Review by: Aaron B.
Jagger was a book I heard of on an ‘animals gone bad’ horror site. They’re aren’t a lot of evil dog books (of course Cujo would be the most famous which I found boring) When I read the description, I knew I had to try it. Was it worth it? I’d say 100% yes, this really is a grindhouse horror movie with a big, mean pup as the killer. It has gruesome kills, teenagers in the woods, explicit sex and a story just real enough, but cheesy enough to work.
I really enjoyed the simplicity of the characters, I never felt like the author was trying to cram too much into one book. I often find horror books a bit slow because they focus SO much on the human drama, by the time the gore and kills come I’m too bored to care. Much like with a Stephen King book (save for Misery and Carrie which I love)
This author, Kristopher Rufty is very good at setting a scene and totally making it like a movie. As someone with ADHD, this style of writing is great. Just enough to set a mood, but not going through every single plant and house. For me though, I was in this for one reason. Big dog kills people. Yes, this happens. A lot. I loved every kill. Whether it was describing the gore and carnage, or a really suspenseful chase scene out of a 80s slasher, this really worked.
Was this the best dog horror book I’ve ever read? No. For me it would be “Hell Hound”, but this is second for me. Both books are extremely different in tone, Jagger is a bloodbath, while “Hell Hound” is a psychological drama. I really do like Mr. Rufty though, and want to read more of his stuff, he’s a talented horror writer and helped me get my brain going for what kind of horror novel I want to write. Totally recommend this.