Book Review: The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra


Rating: 3 / 5

Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Vincent Marelli aka the Wolf,  is the head of a powerful organized crime group.  Unlike many upper level members, who were born into the organization, Marelli had a fairly quiet childhood, only entering the mob after both his parents died within a short time of each other.  He is cunning and astute, but after a minor mistake with letting his guard down, his wife and two daughters were murdered.  Thinking that the Russians, led by Vladimir Kostolov are behind the brutal killings, Marelli plans to exact revenge.

The Wolf is a quick read, but ultimately not all that satisfying.  It is interesting to get a glimpse at how the other half live, and it has made me think twice about if organized crime is really in all the industries Carcaterra mentions.  The Wolf has plenty of action and is fast-paced, but the main issue I have is that Marelli is not a compelling character. I am sure he is smart and cunning, as it is difficult to imagine him as the head of a successful international crime ring if he doesn’t have these two characteristics, but the reader will know of his abilities only because he continually mentions them, and not that the attributes are witnessed through events. It makes a difference to me to read that someone calls himself smart, and another thing to read the book and describe the character as intelligent.

The Wolf is a thriller, and while I did not fully embrace Marelli, I did enjoy the action and the plot.  The book ends with a twist, and despite not warming to the main character, I actually can’t wait to see what comes next.


  1. I have seen this problem often. Unfortunately, there are many books that do not abide by the ‘show, don’t tell” rule of writing and it can really ruin a book.
    Reviews for it don’t seem to be all that great, which is a shame.

    1. I agree-people seemed to like his other books, so I thought I’d give this one a shot. It wasn’t totally bad, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be.

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