Cover Image: Wolf at the Door

Wolf at the Door

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

All Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad for her no one else wanted to be there. By the time the turkey is carved, old grievances, bad behavior and crass remarks have transformed her dinner party into a disaster. And then a werewolf shows up to do some carving of its own.

Well what a surprising little gem! I am an avid horror reader and I particularly love a good creature feature so when I read the synopsis for this book I thought, great, this sounds right up my street. But boy wasn’t I in for a treat. Filled with suspense, violence, humour and gore this was an epic read from start to finish and I just loved McKay’s writing style and characterisation. He is definitely a discovered author that I will be reading more of in the future.

Was this review helpful?

I received this book as an ARC through Netgalley. Thank you for the early read.

I am giving this book a 4-star review. This book was not what I expected it to be. It was full of so much drama and murder. I loved it. Each character was very well written and had major backgrounds. I will recommend this book to everyone because it has an odd spin on a chaotic holiday that you may actually enjoy.

Was this review helpful?

⭐⭐.5/5, rounded up to a 3!

Wolf at the Door is a horror novella effectively told through multiple people attending a Thanksgiving dinner at the Deerborns. The prospects for Charlotte Dearborn's dinner doesn't look too good to start with, with grandparents no one really likes, a creepy uncle who just got out of jail and an all-around stressed atmosphere, throw in a werewolf lurking outside in the dark and things are bound to go south.

Some things I liked:
– The short chapters and altering perspective (fun to see things through everyone's eyes whilst being fast-paced)
– The family dynamic (not the best, but interesting nonetheless)

Some things that didn’t work for me personally:
– Lack of atmosphere (everything happened very fast and “hands on”, and what I’m usually drawn to in a story is the atmosphere. being set almost in the woods, an opportunity was missed to not use the sublime vibe it can contribute to.)
– The shocking moments weren’t as many as I’d like, and I was left craving more

If you’re looking for a short (werewolf) horror with a comedic tone you should give this one a try, because this book succeeds in doing what it sets out to do – it just didn’t work for me unfortunately.

Thank you, NetGalley and Birchwood Press for this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

You know you’ve just finished a really special book when it comes to a close and you miss the main character already. I came to this thinking it was going to be a quirky little story about a quirky little character and I was looking forward to it, I’ve never been so glad to be wrong, it’s so very much not, yet so very much more than that.

Was this review helpful?

Book Summary: This horror/dark comedy novella follows a dysfunctional family & their friends during a Thanksgiving dinner. Little do they realize that the trouble is not themselves at the dinner table but what is lurking outside.

What I liked: This story was a quick read. It was witty and action-packed all the way through. I enjoyed the banter between each person, along with each person's reaction which showed each one's personality. I giggled a lot reading some of the things these people would say to each other. I appreciated how the family dysfunction and the werewolves kept the story going with no lull in the pace. Lastly, I enjoyed the theme of how messed up families can be, the idea of getting people together for the holidays and putting up with differences and past experiences, along with the escalation of the werewolves lurking and attacking which could by symbolism for family conflict. Char's idea of a nice dinner gone wrong is a very common theme many people experience. Very relatable.

What I disliked: There was one part where the cop emptied his gun, but then Dan grabs it and used it. How did that happen? Were there two guns on the cop? Did Dan quickly load it? Maybe I missed that part.

Overall: I give this story 4 stars. I really enjoyed it. I ended up following Joel McKay on GoodReads in hopes to see more stories like this one. I love horror and dark comedy mixed together.

Was this review helpful?

It felt like the author knew what he was going to write and stuck to it. There were no frills, no deviations from the course. He just told his story. What else could you ask for as a reader?

A Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends is already a compelling plot point for most readers. Having hosted Thanksgiving dinner myself this year, I could really relate to the situation and the characters. The story is told from a lot of the characters' perspectives, and it's done really well. We start off feeling tension at dinner, friends on the brink of divorce, and others hiding something. Adding both sets of parents and distant uncle, it's a recipe for disaster, but the meat of the story lies in how each character deals with the werewolf attack.

