Title: Tarkington Wolf
Author: Di Roach
Point of Sale: Lulu
Reviewed by: Veinglory
Tarkington Wolf is written in the tradition of a Victorian (or possibly even earlier) gothic melodrama. Ben Cathmore is the younger son of a Steel baron who lords over his manor, his family and the town. The only other great power in Tarkington is a hideous wolf that emerges from the forest in the dark of night to terrify and even murder the unfortunate villagers. Ben is a rather morose young man and the only bright spot in his life is the daughter of a neighbor, beautiful but spoiled Hazel--who is being courted by his older brother.
From this atmospheric starting point, the plot takes many twists as Ben first flees from and finally turns and confronts the curse carried by his family. This story works as an adventure, a tragic romance and a werewolf tale. The thematic links between the wolf and the plight of the mill worker early in the industrial revolution is apt and not at all heavy-handed. I feel there are a few deus ex machina twists, but also some genuinely tragic moments. The character of Ben does not develop greatly over the more than ten years between the opening and closing scenes, but to some extent this could be seen as a result with his inability to break free from his destined "place" in his family and wider society.
In fact, writing within a classic gothic framework brings out the strengths in this story, greatly excuses its few weaknesses, and might help remind a few readers that paranormal stories have a long and important tradition that many recent released novels have deserted (much to their detriment). As a Lulu book Tarkington Wolf is well-formatted and offered at a very reasonable price. Other than a recurring habit of capitalising dialogue tags it would be difficult to distinguish this novel from a commercially released book.