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Tha Happening

The cleverly titled “Norm” perfectly ends a wonderful werewolf trilogy. It takes place several years after the events of the previous book, “The Happening,” and introduces a whirlwind cast of new characters and perspectives to the world of Chicago’s ongoing werewolf epidemic. I’ve said it in previous reviews and I’ll say it again: If you want to know how a werewolf takeover would go down in modern times, this is pretty much it.

Taking place later in the lycanthropic epidemic, “Norm” presents more of the “bigger picture” aspects of the existence of werewolves: government bureaucracy, shady agendas, politics, science, rampant public denial, nutty religions, Big Pharma capitalizing on everything, and, of course, the myriad struggles of the actual werewolves themselves. Here we have some pretty fun pack dynamics, including the disparity between “Infectives” and “Trueborn” werewolves. You’ve also got a few wilder things like werewolf Neo-Nazis, slick MLM-type businessmen, and a conflicted werewolf sniper who has some serious personal baggage (half of the book’s namesake, Norm).

Being the final installment in the trilogy, “Norm” ties up a lot of the storylines present in the previous two novels – though it leaves a little unfinished business, which feels realistic in the aftermath of a violent and chaotic viral werewolf outbreak. (Without spoilers, let’s just say that one of the novel’s big reveals is very supernaturally exciting.) It also provides closure on a few of the previous two novels’ plotlines, including the evolving relationship between Polly and Ansel (who might actually be my favorite character now). I, for one, really loved how it all came together.

As always, D.T. Neal brings his trademark satirical humor to what could easily be a pretty heavy story in addition to his fantastic characters and created world. I have to once again shout out how incredible all his characters are. There were a lot of them in this novel – all the ones from the previous two books and more – but I still felt like I intimately knew each one and was more than a little sad that this was the final book with them.

“Norm” also introduced some pretty engaging mystery – and, dare I say, romantic – plotlines and seeing those through was a lot of fun. While I’m bummed that this is the last installment of the werewolf story (werewolves are my favorites, after all) I’m very excited to read Neal’s other books. And while we’re here, I’m going to double down on my assessment that this series is criminally underrated and needs a sassy and action-packed television show in the style of “True Blood,” stat.

—Becky Stephenson on GOODREADS


“…an intriguing riff on werewolf fiction…a satisfying, even strangely moving conclusion. There is closure here, action and intrigue…”

—Chthonicus, Amazon review


It’s been eight years since Zooey’s lycanthropic insurrection—known as the Happening—broke out across the country. Werewolves are everywhere and nowhere at once, ignored and disregarded by the media and officially denied by the government. Norm Stockwell, an elite, paranormal counterinsurgency agent, is desperate to reclaim his former life in the face of the ongoing lycanthropic epidemic. Working with members of the secret society of the Synowie Srebra, Norm hunts down the ever-elusive Ansel Rupino in an effort to put an end to the Happening once and for all. All that stands in his way are highly organized pack-gangs of Lupines who prowl the bloody streets of Chicago by the light of the moon, in their relentless, instinctive search for prey.


Born in Missouri, growing up in Ohio, and settling in Chicago, D. T. Neal has always written fiction, but only got really serious about it in the late 90s. He brings a strong Rust Belt perspective to his writing, a kind of “Northern Gothic” aesthetic reflective of his background.

Writing his first novel at 29, he then devoted time to his craft and worked on short stories, occupying a space between genre and literary fiction, with an emphasis on horror, science fiction, and fantasy. He has seen some of his short stories published in “Albedo 1,” Ireland’s premier magazine of speculative fiction, and he won second place in their Aeon Award in 2008 for his short story, “Aegis.” He has lived in Chicago since 1993, and is a passionate fan of music, a student of pop culture, an avid photographer and bicycler, and enjoys cooking.

He has published six novels, Saamaanthaa, The Happening, and Norm—collectively known as The Wolfshadow Trilogy—Chosen, Suckage, the cosmic folk horror-comedy thriller, The Cursed Earth. He has also published three novellas—Relict, Summerville, and The Day of the Nightfish.

He co-edited THE FIENDS IN THE FURROWS folk horror anthologies, The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror, The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror, and The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest.


• 2008 Aeon Award, Second Place for “Aegis”
• 2009 Honorable Mention, “Best Horror of the Year,” edited by Ellen Datlow for “Aegis” and “Rotgut.”
• Runner-up, 2013 Best New Novel by a Chicagoan, Chicago Reader, for “Suckage”
• Shortlisted for the 2012 Aeon Award for “Day of the Nightfish.”


  • Series: The Wolfshadow Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback:
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-944286-51-4

Also available as an ebook.