I'd give it a 5/5 for the story as a whole, but a 3/5 for me as a reader. Though the ending was great, I usually like to read more complex prose, and I got irritated when the author repeats the same word(s). But I understand why the writing style is that way - it's easy to read and accessible for all readers.

Pick this up if you want a break from your family dinner!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC. While Wolf at the Door is outside of my usual list of genres to read, as I don't like much horror, it was surprisingly fun to read because there were laugh out loud scenes that helped filter the blood and gore. None of the characters are likable, and they're not supposed to be. It sets up the tension of a Thanksgiving dinner where everything is a step from disaster. It's no surprise then that werewolves attack. I would not say this is a scary book, but one filled with a bit of tension and more hilarity than I expected.

Was this review helpful?

An intense and thrilling page turner! One of the best horror stories I've read in a long time. It's short but packs a big punch! A dysfunctional family has Thanksgiving dinner interrupted by not one, but TWO werewolves!

Lots of unlikeable characters (but they are necessary for the high body count) and makes it all the more fun when the bodies start flying! I literally said "Holy crap" at one point. Creepy to the point where when I took my dog out before bed and something in the woods got his attention, my heart started pumping a little faster. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and Birchwood Press for this DRC.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Set during a Thanksgiving dinner, a family must not only navigate each other but a monster that stalks them from outside the house. While the characters lacked overall connection, the story was otherwise an enjoyable fast-paced turn of events highlighting gruesome deaths and dry humor. A wonderful quick read that blends horror and humor. that werewolf fans are sure to enjoy.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

If you want a creature feature set on Thanksgiving, then this book is for you.

While the characters are attending a Thanksgiving meal, a monster stalks the guests from outside the house. After a while, the monster breaches the house, and the guests are left fighting for their lives, all while not understanding what this monster is that they are fighting against.

There are a lot of characters to have to keep track of, and I felt no connection to any of them. Maybe they’re not meant to be liked?

Overall, this was a quick read, but it doesn’t make the top of the list for werewolf novels.

Was this review helpful?

Perfect blend of humor and horror. Just when you think a shit show of a Thanksgiving dinner could not have gotten worse werewolves show up. I had an absolute blast reading this. It has the pinnacle of nightmare Thanksgiving dinners down to the creepy uncle, to gruesome horrifying deaths. A perfect quick read for any horror and werewolf fans!

Thank you NetGalley for providing me this arc. It was an absolute gem!

Was this review helpful?

Quick and interesting read. I really liked some of the humor and how the werewolves were portrayed. However, I didn't like any of the characters. There just wasn't anything about any of the characters to grasp onto enough to care if they survived.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the free ARC in exchange for a non-biased review

Was this review helpful?

Wolf at the Door has all the delightful family drama of the Thanksgiving table in a nutshell. Disapproving inlaws, a divorce on the horizon, jealousy, envy, oh it has all of it. That's certainly enough for one day but then it gets hairy. Like really hairy. No one invited the werewolf for turkey and gravy but he's there huffing and puffing and blowing the little house down. Okay, enough puns. I love werewolf stories. As far as tropes go, it's at least in my top ten. A werewolf ripping and tearing its way through the entire Days of Our Lives dysfunction should have been a blast but the novella didn't deliver on some aspects for me.

This is not a book where you pick that one character to enthusiastically want to see them escape the clutches of evil. I didn't like any of the characters. Head ripped off? Cool. Survived the night? Whatever. I didn't have any strong feelings for or against any of them meeting their ghastly end at the hands, er...paws of the wolf. That also means there is no underdog to root for to make it out alive. Now obviously that's on purpose as all the characters are constructed with all their faults at the forefront. Liking a character doesn't automatically equate to a great read. However, I expected to be more invested in the characters and it didn't happen.

Still, there's an abundance of innards becoming out-ards and all kinds of squelchy goodness. If you want a quick read where the walls run red, McKay certainly delivers the splatter. I'd say that people who don't typically read horror would have fun with this novella but most seasoned horror readers are going to want more developed characters and a more nuanced plot.

Was this review helpful?

Wolf at the Door is not one of my typical reads, but I enjoyed it a great deal. There was definitely a horror aspect to the story, but it was also hilarious in places.

