and dealing with the local bully and his gang. I don't know why but the old tale of KES (a tale of a boy and his Kestrel) kept popping into my head, such was the power of the events described, surely the mark of a good storyteller.

Great characters and really excellent gut busting scenes of horror that should please most true fans of gore fest tales.

There are a few plots that you could see coming but as they say there's nothing new under the sun, or moon in this case. I will definitely get the follow up novel, it was that good. I think I got High Moor free after I'd read the sample so for me to actually buy a book is saying something.
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on 7 June 2014
This has been on my reading list for a while, but it was well worth the read. An old-school werewolf story, set in Northern England it starts in the year 2000, but the story soon shifts back to the 1980s. It helps to understand the setting here; Thatcherite Britain, a run-down town with high unemployment, depression, and the malaise which fell over a lot of the country at this time. The main characters in the early part of the book are children raised in working class houses, with little concept that things will get better, alcoholic and violent parents and an overworked police force. Bring into the mix the prejudices of the time and you have a rather dark background. Then a werewolf arrives….
The book is violent, this is no shifter romance, but a brutal and horrifying account, reminiscent of wolfman films and older stories. The werewolves are not nice, they kill, they eat people and they cause total mayhem. That said there is some real depth and emotion in this book, the fear of the townsfolk, the bravery of those who seek to hunt the killers and the despair of John, the main protagonist. Some of the writing is superb, with vivid descriptions, dark humour and a fast pace which keeps up all the way through.
My only complaints were the slight implausibility of part of the ending, and the cliff-hanger, although the story was concluded well enough. I will definitely read the second part of the series.
Overall a great read, with fast paced action, terrifying monsters, but a few touching scenes. Well worth it!

*copied to Amazon.com
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on 4 July 2013
Based on an advance review copy supplied by the author.

It's taken me a while to get around to this one. It was first published back in November 2011. I'd always meant to get to it though, as I kept hearing such good things about it.
It certainly did not disappoint. It's a classic werewolf tale, with echoes of 'The Howling' series about it. There are two distinct types of werewolves commonly found in popular fiction and movies. The author has devised a very well thought out rationale for explaining why that is so and the reader will find both the large wolf and the big, mean, hairy humanoid varieties in this book.
For me, one of the main strengths of Graeme Reynolds' writing is the realism of the lives and dialogue of the various people he has populating his world. I found myself wondering if the gritty Northern urban dramas of Alan Bleasdale might not be an influence on his work.
I don't want to say too much about the plot. Suffice to say it has werewolves. They're big and scary, as opposed to angst-ridden and romantic. People get brutally killed, or infected. There are some twists and turns, which I actually managed to figure out before they happened. I doubt the author was intending them to be that big a surprise though. Sometimes the fun is in watching something work towards the inevitable. Not all the monsters in the book had fur.
It's a real page-turner of a book, with strong characters and an involving plot. It has a satisfying ending, while setting things up neatly for a sequel, which I now have on my t0-be-read heap.
I'm convinced that, should he wish to, Graeme Reynolds could write gripping and entertaining mainstream novels with no fantasy/horror elements. If he did decide to follow that path, however, he would be a great loss to the horror genre.
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on 28 December 2011
Well I do enjoy a good horror book and having read very little concerning our good close doggy friends the ever pleasant werewolf I thought I would give High Moor a try especially as the price had just been reduced by the author for a limited period...and I must say I was pleasantly surprised :)) The action is fast and most of it takes place in the 1980's with the last third moving forward to the present. Anyone meeting or infected by the werewolf can expect to meet a sudden and very nasty death, we are introduced to Carl Schneider werewolf hunter extraordinaire arriving with a full arsenal of weapons to tackle the nasty epidemic of the werewolf. The real werewolf beast is the "moonstruck" variety and as the name implies only emerges at a full moon name but boy does he reap carnage.....whereas the more "pleasant" :)) werewolf can change at will and as the action in the book shows they are the only real weapon available to kill the moonstruck werewolf. The story essentially is the return of John Simpson to his childhood home and there he confronts adversaries from his youth....but in order to achieve a good and enjoyable werewolf read the author must blend storytelling with dark humour and Graeme Reynolds does an excellent job at portraying the full horror and joy of the werewolf sage to an eagerly waiting reader salivating at the mouth...with a little bit of blood and grizzle.....enjoy!!
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on 3 July 2012
Graeme Reynolds' prose is best described as muscular. A phrase that is often used in reviews without much reference to the material. However, in High Moor, it is entirely apt because this novel is a ferocious alpha wolf and, as such, prose that could be described as anything less than muscular would be doing the story a great disservice.
The story is one that has been waiting to be told as Reynolds' fuses the familiar tropes of the lone tortured lyncanthrope with an interesting mythological history and pack-based culture for the genus. This makes the whole scenario feel fresh and powerful. The werewolves in this novel are a reinvigoration of a classic monster that will please those disappointed by more 'sympathetic' interpretations that appear in dark fantasy and paranormal romance novels. These werewolves are the primal id run wild. When Reynolds' sets them loose, you can expect plenty of violence, action and gore but they also hurt and feel and remain human in their own way, which makes you care all the more during the climactic confrontations when they tear into one another. Be sure, there is a body count in this novel that would put the likes of Herbert, Hutson and N. Smith to shame.
High Moor is also a very British horror novel and the sequences set in 1986 will be familiar to anyone who grew up during this time period, or not long after, in the UK. The sense of place, the people and the atmosphere of a not-so-long-ago period are incredibly effective and perfectly described. They show that Reynolds knows his stuff when it comes to world-building. I could almost feel the damp and drizzle in the air.
If I have one gripe about High Moor, it would be that I would have liked there to have been a more definitive ending but, as gripes go, this is minor as what came before was an unstoppable freight train of a horror novel that I thoroughly recommend.
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on 5 May 2014
this is yet another writer Iv found via kindle and one I must say has written one of the best and most original takes on the werewolf story as far as Im concerned. The writing itself is simple and easy to read with a good flow which keeps the pace up. I have to say one of the parts I enjoyed most was the beginning and the scenes with the children which I felt were written better than the rest (in literary terms) and were quite beautiful at times. GR obviously remembers being a child pretty well and the interaction between the young friends is so natural and genuinely touching and funny that the book deserves 5 stars for that alone. The snippets between johns mother and the children bring back memories of my own mother always knowing what we were about almost before we had thought it, brilliant. The general outline involving the pack, the police, the children etc is fresh and well handled. couldnt put it down and bought part two immediately after....
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on 10 November 2013
Over the years I've read quite a few werewolf books, but I must admit that High Moor easily goes straight into my top 5 of this particular genre. We start off meeting John Simpson who seems just like a normal everyday bloke, apart from one small detail, he transforms into a werewolf every full moon, and it's after one such change where he catches a news report from his old home town of High Moor, and it's this news that starts a chain of events that may ultimately cost him his life.

We travel back to happier times in 1986 when John was a small boy, where we learn the origins of John's affliction, and meet several characters that will become pivotal upon his return to his home town many years later.

The action, when it comes, is hard, fast and bloody, and several characters meet extremely violent ends at the hands, or claws, of a transformed John, who even after all these years has not yet learned how to control the beast within him. The book finishes with a climatic battle between both werewolf's and humans and lays the foundations very nicely for the second book, Moonstruck.
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