First published back in August of 1978, Guy N Smith’s pulp horror novel ‘The Son Of The Werewolf’ was the third and final instalment into the author’s early ‘Werewolf’ trilogy.

DLS Synopsis:
It’s been exactly nine months since Margaret Gunn was raped by Tom Davies (aka Tom Owen) whose bloodthirsty rampage under the disguise of a werewolf ultimately ended with his death. 
And close to the rural woodland of the Black Hill area, situated close to the village of Llanadevy on the Shropshire and Welsh border, time may have passed by, but memories of the bloodshed still remains fresh in the minds of the small local community.

Sure enough, Margaret Gunn conceived a child on the night Davies raped and abducted her. Now, nine months later and Margaret Gunn is giving birth to Davies’ child.  During its birth, Margaret Gunn observes the longer third finger on both of the baby’s hands; a tell-tale sign of lycanthropy.  They name the baby Hugh Gunn; Vic Gunn none the wiser to whom the true father is for the child they will be raising as their own.

And sure enough, Hugh Gunn grows up to be an aggressive outcast at school; bullying the other pupils at every opportunity. Two weeks before he is set to leave school for good, he has a run in with the head master, Clive Williams, over some recent bullying. Soon enough, Williams is murdered and his corpse is found mutilated in his school study. Hugh Gunn is quickly picked up for the murder whilst walking away from the school drenched in the blood of the head master.

Two years later and Hugh Gunn has been released from prison on good behaviour after serving the small sentence that was handed to him for manslaughter. During his time whilst incarcerated in prison, Hugh Gunn learns of his dark secret after he begins to change into the altered state of a werewolf during the periods when the moon is full in the night sky. Hugh Gunn, now in his late teens and once again a free man, returns to Llanadevy for a brief period before deciding to head off for the luring lights of a city. On his journey, Gunn arrives at a small town where he is almost immediately involved in a brutal fight with some local youths who put him in hospital.

Gunn awakens in the hospital and decides to leave the premise as quickly as possible, on account of his transformation into a werewolf, now that the moon is out. Upon departing the hospital, Gunn comes across a nurse, who he subsequently rapes, murders and mutilates.

Now on the run, Gunn hides within a train
s cargo of coal, and waits for the train to leave the town. After travelling for quite some time on the train, Gunn suddenly awakens in the city centre of Birmingham. He has made it to a city at last.

Now in Birmingham, Gunn hides out in a derelict building that is waiting to be demolished. Whilst there he has a run in with three muggers who end up being killed and devoured at the hands of Gunn. Now with a considerable amount of money obtained from the muggers, Gunn stumbles across a local prostitute who escorts him back to her abode. The night doesn't last long before Gunn once again transforms into his werewolf state and rips the prostitute to pieces.

With the body count quickly rising and a police hunt in full swing, and with a hefty reward also on Gunn
s head, he decides to return to the safety of the Llanadevy, and more importantly the desolate woodlands of Black Hill that he knows so well. On his way, Gunn meets up with some gypsy travellers who take him the majority of the way back to the Shropshire and Welsh border. During a stop off, Gunn murders the gypsys leader, Patrick Docherty, forcing him to travel the rest of the way to his parent's farm under his own steam.

Once back in the relative safety of the area he grew up in, Gunn hides away in a derelict old chapel until the night comes, and once again in werewolf form, he goes out into the wilderness of Black Hill and murders the local hunter Major Simpson. Vic Gunn is phoned by Simpson
s wife regarding his disappearance and Gordon Hall (who has been rather surprisingly staying at the Gunns household) goes out to Black Hill to confront his worst enemy.

But Black Hill has more evil secrets than just the werewolf son of Tom Davies roaming under the silvery light of the moon. The legend of the Black Dogs is once again in the misty air...

DLS Review:
With Smith
s final novel in the ‘Werewolf trilogy, the first question that is in the readers mind is “if Tom Davies was indeed a werewolf, then how did this come about?”.  Alas, at no stage during the novel does Smith take on board this glaring loose thread, leaving the reader somewhat baffled by the basic premise of the tale. Mere suggestions that Hugh Gunns father had stubbly skin covering his body, does not lay to rest the overbearing questions regarding the werewolf's legacy.

With this irritating aspect put to one side, ‘The Son Of The Werewolf
is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable and involved tale with a full and varied storyline. The character of Hugh Gunn is incredibly well portrayed and developed upon, with his dark and primordial side taking on more weight as the story develops.

With the tale predominately following the steps of Hugh Gunn, Smith leaves little to no time to develop any substantial subplots with the characters of Vic and Margaret Gunn, or indeed that of the ever-present reporter Gordon Hall.  This doesn
t necessarily hinder the progression of the tale, but instead remains focussed with its direction and goal.  Indeed, the predominance put on the character of the principal antagonist (i.e. Hugh Gunn in this case) is a refreshing change in format, offering a different angle for the tale to engage the reader with.

The novel packs in more gore soaked violence and bestial rape scenes than either ‘Werewolf By Moonlight
(1974) or indeed ‘Return Of The Werewolf (1977). This is particularly true with Gunns violent and sexually motivated attack on the young and defenceless nurse.  The scene is gritty and brutal, with a savage uncaring tone to the horrific attack. 

For sheer pulp horror violence alone, this novel delivers this in absolute abundance. With a well-crafted storyline that takes numerous twists and turns throughout the course of its life, the novel remains utterly gripping from start to finish.  Even with such a fluid storyline, Smith still manages to jump at every opportunity to inject as much violence and pulpish bloodshed as possible.

Smith wraps the tale up surprisingly nicely, with an atmospherically dark conclusion that delivers an eerie air of mystery, whilst still leaving the reader satisfied with how the werewolf's story finally comes to an end.

The novel runs for a total of 124 pages.


© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Werewolf’ instalments:

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