The Pack by Jason Starr
The Pack is a confidently written urban fantasy which offers a neat twist on the werewolf legend.
Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son but this pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. Things take a seeming turn for the better when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys' night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality. As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and his perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their "pack", they were talking about much more than male bonding…
Jason Starr (who also writes screenplays) is the author of nine international bestselling crime novels, set mainly in the New York City area, and The Pack is his tenth novel.
There is much to like about The Pack, the New York setting is always a safe banker and Starr incorporates it well into his story, allowing it to become a character in its own right. A further strength is the way in which he realistically depicts the lives of working parents and the difficulties they face in trying to balance work commitments and home life. All who have been parents understand that, without wanting to, they are always checking to ensure that the other is pulling their weight, and if they are found to be wanting it leads to simmering resentment and puts a great strain on many marriages. And this is what the author does very well, he shows a marriage in crisis where it is Alison that feels Jeremy is not making enough effort in many areas and although his unforeseen "changes" lead to a temporary ceasefire, the underlying problems still remain. The book's focus is definitely on relationships and Starr's handling of both the male and female characters leads to an impressive feeling of authenticity.
The Pack also cleverly shows how Google and the internet has become the number 1 stop for all relationship and medical issues, where there is a forum for every type of problem/disorder (even for wife's of men who think they are werewolves!).
One problem that I had with The Pack was that I found the characters, although authentic as mentioned above, rather unlikeable. This made it difficult to get behind, or empathise with any of them. Simon and Alison were supposedly going to be entering difficult times, due to Simon losing his job, but all this appeared to involve was the cutting back on takeaway meals and the use of taxis - and I struggled to find sympathy with their plight. I also found that Simon's character, and his behaviour, became a little less believable as the story progressed. After he discovers exactly what it is that is affecting him, I found the way in which he broached the subject with his wife extremely unlikely. Don't get me wrong, The Pack is a good book, it is just not a great book. It is a book that would make for a great holiday read (which I hope does not come across as damning with faint praise). But the main problem for me was the lack of actual suspense or thrills. My heart stayed at a steady beat throughout the reading and this was disappointing as I had hoped for periods of tension and horror.
So in conclusion I would say that The Pack is an ably written urban fantasy with good characters and story that unfortunately lacks the thrills and spills that I felt it really needed. I liked The Pack, just didn't love it, with my lasting impression being that it was more like reading a screenplay than a novel.
This The Pack book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Pack?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Pack reader reviews
7.2/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Grimnoir Chronicles
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye—and an ex-con. He’s free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and obj...
Three Parts Dead
A god has died, and it's up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His cit...
A storm is coming... Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longe...
Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly pr...
Rosemary and Rue
The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival: but no secret can b...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended contemporary / urban books/series
- Recommended werwolf fiction
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...