Sunday, July 26, 2009


Shapeshifter is a hybrid of werewolf story and crime thriller, written by J. F. Gonzalez (Clickers I & II, Survivor). The main character is a young man named Mark Wiseman who, for reasons unknown has been stricken since his teens with the curse of lycanthropy. Mark is an ambivalent character. Although he is not blatantly evil, he does come across as somewhat indifferent to the fate of those he kills following his monthly transformation. He wishes he didn’t have to do it, but he has come to accept it as a part of the natural order of things. Over time, Mark has learned how to at least partially control his bestial side, and settled into a quiet life working on computers for a large insurance company, until he is seen in a partial transformation on CCTV by the president of the company. The president is much closer to real evil than Mark. He uses Mark’s abilities to kill those who are on the opposite side of an upcoming merger issue, and to protect his place in the company. He forces Mark into this by blackmail and physical threats. Mark resents this, but doesn’t protest too much. I did wonder at why he went along with the evil CEO’s schemes for so long. Eventually, one of the assassinations is bungled, and Mark is on the run for his life.

This was a fast-paced book, and I read it in a day. Gonzalez has an easy, very readable style, and I would recommend this book. Some may be put off by the lack of a sympathetic character, since Mark himself doesn’t seem particularly noble. It is also interesting to compare this with Gonzalez' earlier work and see how much he has progressed as a writer.

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