Silver Moon – Catherine Lundoff (Lethe Press)
Buy it direct from Lethe Press.
Menopausal lesbian werewolves? Seriously? You bet. Nothing serves to re-energize a tired genre than a swift kick up the ass, which is what two-time Goldie winner Catherine Lundoff delivers to lycanthropes in Silver Moon, a nifty page turner that empowers as well as entertains.
Becca Thornton, a recent émigré to Wolf’s Point, is recovering from her divorce from philandering Ed. She discovers her independence and menopause simultaneously, but the “change” brings about more than one transformation. The onset of middle age also brings out the wolf in her, as it does a number of local women who have kept the valley safe for generations. And their expertise is needed as they deal with a traitor who has developed a serum that threatens their way of life.
The concept is intriguing and, once you think about it, rife with possibilities. Lundoff runs with it, creating a world that turns lycanthropy into a metaphor for empowerment, both personal and universal. Through transformation, Becca takes charge of her own life and joins others who have done the same, uniting for a cause that is, by extension, maternal in and of itself. It’s to Lundoff’s credit that the product of such a layered concept can be read as either metaphor or adventure story.
As exciting as the metaphor is, the adventure is also pretty damn good. Once the concept is presented, the antagonist arrives and we’re underway—drugging, kidnapping, betrayal, non-consensual medical procedures—all served up with verve and some subliminally erotic tension. Lundoff’s prose is uncluttered and precise, and she has a knack for realistic dialogue that doesn’t sound written or forced.
But beyond those elements, Silver Moon would be little without the character of Becca Thornton. Lundoff does a fine job drawing this woman—newly divorced, possessed of skills and powers she has yet to develop, but still awkward and unsure about her new community as well as her place in it. Rather than revert to her old patterns, however, she’s determined to conquer the new experiences that present themselves to her, no matter what the consequences. That’s the true bravery of this character.
Whether you’re reading for high concept or sheer entertainment, Silver Moon will not disappoint. Here’s hoping the women of Wolf’s Point will return.
Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler