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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


By Wayne Smith
Ballantine Books, 232 pp, 1992

Thor immediately suspects there is something wrong with Uncle Ted when he comes to visit. He seems different, but Thor can’t place it. Uncle Ted may be a threat to the family, and Thor is going to keep an eye on him, because only Thor can stop Uncle Ted. Only Thor suspects the truth.

Thor is a four-year-old German Shepherd.

That is the interesting premise of Wayne Smith’s novel. It is told almost entirely from the perspective of the dog. I realize this device has been done before, but this is the first I’ve seen it used in a horror novel.

As a horror novel, it’s fairly conventional, well written but nothing new. The appeal of this book is definitely the point of view. I gained some insights into why my two golden retrievers act the way they do! Dog lovers would enjoy this. My wife liked it, and she’s neither a big reader nor a horror fan, but loves dogs.

I must say one thing. A blurb on the back cover says that this book is “Recommended for Young Readers by the American Library Association.” What are these people smoking? Yes, kids would enjoy the dog thing, but the book has profanity throughout, and even a brief but mildly explicit sex scene. It’s hardly suitable for young readers. I wouldn’t give it to my niece to read, or younger nephew. How can they say a book with such features is okay for young people? Shame on them!

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