Halloween Extravaganza: Russell James: My Review of Corporate Wolf

The werewolf myth is two millennia old. That’s a lot of furry fireside stories, a lot of novels, a lot of movies. The familiarity of the genre means anyone wanting to play in that sandbox needs to bring his A-game.

In CORPORATE WOLF, Stuart West does.

Our hero is Shaun, a worker bee in the huge Lerner Solutions Corporation living a cubicle slave life. He’s a bit adrift in his job, wondering if he’s promotable, wondering if he wants to be. After a corporate retreat goes south, he doesn’t feel like the man he used to be, and that’s where lycanthropy takes the stage.

Shaun is a well-defined everyman, struggling with the ennui and the politics of work life. His “best work buddy” Redmond is the gregarious slacker everyone has worked with at some point in their life. Damon Brogan leads the pack (pun intended) of Lerner managers and is the rah-rah boss people hate to work for. West does a good job painting all his main characters through dialogue and action.

What sets this apart from other werewolf tales is the clear parallels highlighted between the canine Alpha lead/pack mentality and common attributes of the corporate world. By the end you are wondering if there are any leaders in corporate America who AREN’T werewolves.

There are many twists and turns in the plot, so I won’t kill the story by listing any here. There’s a lot of murderous action, but none of the descriptions rise to the splatterpunk level. West also leavens in a bit of humor to break the tension, but not enough to push it into Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman territory.

If you are a fan of fur and fangs, this will be howling good horror for you.

Corporate Wolf

The Writing Game

Stuart West might be an unfamiliar name to you. Check on Stuart West’s Amazon Author Page and you’ll be surprised to see over twenty works under his name, none being self-published. How does someone do that and be unknown?

Small presses.

Different from vanity presses you pay to put things in print, small presses still pay you. Usually not with an advance, but definitely with royalties. They are generally selective, unwilling to spend precious time and effort on a work that won’t pay back. They are also usually run by mega fans of the genre, and those folks know what’s good and what isn’t.

The small press problem is raising consumer awareness in an advertising-cluttered world. And that’s how a writer like West keeps leaping the hurdle to make the cut for publication and still you might still not have heard of him.

So I recommend you avert your eyes from the big publishers and the big names every now and then, and look at some titles from established smaller presses and from authors with a track record. Invest a few minutes in those preview pages Amazon makes available. There are diamonds out there like CORPORATE WOLF waiting to be discovered.

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including horror thrillers Dark Inspiration, Q Island, and The Playing Card Killer. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. He resides in sunny Florida. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

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National Park Service Rangers Kathy West and Nathan Toland are the only ones stationed at Fort Jefferson, a restored Civil War fort sixty miles off Key West, Florida. Two overnight campers go missing, but before the rangers can investigate, shady Homeland Security agent Glen Larsson arrives to close the park due to a purportedly imminent red tide. 

Things quickly escalate out of control when mercenaries arrive to back up Larsson and imprison the rangers. Larsson’s plan is to free a cast of giant crabs to overrun the park, and then Florida beyond.

It’s up to Kathy and Nathan to escape the fort, and then, with the help of an old Coast Guard vet and a scientist with inside knowledge of the plot, to save millions of innocents from rampaging giant crabs. But Larsson’s evil plan has been decades in the making, and the crabs seem indestructible. It will take courage, teamwork, and perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, to avert disaster.