by Hal Johnson
Review by Tammy
Myron Horowitz is a tiny boy, adopted after he was found dazed along the Maine coast, hideously disfigured from an unknown accident.
The aftermath of a terrible bullying incident at school, brings him to the attention of a group of immortal lycanthropes, animals who can change into human form. The face-off in the empty cafeteria ends up with the bully tangled up in the chicken wire and broken glass of a large, supposedly shatter proof glass. Myron is found naked, and unconcious, in the middle of the floor. Neither boy has any memory of what happened.
Various were-animals recognize him as one of their own from a newspaper account of the cafeteria melee, and accost him on the street soon after. They recognize him as "the kid who fought the lion and mane". He is rescued by a pickup truck containing Arthur and Alice, a biturong and red panda respectively. Myron discovers from them that he is a were-animal, and though the were-animals can recognize him as one, they can't identify what animal he is. He learns that there is only one were-animal of each species on the planet, and they are all immortal, and can only be killed by another were-animal in animal form. Arthur and Alice head to see Gloria, in Shoreditch, and realize after a rollercoaster off-road detour that Myron has been pitched from the back of the pickup.
A cross country adventure follows, as Myron tries to follow his one lead, and find the unknown Gloria in Shoreditch. First he has to get out of the shady boarding school full of child immigrants, where he is held captive at after being found unconscious in a ditch. Once he makes it to Shoreditch, he uses his inate were-animal sense to locate Gloria, a ten-thousand year old con artist gorilla. Myron finds out he is being hunted by the lion who disfigured him. Gloria gives Arthur's Doomsday Device to Myron and tells him to seek advice from the Nine Unknown Men, before she ditches him. So Myron tries to get help from some possible Illuminati, in New York City, and is rescued off to Canada by a 2000 year old Scottish moose. This is before they even leave the East Coast.
It's a full on romp across the country as Myron tries to figure out whom he can trust, who the lion is, and who he is. Right up to the end he has no clue what kind of were-animal he is, or how to change back. There are battles, conniving scientists, friends and foe. Though, even the friends have their own agendas. Also, there might be Rosicrucians.
This a a great, engaging read. The book is marketed as Young Adult, but it's a wonderful read for all ages. The characters were beautifully drawn, and endearing. I hope to meet them again in future works by the Mr. Johnson. It's a charming, witty, and eccentric, work by a first time author, who is worth watching.