See that awesome Doc Savage cover up there, painted by the incredible James Bama? As a kid who loved Doc Savage stories and also loved werewolves more than any other monster, this cover grabbed me by the very soul when I saw the slender paperback on the rack.
And it’s a pretty good tale. It’s even an important tale in the Doc Savage canon because it’s the story that introduces Doc’s gorgeous and scrappy cousin, Pat Savage. (Who writer Lester Dent intended to start her own detective agency, but his editors thought that was a bit much for a girl, so she got to run a beauty salon instead, though she did go adventuring with her cousin and his crew).
There is one big, annoying, pain-in-the-ass thing about Brand of the Werewolf, though. You know that savage beast throttling Doc in the image at the top of this post? You know, the werewolf? Not actually in the book. There are no lycanthropes of any sort in this book. The “brand” from the title is actually a wolf-head symbol marking some crates, if I remember right. Exciting.
It’s my understanding that, because of that cover up there, this book became the bestselling Doc Savage novel Bantam ever printed. And I’m pretty sure many of the folks who bought it on the strength of that painting were as disappointed as I was to reach the last page and never actually encounter a werewolf.
This year, I’m relaunching my Doc Wilde adventure series, which pays strong tribute to the Doc Savage stories I grew up on. We’re coming out with three books by the end of the year (a Kickstarter so folks can help us with the project and get cool stuff will start next Friday, March 30th), and the third book is titled Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf. And yes, I have already had Doc Savage fans ask me if there will actually be werewolves in my werewolf book.
Hell yes there are gonna be werewolves in my werewolf book.