Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of D.L. Snell and Thom Brannan’s “Pavlov’s Dogs”

Pavlov’s Dogs jumps right into things, starting out several weeks after the zombie apocalypse has gotten into full swing and most of the human race has been wiped out or turned.  We are immediately introduced to a group of what looks to be werewolves as they save a couple of humans running out of time and options as the undead close in on them.  At first, the reader isn’t given much more to go on about these wolves as the story flips back in time to the day the zombie attacks began, where we are introduce to Ken and Jorge, friends who work together in construction and are driving down the highway when everything rapidly falls apart all around them.  There are a few more time shifts in the story as we are given a more proper introduction to the wolves and the scientists who created them.  They are genetically enhanced Special Forces troops who have had microchips implanted in their brains, allowing them to transform into a human-wolf hybrid with superior combat skills, strength, and healing capabilities.  The experiments on these men have been taking place on a small island off the coast and the advent of the zombie apocalypse seems like the ideal opportunity to test the ‘dogs’ under combat-like conditions when they are sent in to save the few remaining survivors on the mainland.  Or so it seems.

Pavlov’s Dogs moves quickly, serving up plenty of human (and werewolf) conflict that makes the story an interesting read.  Zombies don’t play as major a role as they do in most zompoc tales, but that works just fine here.  We all know who the real bad guys are anyway, and in this case, we not only have human baddies but some werewolf ones as well, and they keep things intriguing from start to finish.  Though this tale has plenty of dark moments, the authors keep things light with the occasional injection of welcome humor.  Ken is easily the most in depth and likable character, along with his pal Jorge, who likes cracking jokes regardless of how grim the situation becomes.  Some of the dogs, like Mac and Kaiser, were also well detailed and it was easy to see their human sides, even when they were in full wolf form.

If I have a criticism here, it would lay with another couple of characters.  Drs. Crispin and Donovan, the two main scientists on the island, are reasonably well detailed but at the same time there seems to be hints at more depth to each of them, in particular Donovan.  As an example, a significant detail about Crispin is discovered during the plot and yet it goes unexplored, even though it could have led the story down a very intriguing path.  Donovan’s motivations also seem to be a bit forced.  He is an interesting character, but one that I feel could have been further developed, which may have given me a better appreciation for his transformation as a character throughout the story.

Even with these minor quibbles, I enjoyed this story a great deal.  The science takes a back seat to the action-we aren’t given highly detailed explanation of how or why the wolves transform and I doubt the story would have been enhanced further if we had gotten such an overview.  Instead, we get to see werewolves dive into battle with zombies and with each other, which should satisfy most of the action/gore fans out there.  In addition, we get to see what happens when a werewolf gets bitten by a zombie, which was something that does not disappoint.  Overall, this zombie-werewolf hybrid tale is fun, unique, and definitely worth checking out.

Pavlov’s Dogs can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Pavlovs-Dogs-D-L-Snell/dp/1618680218/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340772653&sr=1-1&keywords=pavlov%27s+dogs

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