I could relate to the hostess in many ways. All Char wanted was to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving with her family and friends. Hosting a large dinner, especially one with the expectations set upon it like Thanksgiving, is always stressful, but when you add in a werewolf attack, that takes things to a whole other level.

There were some deeply dysfunctional characters who I had a hard time liking. That makes the story more realistic because every family or gathering has people who are just unlikeable. There were even a few characters who I hoped would get eaten by the werewolf and found it deeply satisfying when they did get eaten! I really enjoyed how the family could set aside petty squabbles and work together in the face of trauma.

I think I would have enjoyed the book a bit more if it had been scary. It was definitely tense, at times, but it never really achieved the fright I’d anticipated from its “horror” label. Still, the book was solidly entertaining and there were a few scenes that really made me laugh.

Was this review helpful?

I first noticed this book after reading the anthology ‘Blood in the Soil, Terror on the Wind’ which has his short story ‘Hands’ which I liked that much I went looking for other books and found this, and I’m a sucker for a good non love story werewolf story, and this, this is definitely a good story.

The writing is smooth and easy to read, with a nice bit of gore, and a little bit of humour.

I really enjoyed this book, a lot of gory fun.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.*

Was this review helpful?

No matter what happens at your Thanksgiving feast this year, you can at least be thankful that no werewolves will be showing up!

I wish I could say that I enjoyed Wolf at the Door more. I liked the idea McKay had. He twisted dysfunctional family dynamics into something even more horrific! Plus, I do enjoy werewolf stories. Unfortunately, I wasn't fond of the way the domestic drama played out and although I know Dan was supposed to be unlikable, his gross behavior was just too much for me to tolerate.

This is a short read, however, and one that may make you better appreciate your own family! I may not have been the right reader for it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be!

I am immensely grateful to Birchwood Press and NetGalley for my digital review copy. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Like most of the reviews that have already been written, this is a fun, quick ride into dysfunction, horror, and comedic one liners. It reminded me of Christmas Vacation and the big family get together, but with the addition of hungry werewolves. The comedy is there, but don’t let that fool you, there is plenty of violence, gore, and suspense. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines “I told you not to snatch the meat”, priceless!

Was this review helpful?

I throughly enjoyed this novel. In fact, it’s one of the few lately that has held my attention throughout the entire story. While I could see a few things coming, I never felt like rushing though it. I would definitely recommend it to friends.

Was this review helpful?

It's time for Thanksgiving and the Deerborn's are having family and friends over for their big feast hoping to unite one and all which will be an impossible task when the in-laws don't get along, the brother-in-law was just released from prison, the neighbors and friends do not know one another and add in a surly teenager plus a ten year old who's obsessed with monsters and walks around wearing a Michael Myers mask all the time. This Thanksgiving will be completely different though this year because there will be one guest who was unexpected and is very hairy and also very hungry and it will find a way to this dinner whether welcome or not and it is not going to leave until it's had it's fill. Will anyone survive this Thanksgiving and what will be the other repercussions from this night filled with horror and delicious fun?

What a fantastic, horror filled novella this was for me. The story had a little bit of everything thrown in to make it great. Fun, snarky humor was there from the first to the last page, There was no holding back on bloody violence and gore, not to be under done by a darn, good story that I hated seeing coming to and end. This was my first book by Joel McKay but definitely not my last because his writing and storytelling and great characters was ferociously decadent. All of you horror lovers out there don't miss out on this little gem because I highly recommend and wish all my horror books could be such a nightmarish good time!

I want to thank the publisher "Birchwood Press" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this novella and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!

I have given this solid book a rating of 4 RAVAGING BEASTLY 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!!

Was this review helpful?

Wolf at the Door by Joel McKay was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it. I had never read this author before, however I was quite surprised and delighted when I started reading this novella. The state of horror books with wokeness being integrated has disappointed me this year. This book did NONE of that. The snappy dialogue, we all see and hear during the holidays (which are fast approaching), and those pesky uninvited guests who are running around outside, made for a quick read. I will be searching out this author and I highly recommend anyone who likes a good werewolf novella (around 120 pages), or buys gifts for these that do, give this one a read.

5 Stars

Was this review helpful?