Though it’s not presented as a horror/thriller novel, DoG by Matt Hlinak (who is also a writer here on PopMythology.com) is a compelling page turner from the get-go.
Culann Riordan is lead into what first begins as a fish-out-of-water tale but then becomes a supernatural battle for survival. Despite the fact that he’s a borderline sex offender (whose attitudes towards teenage girls become more troubling as the book progresses), I found it easy to relate to Culann, a smart guy who’d misspent most of his youth and, as our story starts, is trying to make a fresh start and prove himself a man aboard the Alaskan fishing vessel the Orthrus.
The crisp prose, vivid myth-influenced world and well-realized characters kept me keenly interested through these first chapters, to the point where I wouldn’t have minded if the story had played out entirely as an early mid-life-crisis fishing tale. However, things do take a turn, and when they do, the situation becomes so bleak so quickly it’s almost painful.
After the strong character-based drama of the first act and outright horror of the second, I’d be lying if I said the ending didn’t wrap things up a little too quickly and neatly for my liking, but that wouldn’t hold me back from recommending DoG and I’m very keen to read whatever author Matt Hlinak does next. [subscribe2]