When the full moon shines, a paralysing fear descends on the isolated Maine town of Tarker Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next, but snarls that sound like human words can be heard and all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated.
The story is set in the fictional town of Tarker's Mills, Maine. A werewolf is viciously killing people and animals and strange incidents take place at each full moon. The otherwise normal town is living in fear. The protagonist of the story is Marty Coslaw, an eleven-year-old boy in a... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The story is set in the fictional town of Tarker's Mills, Maine. A werewolf is viciously killing people and animals and strange incidents take place at each full moon. The otherwise normal town is living in fear. The protagonist of the story is Marty Coslaw, an eleven-year-old boy in a wheelchair. The story goes back and forth from the terrifying incidents to Marty's youthful day-to-day life and how the horror affects him.
The first victim is Arnie Westrum, who is murdered in a tool-shack during a blizzard when the full moon comes in January, shortly after midnight on New Year's Day. Although the police admit that they are looking for a serial killer later on in the novel, and the killer is dubbed "The Full Moon Killer", Arnie Westrum immediately identifies the killer in his mind as being "the biggest wolf he has ever seen."
The next victim is Stella Randolph, a depressed, unmarried, and impoverished seamstress, who is killed on St. Valentine's Day in February, after she has sent several Valentine's Day cards to herself from 1980's hearthrobs such as John Travolta and Ace Frehley. Believing she is dreaming, Stella sees the wolf watching her, delusively convinces herself that it is a man, and lets it into her house through the window. Stella is the only victim who seems to accept her fate, failing to so much as ward off the beast.
The next victim is an unknown homeless drifter killed in March. During an intense blizzard, virtually the entire town loses its power. While several members of the town are unable to sleep during the power outage, they hear a wolf howling. Several prominent members of the story hear the howling, including Marty and Town Constable Lander Neary. Although no one can say exactly where the howling originated from, it is at this point that the rumors of a werewolf begin to spread through the town. The drifter is found by an employee of the electric and gas company sent to repair the power lines. Wolf prints are found frozen in the snow around the body. This is the first discovered evidence of a non-human killer.
As April arrives, so does Spring, and while children celebrate the warmer weather as normal, the presence of a killer has engulfed the town in terror. On April Fool's Day, 11-year-old Brady Kincaid is flying a new kite given to him as a birthday present. Having realized that he has stayed out too late, he starts to prepare to leave. Upon doing this, Brady tells himself he has to hurry home in order to avoid a beating from his father, but in reality he is afraid of seeing the werewolf. Before he can leave, his fears are realized. He is found the next day in the park by a volunteer search party, only feet away from where other children had reported him playing, decapitated and disemboweled.
The May full moon comes on Tarker's Mills' Homecoming weekend. The chapter begins with Baptist Reverend Lester Lowe awaking from a dream and half-expecting to see a werewolf outside of his church. Lowe had dreamed that he was giving his sermon in front of a packed congregation, not unusual on Homecoming Sunday according to Lowe, and he was preaching the sermon of his life, in contrast to his usually drab homilies. As Lowe continued to preach, speaking about the presence of the Beast, the congregation began to transform, although Lowe did not cease preaching. Eventually, Lowe began to transform himself. At this point, he realizes that he has been dreaming. The next day, Sunday, Lowe finds Clyde Corliss, a janitor at the church, gutted on the pulpit.
In June, Alfie Knopfler, owner of the Chat n' Chew, a diner, is considering closing early, as it is near high school graduation, and he has no customers, when a customer enters and orders coffee. The customer is left unidentified, except to say that he is a regular, only out late. As Alfie surmises that he looks sick and probably will not stay long, the customer transforms before his eyes. Alfie compares it to the transformation scenes in The Incredible Hulk television series, and can hear change rattling in clothes pockets when the werewolf moves around, as his clothes have not been completely removed. Alfie, a Navy veteran, puts up somewhat of a struggle, but is killed relatively easily looking into the moonlight.
In July, the town's Independence Day fireworks have been canceled. This is very upsetting to Marty, who has been looking forward to them all year. Because he feels bad for him, Marty's Uncle Al brings him fireworks, warning Marty to set them off really late so that his mother won't find out. While Marty is outside enjoying his own private Independence Day celebration, the werewolf attacks the boy, who manages to put out the monster's left eye with a package of black cat firecrackers. The werewolf escapes and Marty's parents call the police.
