March 17, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

thorThor by Wayne Smith


I stumbled across this book as I was reading Rick Hautala’s Moondeath. All I knew about it was that it was a horror novel told from the perspective of the family dog who is the only one in the family to understand that there’s something wrong with Uncle Ted. It seemed like a hokey idea, with the potential to make for a cheesy story, and I almost dismissed it until I looked at the reviews for it. Most people seemed to think the same thing I did, but found a pretty good story beneath that cheesy veneer once they finally read it. So I figured I would give it a shot.

This is a better book than I would have expected based on the description, but it’s not as good as I would have expected based on the reviews. It’s definitely a better story than the summary would suggest, and Smith does a great job of capturing Thor as a character. I think the story would have been better had the story been told entirely from his perspective, but Smith chose to have some asides that Thor couldn’t have been aware of. I can understand the reason why he did it, but I was a little disappointed that he didn’t stick to his premise the whole way through.

In addition, even when Smith did stick to Thor’s perspective, he still brought in a lot of details that Thor couldn’t have known. In a lot of cases, he told us directly in the narrative that Thor didn’t notice this, or didn’t understand the importance of that. I felt like there were other ways to bring those details in, while sticking with his main premise. The novel told about as much as it showed, which struck me as odd, since I figured Smith would have to show the stuff that Thor didn’t understand in such a way so the reader could understand it. I like that kind of device, where an author uses a character who doesn’t fully understand what’s happening around him to describe events to the reader, and I would have liked to have seen more of that in this book.

Despite all that, though, the story is pretty solid. It has a compelling narrative, sympathetic characters (even the antagonist!), and enough ambiguity to keep me guessing through parts of the story. Smith takes what would have been a mundane story told from anyone else’s perspective and makes it something unique. The book is classified as horror, for reasons that will become obvious as you read it, but it reads more like a thriller, since the story is more about the plot than the fear.

So, Thor is a good story, even if it’s not perfect. I can see how it could have been even better, but regardless, the book is one that will hook you easily. Fans of animal stories, horror, and thrillers will likely find a lot to like here, so add my voice to the “Cheesy idea executed very well” discussion.

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