Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Blog Tour: Review of Pavlov's Dogs by D.L. Snell & Thom Brannan

Title: Pavlov’s Dogs
Author: D.L. Snell & Thom Brannan
Publisher: Permuted Press
Target Audience: Adult
Genre: Horror
Length: 281 pages


Dr. Crispin has engineered the saviors of mankind: Pavlov’s Dogs, a team of soldiers capable of transforming into fearsome beasts. But when Crispin and his team welcome a new talented neurotechnician to the island, Dr. Crispin quickly realizes his masterwork has fallen into the hands of a man he does not trust.


Back on the mainland, Ken Bishop and his best friend Jorge get caught in a traffic jam on their way home from work. There’s a wreck up ahead. And something worse. The first sign of a major outbreak—and Ken and Jorge are stuck in the gridlock. They quickly realize that they not only need to escape, but they also need to save as many people as possible on the way.


Now Dr. Crispin and his team must make a terrible decision. Should they send the Dogs out into the zombie apocalypse to rescue survivors? Or should they listen to the new neurotechnician, who would have them hoard their resources and post the Dogs as island guards?

Thoughts and impressionsThough I watch a fair few horror films, it’s actually fairly rare that I will read horror stories aimed at the adult market. I tried Stephen King’s Pet Sematary once and ended up having nightmares about dead things rising from the grave. Not fun. I stopped part way through and haven’t touched another King novel since (though I have watched most of the films based on his books and those never give me nightmares!). This experience taught me something very important: do not treat horror as bedtime reading. My overactive imagination does not appreciate it. I learnt my lesson and, thankfully, kept it in mind with this one.

Pavlov’s Dogs doesn’t quite get like Pet Sematary. It reads like the literary version of one of those horror movies from the 80s that were pretty much just making fun of themselves. Think those old movies with incredibly unrealistic zombies shuffling around groaning about brainssssss. Kind of like that in that there was certainly a lot of tension and the worry of how survival can be ensured, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. Trust me, this can definitely be a good thing!

The book is at times quite clearly a portrait of society. Then again, don’t most zombie tales draw lines between the good of the individual and the good of the group? Each time there’s the question of whether to help others at the potential expense of risking your own life. As humans, I think we’re often torn between the two as our morals tell us we should help but our survival instinct screams that it’s in our better interests not to.

So the zombies are the kind we all know already. There’s a bus crash and those who were dead start to stand up again and attack the living. It only takes a small flesh wound to turn a living person into the living dead and we follow a group of survivors desperately trying to do just that – survive. At the same time we also follow a group of scientists on an isolated. As such, they’re not at risk of being overrun by the zombie hordes. Even better, they have their own secret weapon: military men genetically engineered to be able to shift into dogs. These are the people who are faced with the choice of sending out their secret weapon to help save those they can, or better ensure their own survival by ignoring their plight. I found the Dogs to be original in a market where there are countless books about werewolves out there. Zombies versus werewolves? Oh yeah, fun in the making!

I did have a couple of problems as well, though. My main problem with the book was all the names. There are a lot of characters and they all get named. I just couldn’t hold on to that many names in my head and keep being able to associate that name with that character, especially when most of them are just secondary characters. It just resulted in me getting confused and having to stop every so often to try to figure out just who X was happening to.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the book a lot! It was outside of my normal comfort zone but just reading it you could tell that the authors had a great time collaborating on this novel. It always shows when the authors really enjoyed writing and it’s very obvious that this is the case here.

Style: I don’t really have much to say about the style. It suited the voice of the story very well, easily creating tension but also sometimes providing a needed laugh. At the start of the book there was a “voila” that turned out to be a “viola” (spelling mistake) and that made me laugh!

Final verdict: It was good! I enjoyed myself running from the zombie hordes with these people. 4 stars


  1. Great review! Thanks for posting it! I loved the book, personally, and quickly devoured its sequel.


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