British ex-pat Paul D. Brazill delves into the world of the werewolf with his debut, Drunk on the Moon. In it, PI Roman Dalton unwillingly gains a new talent. In the full moon, he becomes a werewolf. This is a bad thing for a cop, not all that dissimilar from Professor Lupin’s difficulties in the Harry Potter series. But this isn’t a tale of wizarding and witchcraft. This is noir, and Dalton has a very noir problem.
Or does he? See, it’s bad for a cop to turn into a man-eating beast once a month, or twice a month in a blue moon. It is, however, very useful for a PI who can solve more difficult problems. Case in point, Dalton is summoned to Australia when a preacher turns out to be less Billy Graham and more Jim Jones than anyone suspected. One full moon later, problem solved.
Brazill’s prose is blunt and hard-edged, reminding me more of Ray Banks than anyone else. To nail that comparison home, Brazill even takes his title from a Tom Waits song, and there is no bigger fan in Britain of Waits than Banks. However, whereas Banks’ work is rooted in rage, Brazill seems to have a love of the dark and bizarre. If more supernatural tomes were written like this, I might be inclined to read more fantasy beyond Potter and True Blood. Until we see that, I’ll settle for Brazill. He knows there really isn’t much difference between noir or the hardboiled and horror.