I enjoyed this--swallowed it almost whole, in two sittings--but perhaps was a bit overhyped . . . or just less sold by the merits so wonderfully, persuasively pitched by GR reviewer extraordinaire David Giltinan
. David's review is better than mine will be, and I'd mostly echo his attention to the way the form (the reduction, like a strong broth, of a pretty straightforward noir-horror mashup to a punchy free verse) generates a propulsive rhythm. The book zips along, 'though I fear it felt more like a film--imagistic, collagistic, full of snappy dialogue and concise compositions--than the form might at first have suggested.
I guess I thought that the poetic form would amplify attention to (and precision of) language, and occasionally Barlow snarls and bites. But sometimes he whimpers: at one point, he talks about someone moving with the fluidity of water, a phrase that uncomfortably reminds me of the wordiness of language. I guess I was startled--after the high-wire tease of free verse and the high-concept tumble of his werewolf mythos--by how conventional the whole thing really was. There's nothing wrong with that: I enjoyed the read, and recommend it happily. But it didn't blow me away, as it did so many others. (Go read David's rave; a strong positive always beats a middling appreciation like this one.)