Grey Dogs
Ian Sandusky

Severed Press, Paperback, $11.00
Review by Darkeva

Plot Summary: When God Turns His Back On The Earth

Fires blaze out of control. Looters are run through with speeding lead. Children scream as their flesh is torn by broken teeth. Firearms insistently discharge in the night air. Over it all, the moans of the infected crowd out any pause for silence.

The Epidemic Shows No Mercy

Men. Women. Fathers. Daughters. Wives. Brothers. All are susceptible, and the viral infection is a death sentence. One hundred percent communicable. One hundred percent untreatable. It’s making people insane, turning them feral. Zombies. No end is in sight, and Carey Cardinal has run out of options.

One Shot At Seeing Sunrise

Past lives, shadowed histories and long-kept secrets will emerge, making the twisted road ahead ever more difficult to navigate as Carey will discover a foe far more dangerous than the shattered grey dogs – himself.

The Review: I’ll preface this review by saying that although I’m not a huge fan of the whole post-apocalyptic zombie subgenre in horror, which is on the rise now, Grey Dogs thoroughly impressed me because it had good characterization, i.e. characters you sympathize with, as well as the masterful use of tension as a page-turning tool. The descriptions are powerful and bold, and Sandusky is a gifted writer.

The book alternates between the points of view of Carey, a university student and part-time bouncer, and Roman, a high school student. We start things off from Carey’s point of view with a story about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a former bouncer, Aaron, six months ago.

On another interesting note, this is a Canadian horror novel set in South western Ontario.

When we get around to Roman’s thoughts in the second chapter, we see the perspective of a high school student bored out of his skull in English class; he has a twin sister, Keila (Kei), who, although she performs better than him academically and is more well-behaved, Roman likes. He has the hots for the school’s resident alternative hot girl, Annablel, a senior who is the same age as him but has the allure of the “older woman.” And smokes like a chimney, which to him is, I suppose, attractive.

Another of the novel’s strengths besides great characterization is good use of diction and word usage. The novel quickly turns into a high-octane zombie thriller and in the section when the zombies first start to pursue Carey, the tension will absolutely have you biting your nails.

Carey’s path crosses with the twins and he becomes responsible for their welfare. As we all know, protecting oneself in a situation such as this is bad enough, but to have to watch out for two other lives is challenging, especially high school kids who have a limited sense of what’s going on, but don’t understand why.

Sandusky sure does love his onomatopoeia, which is also an effective tool at making the dialogue and the interior character narrative come alive. As the book winds down to its end, death is rampant, and the surviving characters begin to expect it every second. The novel concludes on a sort of a “cut off” note, and will make you look around for missing pages, because it ends so abruptly and in the middle of things. We don’t really get the traditional denouement or resolution, which will leave you hanging a bit, and it’s disappointing not to find out what happens to Carey after everything he’s been through. He has changed, of course, from who he was when the novel first started, but I’m the kind of reader who, although I have no problem making my own conclusion about what happens to someone at the end of a novel, still appreciates having some tidbits or breadcrumbs to give me a better idea.

Overall, a great book if you want a quick zombie thriller.

Rating: 4/5

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