Dog Days – Deadly Passage by Joe McKinney

Dog Days - Deadly Passage

Dog Days – Deadly Passage by Joe McKinney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t like horror stories and I don’t like “supernatural” nonsense. That said, I actually enjoyed these two short stories which are basically from the horror genre and are bordering on “supernatural”.

If only  “Dog Days” was to be reviewed, I’d rate it with four stars because it’s clearly the much better story. The set up is (mostly) believable and its characters likeable and, at least when it comes to the primary protagonists, well-written. You can relate to the young hero and – in part – to his friends and enemies. The rest of the characters are not too far off to accept them. All in all, the story is intrinsically sound and enjoyable. Of course, there are a few issues, e. g. with the timeline – it’s end of June and on the 19th of July something is expected to happen and the hero thinks that’s in “less than two weeks”. Not *quite* right but nothing that really spoils the experience.

There’s a ghost that pops up twice for no good reason at all and should just have been cut out of the book – we never really get to know why it comes, what intentions it has or what happens to it – it’s just passingly mentioned and immediately forgotten. There are few typos and other errors as well but nothing greatly aggrieving. So, all in all, a nice short story, worthy of reading even for those who don’t like the genre.

Unfortunately, “Deadly Passage” didn’t quite live up to my expectations after “Dog Days”. If it was only this story to be rated, I’d give it a merciful two-star-rating. 

The basic idea – a couple of people hunted down by something on a ship – appealed to me but, alas, the story took some time to get going, the “hunter” (or “beast” as it’s called from the very beginning) is portrayed to be more human than animalistic which simply not necessary for the story and instead of taking down one victim by another, the whole thing descends into slaughter rather quickly.

There were quite a few gory scenes which didn’t really help in any way either – subtle horror is so much better than describing intestines falling out of a body. This is exactly the kind of story I’m not eager to read more of.

Even though both stories have their weaknesses, both were hard to put down – I really wanted to know how the stories progress. That’s a good sign and one of the reasons I’m rating the book with good three stars.

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