The Dogs (1976) by Robert Calder



Vintage horror. The Dogs by Robert Calder follows Orph: an experimentally bred dog, which despite his killing spree yields more charisma than neurotic protagonist Alex Bauer. Vulnerable suburban children add to the tension and much of the book is a waiting game of who gets bit. The most disturbing scenes come from a dogfight and general crimes toward dogs serve as the strongest emotions of melancholy for the reader. Calder also did some research, but most, like me probably won’t wish to know this much about canine sex, or for that matter all too precious (or is that pretentious) people sex where a bedroom becomes a fidgety philosophy lecture. Calder’s writing can be tight and almost cinematic; that’s when there isn’t too much internal thought monologue from a dull protagonist. This is a nature vs. man tale, which has a good sense of place, landscape and a believable ensemble; too bad the leading man has no redeeming features and relationships dissipate as if they themselves were lost dogs. For the most part competently written, yet under-developed with some poor psychodrama; read it for a bit of fun.


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