“The Wolf Gift” is vintage Anne Rice—it’s a lushly written, gothic, violent, gory, metaphysical tale. This time, with werewolves.

The novel marks a return to the horror genre for Ms. Rice, 70, whose books have sold more than 100 million copies. Her “Vampire Chronicles” series, beginning with “Interview With the Vampire,” published in 1976, revived the vampire literary motif, which had been largely dormant since the days of Bram Stoker. In recent years, the genre has seen a new explosion of popularity with young-adult series like “Twilight” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Ms. Rice, who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1998, has veered away from monsters in her recent novels, focusing on the life of Jesus Christ and a series about an angel and a hired assassin. Now, following her very public breakup with organized Christianity in 2010 (a move she announced on Facebook), she’s returning to her pulpy roots.

“The Wolf Gift” features a handsome young reporter in the Bay Area who finds himself at the center of the story when he’s attacked by a werewolf, and turns into a wolf man himself. (He documents his new hairy look with his iPhone.) He’s not your typical feral, rampaging beast: The lunar cycle has no effect on him, he learns to control his transformation and he only unleashes his beastly appetite on the truly wicked.

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