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Posted February 1, 2014
Joe McKinney’s story DOG DAYS from the JournalStone’s DoubleDown Series Book III is a very unique story in that it takes the werewolf genre and brings it out with an entirely different mythology. Of course, as much of Joe’s work, it is set in Texas, which if you know me; you know I believe Texas is the greatest State in the Union. Next, Joe’s experience as a police officer also plays a big part of the story. I wish Joe would write a book about his experiences as a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective and a disaster mitigation specialist among his other duties in law enforcement. However, I digress. This story is about the occurrences that follow Hurricane Alexis in Brook Forest Texas, between Galveston and Houston. It follows the lives of Mark Eckert and his father, Houston Police Sergeant Wes Eckert and his mother Meredith, a pediatrician. They also have a dog named Max who also works with the police department. Mark and his friends, who are known for making the best of adolescent immaturity and utilizing immensely bad judgment, become engrossed in some horrific murders of people in the neighborhood by something that is tearing people to death.
Joe is an incredible author in that he introduces you into the life of his characters and makes you care about what happens to them, through their accomplishments and defeats. He also has a way of slowly increasing the tension until like those shock scenes in the movies you tend to jump in your seat. Each word he chooses is the best word for the situation. There is no wasted time in his stories and DOG DAYS is no exception. He takes this specific genre and makes it his own. This isn’t the old Wolfman stories with Lon Chaney Jr., or the Hammer Studio and Universal tales. Joe uses the lycanthropic story of the beast from history and then surrounds it with modern day locales. Instead of the British Moors, Joe places locale in the swamps around the coastal part of Texas. The creature himself is not the anthropomorphic monster we are used to but more like an outcast of society.
This is one of the great things about reading Joe McKinney’s works. He takes the mundane and familiar and makes it extraordinary and exotic. DOG DAYS is no exception. This is a novella at 127 pages but then you get to add a story from Sanford Allen, a master craftsman in his own rights and you have a book that will make your nights sweaty and uneasy. Just the reason I read horror!
Posted January 11, 2014
This is the second Journstone Doubledown book I have read, and I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first. It is great to have 2 distinct stories to read by 2 different authors. I especially liked the Dog Days by Joe McKinney involving some youth who get entangled with a brutal killer fallowing a hurricane. Deadly Paassage by Sanford Allen involves slaves, a deadly beast in the bowels of the ship and a free black crewman who must decide between caring for people and the dream he has of owning property.
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Posted December 5, 2013
JournalStone's DoubleDown series, book 3, contains 2 - slightly creepy - stories, 'Dog Days' and 'Deadly Passage'.
Dog Days by Joe KcKinney:
This story can only be described as 'Coming of age in a horror scenario', or 'A different kind of summer'. It's the summer holidays and a flood has blanked a nondescript southern town. Upon investigation by the local police sergeant a horrific crime scene reveals itself and becomes the fascination of the sergeant's son and his cronies. This crime scene does not remain the only one for long, every full moon a new one appears. The sergeant's son, still under the guilt of having played with his father's service gun, and his father having found out, takes it again and ends the horror once and for all. Sometimes it pays not to listen to your parents.
Deadly Passage by Sanford Allen:
A story set back in the times of the slave trades, and some of the characters are still up there in my head. The Goethe quote in the beginning of the book describes the story the best, 'No one is more of a slave, than he who thinks himself free without being so'. A freed slave works on a slave trade ship so as to make enough money for him to marry his sweetheart. The slave ship has taken aboard a stowaway of a different type, and both the slaves and the crew start to mysteriously die, as if the life and blood get sucked out of them. When most are gone and the ship is without a crew and captain, it is the freed slave who returns it to Africa. The story has good descriptions of this shameful period in our past, not central to the story, but a haunting reminder.
Posted December 3, 2013
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Two very different books offered in one package. Both are monster stories, but that's where the similarities end. Dog Days involves a young (14) boy, a few of his friends, and his dad who is larger than life in the eyes of his son. A fast moving story, a bit predictable but overall good. Deadly Passage's monster stows away on a slave ship making its way across the ocean. The monster is nothing compared to the vile descriptions of the way people can treat other human beings. I found myself several times not wanting to continue because of the ghastly details of life on board this ship. If you want to feel rotten about humans as a race, this book is for you. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.