JournalStone (July 2014)
I received a copy of Joe McKinney’s Dog Days through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewer program. The book got my hopes up with a strong start, introducing us to Mark, a Texan teenager at the beginning of his summer vacation, who wakes up to the aftermath of a hurricane that has struck his wealthy Houston suburb of Clear Lake (where my dad’s sister used to live, for what that’s worth). A shrimp boat stuck up a pecan tree with a pile of half-eaten corpses inside promised a rollicking old horror story.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for me. I found McKinney’s prose and storytelling to be pretty stiff after such a rousing beginning, and I didn’t find his narrator’s voice very believable. Mark sounds like a grown man, not the teenaged boy he’s supposed to be. There are also a lot of loose ends left floating in the breeze by the end, none of the characters are very interesting, and I didn’t find the mystery of the Hairy Man, or the man himself, to be compelling. McKinney’s attempt at an explanation is sorely lacking. I expect more from good YA fiction, especially stories that start off as well as this one did.