Short Story Review: “Cry Havoc” by Julie Frost

5 of 5 stars.

In urban fantasy, the battle between hunters and monsters skews toward the humans overcoming those that are other-than-human. But this moving tale provides the noir voice to an alpha werewolf who doesn’t lead his pack against humans, but loses his entire pack to fear-mongering human hunters. It subtly provides the argument for the rights of the predators [wolves, werewolves etc] in a balanced ecosystem.

Some members of the mutilated pack didn’t hunt at all, the others chased deer. But they were slaughtered regardless. The alpha licks his emotional wounds and heads to his favorite watering hole without a friend left in the world.

It was a working-class place filled with working-class people, and the odors of stale beer and cheap whiskey predominated.

I ordered a double Jack Daniels, straight up, and the cocktail waitress took one look at my expression and left the bottle. I didn’t know if I was drinking to remember, or forget. Either way, it wasn’t working.

It’s not long before bragging hunters wander into the pub and a desperate battle for survival starts. Also, an older human keeps an eye on everything transpiring through the village between wolf and hunter. His intentions with the alpha are mysterious and yet the interactions are moving.

This contest-winning tale appears in Writers of the Future 32 edited by David Farland. It’s illustrated by contest-winning artist, Vlada Monakhova. I received this new anthology from Netgalley. I’ve previously reviewed this author’s “That Which is Hidden” which I likewise enjoyed.

[Check out my other reviews here.]


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