Review: Wolf Creek Origin & Desolation Game

Wolf Creek: Origin
#1 by Greg McLean & Aaron Sterns

The wide open outback offers plenty of space for someone to hide. Or to hide a body.

When wiry youngster Mick Taylor starts as a jackaroo at a remote Western Australian sheep station, he tries to keep his head down among the rough company of the farmhands. But he can’t keep the devils inside him hidden for long.

It turns out he’s not the only one with the killer impulse – and the other psychopaths don’t appreciate competition. Is Cutter, the station’s surly shooter, on to him? And what are the cops freally up to as they follow the trail of the dead?

In the first of a blood-soaked series of Wolf Creek prequel novels, the cult film’s writer/director Greg Mclean and horror writer Aaron Sterns take us back to the beginning, when Mick was a scrawny boy, the only witness to the grisly death of his little sister. Origin provides an unforgettably bloody answer to the question of nature vs nurture. What made Mick Taylor Australian horror’s most terrifying psycho killer?


Spoiler Alert: Wolf Creek: Origin and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game are two separate books, but they are also the prequels to the Australian movie Wolf CreekI am unsure on how to go about commenting on both novels without spoilers. Please be aware there may be spoilers in this review, for the books and possibly the movie.


I was going to hold off on reading Wolf Creek: Origin and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game until February, but I cracked. There’s nothing more I love than a decent horror story. When it’s a horror story set in the Australian outback and based on a well-known Australian horror movie, well is it any wonder I cracked? With the options of what to read, with how many books are published a year, it can be difficult to whittle through availability and find harsh Aussie stories. I’m always very excited when I come across a story such as Wolf Creek and I tell you what I was not disappointed.

Here’s the thing; I haven’t seen the movie these stories are a prequel for. I’ve heard about it, I’ve had a rough idea about it, but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to seeing it. After devouring Origin and  Desolation Game I can say without a doubt I will be watching the movie as soon as I have the time for it. I usually try to control myself when I finish one book before beginning the next one. I like to process what I’ve read then sit down and draft my thoughts into a review. I didn’t get the chance with Origin and Desolation Game. I happily packed both books for my holiday to Melbourne, as I was halfway through Origin already, and decided I couldn’t wait to read Desolation Game. You’ve got a two-in-one review now folks because I couldn’t keep my eager mitts to myself.

Wolf Creek: Desolation Game
#2 by Greg McLean & Brett McBean

I’m not new to the idea of following a protagonist who is a serial killer, a psychopath, or a sociopath. It’s not a new sensation for me to be so confused by my emotions when it comes to reading a story where the protagonist is doing such horrific things. I love these stories. They mess with your head. They turn your perspectives around and force you to analyse your emotions and how you view such deadly people. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather avoid anyone who has a craving for violence, but when you come across a character like Mick Taylor it really does make you see there is no such thing as black and white.

I found myself sympathising for Mick. I found myself being appalled by his behaviour and sad when he gave into his urges. I found myself wanting Mick to get away with murder and at the same time I desperately wanted him to stop. Mick gets under your skin. He gets so far under your skin in Origin that by the time you are well into Desolation Game your thought process is very messed up.

Origin follows Mick and tells the story of his struggles against his dark urges, his inability to accept himself, and the fear he has of being dominated by what he knows is not common. Mick does have victims in Origin, but what I loved about it was Mick being a victim himself. Origin is mainly told from Mick’s perspective and I couldn’t help loving the guy by the end of the story, while being aghast. Desolation Game takes a slightly different tact with following the story from Mick’s perspective as well as a few of his victims. I loved the story being broken up by his time during the war in Vietnam. It added so much more depth to his character.

If you know the story of Wolf Creek you know Mick will need to survive the prequels and get away free in order to wreak terror on his victims in the movie, but there’s still plenty of times where I wondered how on earth he was going to get away with it. His actions are grisly, his manner is cold, but I loved him as a character, and I can’t wait to watch the movie Wolf Creek.

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