Silver bullets. Wolfsbane. We’ve seen them in just about every werewolf story out there, but in Stephen Graham Jones’s Mongrels, it turns out those tried and true methods of killing are the least of a werewolf’s worries. In this novel, a family of werewolves living on the fringes of society carves out a place for themselves in a world where gruesome death is a constant threat. It’s not the pitchforks and torches of incensed mobs that they have to watch out for—well, sometimes it is, but mostly their survival hinges upon seemingly trivial matters, like avoiding junk food and road rage, and knowing what not to wear.
This entire novel is charming beyond belief, but it’s the several-page stretch where our young narrator imparts upon us the four biggest threats to a werewolf’s existence that made me an instant believer. Both ingenious and crisp, these evocative details drew me deeper into this suddenly all-too-plausible story, locking me there with words sharper than lycanthrope teeth.