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Literature / Wolfman Confidential

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Nothing stays confidential in the City of Devils

It's 1955 and monsters rule the world. Nick Moss gets forced into working for the police and finds himself embroiled in a mob war. On one side: a brain in a jar and her army of zombies. On the other: the so-called Gobfather and his legion of goblins. Homages abound and secrets get uncovered in this weird neo-noir.

It has two preceding novels, City of Devils and Fifty Feet of Trouble.

Wolfman Confidential provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Nick's ever-growing harem of monsters who want to turn him.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of both film noir and monster movies.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: Features an extended homage to both Labyrinth and Legend taking place on Christmas Day.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Killer vegetables are a fixture in the city. Sam Haine the pumpkinhead also qualifies, as at least his head is presumably edible.
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  • Attractive Zombie: Jane Stitch, though she's a Frankenstein's Monster rather than a zombie.
  • Brain Food: Lampshaded, as the zombies of the world can only say "brains" with different inflections.
  • Brain in a Jar: The brainiacs, exemplified by *ahem* legitimate businessbeing Sarah Bellum, are brains in jars.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nick Moss is a nervous, stuttering, weasel of a man. He was also a paratrooper in WWII, remained human through the Night War, and is shockingly resourceful when backed into a corner (which is constantly).
  • Cute Monster Girl: Serendipity Sargasso, the siren secretary, is pretty darn cute. Assuming she doesn't smile. Jane Stitch, a Frankenstein's Monster, also qualifies.
  • Cute Mute: Female meat golems can't speaknote  and Jane Stitch is a looker for anyone who can see past the seams.
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  • Defective Detective: Nick Moss isn't an impressive man.
  • Detective Animal: Lou Garou, Phil Moon, Alfred Wolfe, and Hunter Moore are examples of this. They're all wolfmen, like most of the LAPD.
  • Dirty Cop: Phil Moon
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Sam Haine and Mira Mirra qualify. Lurkimer Closett not so much.
  • Dumb Muscle: The zombies/goblins serve as the foot soldiers of the two most powerful mafias in the city. Ogres also serve this purpose in general, but we only see the one doorman.
  • The Fair Folk: The Sidhe, represented in-story by mob boss Titanio Mab, and to a lesser extent the goblins and possibly doppelgangers are also like the fey. They have a weakness to cold iron and weird magical abilities.
  • Faking the Dead: When Anonymous Bosch finds out there's a cop on Mab's payroll, said cop sets up another invisible man to be killed and mis-identified as Bosch, thereby making it so that if the real Bosch tried to come forward with his findings, it would confuse the issue long enough for him to be killed for real.
  • Fantastic Noir: The City of Devils series is noir, with all the supporting characters being monsters from b-movies or legend.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans are the downtrodden minority. Monsters call us "meatsticks." Monsters have slurs for one another as well: sidhe are called elves, meat golems are called skin-dollies, ghosts are spooks, goblins are hobs, zombies are corpses, invisible men are glass men, martians are squids, and phantoms (as in "of the opera") are goons.
  • Gayngster: Johnny Stompanato is pansexual and has a relationship with doppelganger actor Turner Coates. This is noted to not be as big of a deal in the timeline of the novel than it was in the actual 1950's, since the Night War and monster takeover did a lot to break down divisions between the human survivors.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a noir plot, there are monsters from horror fiction, it's urban and fantastic, and it has comic elements.
  • Historical Domain Character: The book features famous gangsters from L.A. including Mickey Cohen and Johnny Stompanato, as well as movie stars Audrey Hepburn and Rock Hudson.
  • Meaningful Name: A central part of the novel is that, once turned into a monster, the new monster chooses a "rebirth name." These names are inevitably meaningful, or at least cool sounding. Many of the monsters have specific naming conventions: the one sidhe we meet has a name inspired by Shakespeare (Titanio Mab), while the goblins have short and gross/menacing names (Flux, Murk, and Sawbones). Some names include: Jane Stitch (meat golem), Anonymous Bosch (invisible man), Bracken Mold and Aida Parrish (zombies), Hector Plasm (ghost), Purvissa La Bete (ghoul), Sarah Bellum (brainiac), and Turner Coates (doppelganger).
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: In this case, in a way that favors the protagonist. Nick's old war buddy Mickey Cohen runs the human mob in LA, and has such a reputation that they can go out at night and scare any monster that looks at them sideways.
  • Monster Mash: The book features vampires, zombies, banshees, goblins, witches, werewolves, gremlins, crawling eyes, meat golems, mummies, robots, doppelgangers, phantoms, ghosts, killer vegetables, ogres, sirens, gill men, bug-eyed monsters, and many, many more.
  • Mundane Solution: The various monsters all have relatively normal weaknesses and phobias that humans use to drive them away. Goblins and sidhe with cold iron, zombies with salt, werewolves with wolfsbane and silver, meat golems with fire, and so on.
  • Official Couple: By the end of the book, Nick and Jane Stitch have started dating.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The book features both werewolves (turn into large wolves) and wolfmen (who look like Lon Chaney Jr.). Each side has a long-standing feud that manifests in their chosen career paths. Both do law-enforcement, but the werewolves work for the Sheriff's Department, while the wolfmen are regular cops.
  • Playing with Fire: Sawbones the goblin gangster can throw fire from his hands.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Goblins in this world speak in rhyme, though no one really knows why. The three major goblin characters have differing skill levels. Flux speaks in rhyming couplets, Sawbones in four-to-eight line poems, and Murk can barely rhyme at all.
  • Serial Killer: The Monster Slayer a.k.a. Liling Lam
  • Shot in the Ass: Nick Moss was shot in the ass during World War II.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Sam Haine and Mira Mirra both return to stalk Nick, and are joined by the bogeyman Lurkimer Closett. Nick even adds to his "harem" by accidentally impressing the ghoul Purvissa La Bete in the course of the story.
    • Also Bracken Mold for Dulcinea Ramos, which ends much more tragically.
  • Taken for Granite: The fate of Mab's trophy girls is to be turned to stone in his "Gallery of Angels."
  • "Will Return" Caption: Given to Jane Stitch for the upcoming sequel.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: When Nick asks why Mickey didn't call his ice cream shop Ice Cream Cohen's, Mickey's response is a quietly whispered "Damn it".