“Ted was thinking about killing his wife when his cell phone rang.”
That’s how Carnivorous Lunar Activities starts; great opening line. In fact, I have to say, that Max Booth III does a good job of ending most chapters with a hook urging you to read more. Some of the chapters are way too short, in my opinion, but they always leave you itching to turn the page.
Imagine Kevin Smith (Clerks) wrote a werewolf script. That’s probably the best way to describe Carnivorous Lunar Activities. It’s more of a comedy than a horror story and capitalizes on those weird slice-of-life dialogue scenes that Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino are known for in their earlier films.
The conversations between the main characters Ted and Justin (who have maintained a bromance despite years of not seeing each other) could easily shift at any moment into a discussion of the third-party contractors killed when the Deathstar was destroyed or perhaps even segue into a rant on what Madonna’s song “Like a Virgin” really means, not to mention why Mr. Pink doesn’t tip.
While the funny scenes start off strong, they run their course quickly. Granted, I did receive an ARC of the manuscript, so I assume Fangoria will do some editing prior to the finished publication, but the witty, best-friend banter has a tendency to just keep going and going. After a while it starts to slow down what would otherwise be a very interesting take on the werewolf legend. This is important to note because the whole first part of the book is dialogue as Justin explains to his childhood best friend how he became a shape-shifter.
Remember the cell phone that rang while Ted was thinking about killing his wife? It was a frantic call for help from Justin. Despite all the marital troubles he’s having, Ted decides to check on his best friend from childhood. Upon arriving at Justin’s, his friend chains himself to a ship anchor (don’t ask how it got in the house) and gives Ted a gun with silver bullets informing him that at midnight Ted is to shoot him in the heart. Justin then precedes to explain how he fell into the sinister world of dog-fighting and how one night he was bitten by a particularly ferocious dog. This is the part I found super fascinating. I haven’t yet seen a “dog-fighting” scenario leading to a werewolf infection; props for the creativity!
I would have loved to see more of the dirty underbelly of dog-fighting and a backstory on the animal that transmitted the werewolf curse developed more, but as I found out, this is a comedy and Booth III focuses more on the friendship of the two men than the horror aspect. You have to really like the bizarre bromance dick humor to finish part one of the book. Part two is very fast-paced though. Great action in part two and a solid ending that fits what the characters deserve. Booth III even loops back to Ted's wife and we find out she has a role to play in the events that unfold. Fans of comedic horror would do well to check this one out, but those looking for a gritty werewolf novel should definitely pass.