Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth

Three books in less than two weeks. What wonderful reads they've been! I can't pick a favorite. Okay, maybe Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth, because I finished that one last night and my head is still full of dog dreams, of running in the desert and eating carne asada tacos.

Sharp Teeth is written, as you may have heard, in free verse. Before you roll your eyes and skip this one, let me ask you:

How do you know
your dog is not a werewolf?

Maybe you don't have a dog. But you see them all the time. Or don't see them, if you are not inclined to see things that have no meaning to you. Yet they're there. Eating our food (in good restaurants?), watching our cars pass, fucking, sleeping...

Anthony is a dogcatcher, almost by accident, just dumb luck. The last two men to have his job have disappeared. One was found in his house, not much left of him, besides the pools of blood. Anthony doesn't care so much; he has found a job, and maybe, now, a woman. Life is easy when you want it to be.

But there are packs running in southern California, lawyers and veterans and ex-addicts. They're interested in what is happening at the pound. They're interested in the other packs.

It's about lycanthropes, sure, but it's about community, belonging, and love. There is such tenderness, nestled among the tearing and rending and gut-sliding. There's brotherhood and comfort.

What a fantastic, gorgeous, book. And a ripping good yarn! Helluva mystery. Read it, read it, read it.

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