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Rain Dogs by Gary McMahon

Due to Werewolf Appreciation Month I’ve unfortunately not had time to read the latest release from Anarchy books. Luckily for me Tony (@iuchiAtesoro) Lane has. Here is his review.

Guy Renford is fresh out of prison. His life in ruins, he is estranged from his wife and daughter. So he returns to the Yorkshire town of Stonegrave to try and recover what he once held dear. But a presence is watching from behind the endless rainstorm, something that wants revenge… and has not come alone.

Rosie sees ghosts. She has since childhood. These sorrowful visions of drowned schoolgirls are linked to a past she fled to America to escape. But you can never run from destiny, and something is calling Rosie back to rainy Stonegrave, the home of her worst nightmares…

Slowly, the lives of these two people are drawn together in a town cut off by floods, and at the height of the storm they will be forced to battle a relentless foe that uses the deluge as cover, stalking them from within a merciless onslaught of rain…

First up I’d like to thank Paul for asking me to guest post on his blog. As a regular reader I’m quite chuffed. The timing was perfect as I know he’s a huge Gary McMahon fan but, due to other commitments, wasn’t planning on reviewing this ebook.

Rain Dogs was originally released in paperback by Humdrumming back in 2008, but has not been released as an ebook before. This is not the first re-release by Anarchy Books, Monstrocity by Jeffrey Thomas being another example. These re-releases add good balance to original fiction, such as The Office of Lost & Found by Vincent Holland-Keen, that Anarchy are also publishing. I think Andy Remic is doing a good job so far, and my one complaint is that I want a paperback edition of Serial Killers Incorporated to give to a friend who does not read ebooks.

I’ve only just finished reading Pretty Little Dead Things by Gary McMahon, and thought it would be interesting to see how similar this book is to the Thomas Usher series. Even though they are both paranormal horror stories they are very different from one another. There is more hope in this story, whereas Pretty Little Dead Things is deliberately much more melancholy.

The story follows Guy Renford, a normal bloke with a bit of a temper. When he finds an intruder looking into the crib of his newborn baby he loses it, and beats the man to a pulp. On leaving prison, his life is a mess and all he wants to do is sort it out. Although a horrible and violent act, I could see myself doing something similar. That was worrying, yet edifying at the same time.

I particularly loved the moment where Guy meets his daughter for the first time in three years. Anybody who’s had a three year old child will laugh and relate to how she reacts. This is just one example, amongst many, where I thought a particular scene was really well written.

As the plot unfolds you know somebody is going to be a sacrifice, the question is who and for which side? This builds the tension nicely, and the ending works perfectly. There are no jagged edges or awkward questions, the story just naturally ends. Even in the feel good ending, there is enough bad news to balance it out.

This book was an interesting read and although scary and melancholy, it still manages to send out a message of hope, even if it is the hope of completely screwed up emotional wrecks.

Although I quite like the cover art by Vincent Holland-Keen, the nit-picky part of me doesn’t like that it looks like ten stones on the cover, but only eight mentioned in the story. It does however suitably convey the warping and belittling effect of the mysterious standing stones. Of course, this could be yet another dimension warping and I can really only see eight, but think I can see ten. My brain hurts.

Gary McMahon is a quality horror writer, and a must read for any fan of the genre. For only £2.49 this ebook is cheaper than a large Mocha Chocca Skinny Latte Blah Blah Blah coffee and will bring more enjoyment.

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