The Mongrel – Seán O’Connor
Reviewed by Steve Stred
I’m going to shout this from the rooftop from now until I lose my voice; I LOVE WEREWOLVES!! In books, movies, real life (they exist right?), everywhere! I absolutely love all things Were. Why? Because they scare the crap out of me.
The Mongrel has been on my periphery of ‘must-reads’ but I simply haven’t gotten around to it. When it was offered up as a potential for review, I jumped at the chance. Wouldn’t you? Ok, so maybe you don’t like werewolf stuff, fair enough. But when Matt Hayward is telling folks how great this book is and he wrote one of the books of the year with The Faithful, you take notice.
I read this in one sitting last night (November 19th). Sean O’Connor has the gift of prose. This book flowed off of my kindle and this was one of the rare times where I was shocked at how quickly I was flying through this book. Why was I shocked?
This is perhaps one of the finest survival tales I’ve encountered in some time.
The main character here, Erin, is pregnant and engaged to the supposed man of her dreams, Phillip. Now having moved to a small town to afford to live, they are struggling. Struggling with moving away from friends, struggling with the lack of finances, and struggling with isolation.
The premise is simple enough. They decide to go for a drive, expecting to make it home before the snow storm hits. (Spoiler alert – they don’t!)
Their beat up car dies and as the snow begins, Phillip decides to walk to help. Erin manages one last phone call to her father for help, before the phone dies, leaving her feeling even more alone.
When some time passes and Phillip hasn’t returned and her father hasn’t arrived, that’s when Erin realizes it’s up to her to survive. The cold, the wilderness and the lack of food all crashing in around her, and her swollen belly, the baby kicking, reminding her that its arrival is imminent.
The Mongrel is an easy 5/5 read for me, as a survival story. Watching Erin battle insurmountable odds to try and stay alive had me holding my breath and devouring the words as they came.
The Mongrel, at least in my view, absolutely failed as a werewolf tale. It felt like a throw away portion. If you removed the werewolf portion and put it in a word document, I would suspect it would be less than two paragraphs. Maybe. Might be less than that.
Now don’t get me wrong, this story is absolutely a must read, and I will be recommending it to all who ask. But I won’t be recommending it as a werewolf story, but as a survival story.
If you liked the movie The Grey with Liam Neeson, you have an idea of what you are in for here.
I highly suggest you all take a look and read this. The writing and survival tale are almost untouchable.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
On the outskirts of Dublin City, a young couple’s relationship hangs by a thread. Isolated and stressed, disputes turn physical, leaving a pregnant Erin Greene in a poor state of mental health, and Philip Montague wanting an escape. They decide to go on a drive and head for Erin’s favourite place as a child, the Wicklow Mountains.
However, a simple oversight leaves them both stranded, with no fuel and a blizzard due.
With no other choice, Philip heads off to the nearest town in search of help, leaving his fiancée alone. With Philip gone and the inevitability of a snowstorm looming, Erin, in order to survive, must battle against her plagued mind and the supernatural elements that lie hidden deep in the hills.
Steve has a new book coming out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Please read the following announcement and we’d love it if you could preorder ‘Dim The Sun’.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here