Book review

The Dogs by Mark Morris (2001)

Make no mistake. This may be a short story, but it is a horror story.

Alice Manly gets off to a poor start in life. Her parents are killed in an air crash when she is nine years old, and she has to go to live with her aunt in a tiny cottage on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. It's a comfortable cottage, and Alice likes her Aunt Vanessa, and there are two lovable dogs, Pip and Holly, to help her settle in. But the moor broods heavily over the little village.

She's only been at her new school about three months when a young girl goes missing on the moor. The whole village turns out to look for her, but nothing is ever found. It would be enough to give anyone the heebie jeebies, but it gives Alice Manly terrible nightmares.

Small wonder she doesn't much fancy venturing back out on to the moor with her aunt, three weeks after the girl's disappearance, to give the dogs a walk. But she'd rather go with her aunt than stay behind, so off they go. The weather comes down dark and hard, and they lose the dogs.

They are lost, but they are never really forgotten, those dogs. Alice Manly grows up, but Aunt Vanessa never really stops looking for some trace of her dogs out there on the moor. For what could be worse than losing your dogs and never knowing what became of them?

I'll tell you. Finding them again after nine years could be much worse. Read the book if you want to know what happens next. It's horrible!

This is really a short story. If you are a slow reader, although it is short, I think you will find that there is plenty in it. If you haven't particularly enjoyed reading up until now, this book may make you feel differently about that.

If you are a habitual reader, don't make the mistake of thinking this is too short to bother with. I think you will remember it for a long time after you've finished reading it.

What can I read next?

There are plenty of other brilliant books in the same series as this, all written by superb writers. Have a look at this quietly emotional one by Rachel Anderson:

If you really prefer horror, Philip Pullman has written a rather unpleasant short story which might entertain you:

And there is a new book by Susan Price which is short and horrible, but fantastically atmospheric:

Or you might look at this one by Paul Shipton:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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