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'The Wolf' by Lorenzo Carcaterra

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Ballantine Books

The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra


I remember when “Sleepers” by Lorenzo Carcaterra was first published and it seemed like everyone was talking about the book. I had to pick up the book to see what all the hype was about and I was not disappointed at all. For one reason or another, I never picked up another book by Carcaterra over the years even though I always wanted to. When I got a review copy of “The Wolf,” I was happy to dive back into the mind of this author and hoped to find a read equal to my first experience with his works.

Vincent Marelli, also known as The Wolf, is the head of the largest crime family in the world. While he is based out of the United States, his reach is international and his organization has its hand in almost any activity, legal or otherwise, that you can think of. One would think that a man like The Wolf would be invincible. That is not always the case. Marelli once let his wife sway his judgment. She just wanted to travel to their vacation spot like a regular family. She wanted a taste of normal life free from the ever-present bodyguards. She begged and Vincent finally gave in. His wife and daughters were killed in a terrorist attack on their airplane. Vincent, the invincible Wolf, was hurt.

A wolf can be patient when hunting its prey and Vincent is out to show his enemies that he deserves his nickname. When he decides to target terrorists funded by the Russian mob, he knows that he is entering into a war that will be extremely costly and require that he call upon all of his resources. Putting together a group of families to help him, he also partners with Angela Jannetti, the leader of an Italian mob family and a women he loved in his youth. As the campaign against the terrorists is launched, it is clear to everyone that this is just as much about revenge as it is about business. The Wolf had been stalking his prey for years and the time had finally come to strike.

I went into “The Wolf” with high expectations. I thought that “Sleepers” was a compelling story and was hoping to find more of the same in this novel. Unfortunately, while “The Wolf” is a good novel, it was nowhere near as good as “Sleepers.” I think that the main reason for this is that the scope of the story is too big for the author to take much time in building the characters and, as a result, I just never really cared about what happened to them. I felt almost as if I was watching a puppet show in which all of the actors are simple shells. I liked the premise of the story and I thought that it was executed well enough to be entertaining but I just could not get emotionally invested in the story. I was hoping for more substance in the book than what I found.

“The Wolf” is a fast and entertaining read if one is looking for a thriller to pass a couple hours with. Carcaterra is a very talented writer and knows how to tell a story in an entertaining manner. “The Wolf”moves briskly through the story and is never boring. It tells a tale of international intrigue that I did find interesting and it is obvious by the end that this is a story that the author intends to return to in the future. I am not saying that “The Wolf” is a bad novel by any means and it does do its job as a simple thriller effectively. I was just hoping for more substance in the story and found little more than pure entertainment. Fans of the genre are sure to be pleased with this book but I would wonder if fans of the author will be satisfied.

I would like to thank Ballantine Books and NetGalley for this review copy. “The Wolf” is available now.

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