Review

Dog Blood

by David Moody

DOG BLOOD. Great title, isn’t it? David Moody. What a
fabulous (understated) last name for the author of a dystopian
novel that is practically a nonstop bloodbath from beginning to
end. If you thought that his novel HATER could induce nightmares
just by sitting on your nightstand, this evil little sequel will do
the same thing just by being in the same house with you.

HATER chronicled what takes place when a homicidal madness of
unknown etiology suddenly transforms a portion of the population
into the civilian equivalent of European soccer fans. Imagine
random members of your circle of acquaintances, friends, neighbors
and family suddenly and unpredictably becoming homicidal, resulting
in two groups of people: Haters and the Unchanged. You can probably
guess which ones are homicidal. If you are a Hater, you can spot
your own; if you are Unchanged, you can’t --- until
it’s too late, or almost so, such as within a split second of
your spouse plunging a knife into you during a particular tender
moment, or your six-year-old chomping her teeth into your throat as
you bend down to kiss her goodnight.

Do I have your attention? HATER got mine. It was told through
the voice of Danny McCoyne, a low-level government bureaucrat
living in London, handling traffic fine complaints (which
concentric ring of Hell is headquarters for that job?)
when the outbreak takes place. We first see the chaos through
McCoyne’s Unchanged self. Then he becomes one of the Haters,
and everything becomes crystal clear to him. And liberating. I
haven’t spoiled a thing for you, trust me. It will still
chill your blood to sub-zero temperatures. And, as the newly
published book demonstrates, Moody was just getting warmed up. If
HATER gives you nightmares, DOG BLOOD will rewire your brain.

DOG BLOOD is told primarily from McCoyne’s point of view,
and a cold and chilling point of view it is. There are occasional
interludes that concern the life of Mark Tillotsen, one of the
Unchanged. Tillotsen, a quiet insurance salesman before the coming
of the change, is living with his extended family in a building
crammed full of other Unchanged refugees as a ragtag army fights a
losing battle to maintain order amongst the tattered threads of
civilization. McCoyne and Tillotsen have one thing in common that
will eventually bring them together. Life is going to be full of
surprises for them and everyone around them, and here is a hint:
none of those involve anything so jolly as a woman jumping out of a
birthday cake. No, for those lads and millions of other people, DOG
BLOOD chronicles the end of civilization as most of us know it.

The novel takes a slightly different look at the Apocalypse than
does a number of its literary predecessors. Moody is brilliant,
taking conventional wisdom and turning it on its head after giving
that head a quick kick or two and a stomping to boot. The Haters
are better off than the Unchanged in his dark version of the
British Empire (and probably the rest of the world) because they
are proactive by nature. The Unchanged cower in fear and wait. And
Moody doesn’t just walk you by the results. He shoves your
face into them and makes you take a deep sniff and swallow, all the
while playing on your paranoia. I’m actually not entirely
convinced that DOG BLOOD is fiction. Some of this is happening
already. No, you say? There are neighborhoods I could take you into
--- Hough in Cleveland, Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, a good deal
of Detroit and Chicago, the Lower Nine where they don’t mind
dyin’ in New Orleans --- and change your mind in about 15
minutes. You would see senseless, mindless violence carried out
indiscriminately against neighbors and strangers. And that’s
DOG BLOOD from first page to last.

If you like your dystopian fiction impolite, violent and in your
face, this is what you want and this is what you should get.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 30, 2010

Dog Blood
by David Moody

  • Publication Date: June 8, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312532881
  • ISBN-13: 9780312532888