Sleeping Dog Paperback – 1 Sep 2004
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A dark and pacey read. -- Buxton Advertiser
Sleeping Dog is an exciting fantasy of a story that will keep literary thriller fans guessing until the end. -- The Big Issue Cymru
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Etta lay where she had fallen, soon she would be as cold as the worn slates of the kitchen floor. Above her, a calm hand wrapped two small pieces of magnetic ironstone in oak leaves and began to bind the wrapping with a thin leafless strip of ivy.
The sun blazed through the large rotten windows to the mans right, but no one was likely to be on the moor today and if they were, all they would see would be a figure at the window of a farmhouse.
He crouched down and placed the stones into the top pocket of Ettas overalls. He had watched her heart stop pumping and vividly seen her body fall, as a boulder into a pond whose surface had been calm for too many years. Placing one hand over the secreted stones he spoke in Welsh, "Deliver unto me my enemies."
The barren house held no more interest for now and he left by the front door.
Top Customer Reviews
One fault though - the back cover describes the story as believable and whilst this may be true of the characters and setting - there is a strong element of fantasy to the horror.
Overall - a clever story, well told although some might object to the sadism.
The novel started off with a decent pace to maintain interest, and slowly pulled me in with its realistic settings and believable characters. While the Mabinogion is a good background, the book's strength is the quality of its plotting and characterisation which kept me turning the pages.
The flavour of the Welsh stories are faithfully maintained. Sharpe also weaves modern witches seamlessly into the plot.
The storyline has enough twists to keep the reader guessing, but not so many that it seemed to sway all over the place.
I have read reviews that complain about the gore, and it's probably fair to say Sharpe doesn't pull his punches in regard to letting blood flow. I did think most of the violence was in context, but the book probably wouldn't have suffered from this aspect being toned down a little.
In all, this was a read that kept me engrossed. If I have any complaints it's to do with the presentation and editing - there were regular glitches and errors that I suspect can't all be blamed on the electronic formatting. These did annoy me in several places, but not enough make me want to stop reading.
Some elements, e.g. Goth Vampires and modern day Wiccans, seem to jar with the Ancient Celtic Otherworldy Evil that our heores face, but generally the sense of growing, unseen menace is well sustained, and the book is structured like a detective story "whodunnit" rather than a horror yarn.
Sadly, the ending, featuring a "dog" rather than "god" from the machine, fails to live up to the earlier promise. Potentially interesting ideas about reincarnations of the archetypal figures from Welsh myth are lost in standard B-Movie gore and sadism.
It is difficult to read the closing scene, particularly, and avoid the feeling that the author just lost interest in his own story.
In all, the book has enough of interest to recommend it, but it could have been so much more memorable...maybe if one of the narratively stronger pieces from the Mabinogion would have been used, "Branwen", or "Gerient and Enid", the power of the original tales would have come through more clearly?