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Dog Eat Dog

Jerry Jay Carroll

Ace / Berkeley / Penguin Putnam

US Trade Paperback

ISBN 0-441-00597-7

297 Pages; 12.00

Publication Date; 02-1999

Date Reviewed: 05-18-02

Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2002



Fantasy, General Fiction, Horror


'Dog Eat Dog', the sequel to Jerry Jay Carroll's 'Top Dog' manages to be funnier, more topical and just as exciting as its predecessor. While you could probably read it without having read 'Top Dog', let's just pretend that you've done the right thing and read that novel first. 'Dog Eat Dog' begins with Bogie back in the world, but not the corporate raider we've known from the past. He's reformed, he takes in stray dogs, has discovered his moral compass and knows where true north lies. But don't take this to mean that he's become boring. Bogie is just as scurrilously funny as ever, and no less cunning.

He's also been followed back into this world. Yes, the Forces of Evil® are at work again, and it rapidly devolves to Bogie to turn things around. Whereas 'Top Dog' was a set in a fantasy world but leavened with real-world wit, here the real world is leavened with wit gleaned from a world of black-and-white good versus evil. Where 'Top Dog' was the fantasy novel that read a bit like a horror novel, 'Dog Eat Dog' is the horror novel that has a fantasy novel's plot plastered over the thin wall of reality.

It's no matter what genre paradigm is at work in Carroll's novels anyway. No matter what he's writing, his wit and crackling prose pretty much overshadow everything else that's going on. As much as anything else, 'Dog Eat Dog' is political satire, one wherein the candidate in the lead is running with the help of Satan himself. This is a big advantage it turns out, nearly as powerful as having the Supreme Court in your corner. But Bogie has his allies from the other world as well. He'll need their help to stop Satan's tool's bid for the presidency.

In case you think you're reading docudrama here, let me assure you this isn't the case. Bogie's methods of sabotaging the Satanic presidential bid turns out to have been rather prophetic, in a Ralph Nader sort of fashion. But he outdoes Nader by one step and ratchets up the laughs. Bogie is never less than entertaining. More often he's laugh-out-loud funny. As ever, Carroll's prose is what keeps the readers coming back for more. He's so darn funny and endearing, it's almost unnerving. He's no slouch when it comes to wrangling a bang-up plot, either. Yes, some of the touches of romance are a bit on the convenient side, but there's no doubt that most readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough. The only problem with this, aside from the occasional pat, is that it's a bit too 'neither fish nor fowl' to easily find any audience. Most fantasy readers will pass by a novel with a picture of a Chihuahua on the cover (you didn't think that Bogie was going to spend the entire novel as a human, did you?), as will most horror readers. These books should really be aimed at the Doug Adams/Terry Prachett/Neil Gaiman group. As with those authors, it's not so much the subject matter as the writer's wit that carries the day. There's been no word of additional works from this great writer, which would be a great shame. Carroll is a real find, and in these days of the great National Humor Shortage, we need all the laughs we can get.