Jim Toland. Once Were Wolves (2013) 299 pp. [tpo]
It’s 2016 in San Francisco, on the eve of the presidential election. The U.S. economy is showing no signs of recovery; in fact, it has gotten worse. The Occupy movement has expanded, with a violent off-shoot wing called Swarm. Occupiers are camping on Ocean Beach. Ray Corvus, a reporter for the San Francisco Daily News and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is trying to keep up with two major news stories in the city. The naked, bloodless bodies of three young women have been found in the Bay, with strange puncture wounds—can they possibly be victims of a vampire? And, a recent Occupy protest turned into a riot, killing scores of people, in the aftermath of which Bradford Pelton, president and CEO of Observe World Bank, has gone missing. The stories turn out to be related. Pelton is funding an underground medical research lab run by World War II-era Nazis who have discovered the fountain of youth by draining the blood from healthy young women, genetically engineering it, and injecting it into those who can afford to pay for eternal life. But, Corvus has a family secret of his own; he is the latest in a line of werewolves and a shape-shifters, able to change himself into his adversary’s worst nightmare when properly provoked. Before Corvus can unravel the mysteries, both of the women in his life—Jenna, a beautiful, high-class call girl, and Linda, a young, idealistic journalism intern—end up in the crosshairs of the bloodsuckers.
Setting: San Francisco