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Wayne Smith

average rating is 5 out of 5

Horror, Thriller, Supernatural

R. Alex Jenkins

I love Thor. I want a dog like him. I will love my own dog even more now.

And I wolfed through this book 🐾 🐶 🐾.

Most of the story takes place through the eyes of Thor, which is quite unique. This represents a pathetic fallacy that emotions and abilities are not restricted to human beings but can live in nature and especially in our pets.

Wayne Smith certainly understands canines and must have endlessly studied them while imagining what they think, their relationships with humans as pack animals, how they react as equals to other pack members or to threats, and more importantly, as subservient to their masters.

Why this book doesn’t have wider recognition is beyond me? Published in 1992, maybe it’s to do with the pulpy 1940s cover? Because it's got soppy dogs in it? Even the name, Thor, is misleading as though it's linked to superheroes, even images of sentimental movies like Hachi: A Dog's Tale spring to mind, doing it no favours as overly cute and perhaps rather mawkish.

And Thor isn't particularly well written either, sometimes feeling overly simple and formulaic at times, nor is it frightening or disturbing but more like a family-based thriller with a spooky, supernatural element. This is mild horror at best through its dependency on everyone remaining safe under threat, as Thor diligently protects his family - his mission and reason for living - as you learn to love a terrific guy in the body of a dog.

Amazingly, there are inexcusable grammatical errors: 'know’ instead of 'knew', 'made' instead of 'make', spelling mistakes, unfinished words, etc.; lack of high-end polish and badly in need of basic editing, which are not digitization faults but human errors from perhaps rushing the story too fast? I don't get it. Fortunately, this does not negatively impact the power of the tale.

Okay, so werewolves! No explanation of how they get here. Far-fetched, implausible and often bundling along, but I’m still giving this five stars for the emotions it stirred in me, for how it made me feel, for my love of dogs, although I accept it might not be visceral enough for everyone’s tastes and definitely not hardcore or horror literature - more like a fun, fluid and rampant thriller with a spiky edge.

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