In August, Constable Neary is getting his hair cut at the barber shop and is discussing the killer with the other patrons of the barber shop. It is revealed here that Marty has described the killer as a werewolf, not a person, and that he had been sent to live with relatives in Stowe, Vermont for the remainder of the summer, as the Maine State Police are fearful that the killer may return to kill Marty, and that Marty will recover better from the shock if he is away from Tarker's Mills. It is because of this "shock" that both Neary and the State Police have surmised that Marty, who had seen the killer, is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, and having heard the stories of a werewolf at school, had juxtaposed the image of a wolf and the human killer together. The police also ignore the fact that Marty claims the killer is now missing his left eye. While one of the patrons of the barber shop suggests that the killer wears a costume, Neary dismisses it, saying the killer is purely human, and may be completely insane, possibly not even aware that he has committed the murders. Later that night, Neary is attacked in his truck by the werewolf. Remembering the discussion about a werewolf costume, Neary attempts to pull a mask off of the killer, realizing too late that no mask exists. The werewolf then kills him in a rather playful manner (pulling off the skin of his face, as though it were a mask) and feeds upon his remains.
In September, Elmer Zinneman hears his entire pen of pigs being attacked. While initially planning to shoot at a natural predator, Elmer abandons these plans when he hears a wolf howl. Later on Elmer goes outside to see something huge and black running into the woods. Elmer's brother Pete comes over later that day and the men discuss how much of the loss will be covered by insurance. Pete mentions the wolf track evident in the mud, and notes that even he knows that those tracks belong to a werewolf, and he lives two counties away. Later on, both Elmer and Pete discuss going hunting for the werewolf, but not until November, saying that until then, people will have to be careful during the light of the full moon.
October comes and so does Halloween. To celebrate, Marty goes trick-or-treating, but although he is ostensibly just trick-or-treating, he is also looking for a man or a woman missing his or her left eye. While out, he sees the Reverend Lowe wearing an eyepatch (Lowe and Marty had not seen each other since their encounter on the Fourth of July).
In November, Elmer and Pete Zinneman, along with dozens of others, begin going into the woods everyday, waiting to shoot the werewolf. Although the hunters do not carry silver bullets, and hunt on days when the moon is not full, it is suggested that they are not looking for a mythological creature, but rather some sort of cryptid. Also, it is acknowledged that most of the hunters are hunting for fun, in order to be away from their wives, urinate outdoors, and tell jokes which include racial and ethical slurs. Reverend Lowe, realizing he may kill another innocent victim, or be discovered himself, has been receiving anonymous letters from Marty, and plans to listen to gossip, for the first time in his life, so that he may kill the person attacked in July (Marty). However, in order to avoid the hunters, Lowe decides to travel to Portland, Maine and check into a hotel. At this point, Lowe, who had at first been reluctant about his curse, which he has no idea how he contracted, has more or less gone insane, and though not actually embracing his curse, acknowledged that all things serve the will of God. Ironically, after traveling to Portland, Lowe kills Milt Sturmfuller, a resident of Tarker's Mills, who is known as a notorious wife-batterer. Sturmfuller has been systematically traveling to Portland to cheat on his wife. After one night in Portland, he contracts genital herpes, when he returns home, maritally rapes his wife, and passes the disease onto her. While walking from his hotel room, which is the room adjacent to the one that Lowe has purchased, Sturmfuller is decapitated by the werewolf.
By December, the town of Tarker's Mills is beginning to return to normal, as there has not been a known murder by the Full Moon Killer since Neary in August. However, some residents, such as Elmer Zinneman, point out that his pigs, and the four deer found slaughtered in the woods in October, could have been killed by the werewolf (Sturmfuller's death goes virtually unnoticed as he is far from a model citizen, and he is not linked to the Tarker's Mills murders as he is murdered in Portland). Marty continues to send Lowe anonymous letters asking why he doesn't kill himself and end the terror. In December, he sends the last letter - signed with his name. Unbeknownst to Reverend Lowe, Marty has convinced his somewhat reluctant uncle to have two silver bullets made and to come spend New Year's Eve (which falls on the full moon) with him. Right before midnight, the werewolf breaks into the house to kill Marty, who shoots him twice with the silver bullets, managing to completely blind and finally kill him. The Cycle of the Werewolf ends almost exactly a year after it began.
We’re hiding the errata, books that influenced this book, books influenced by this book, books that cite this book and books cited by this book sections. If you would like to add content to them, you must first make them visible.