Baad Dog by Sal Conte
Hal, Joshua, Maximilian, Skynet… and now Queenie. Pop culture teaches us that sentient, learning computers are probably not the best idea humans will ever have.
Title: Baad Dog
Author: Sal Conte
Publish Date: October 16, 2015
Source: Provided by the publicist
Publisher’s Description: Don’t let the cute face fool you.
Cujo has got nothing on this cute fuzzy faced little mongrel… or should I say fuzzy faced little killer?
Harry wanted a dog. He’d wanted a dog ever since his mother gave away the pup they’d adopted when he was a kid. She gave her away because Harry and his brother, Lenny, wouldn’t take care of her. Now Harry is a grown man with children of his own. He brings home, Queenie, a miracle of modern robotics that looks and behaves just like a real dog. Big Mistake. Harry’s wife, Pam, feels there’s something off about Queenie right from the start. But will Harry see the light before he and his entire family become dog food?
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Being the caretaker of a pair of too-smart-for-their-own-good Yorkie mixes myself, the invitation to review Baad Dog intrigued me. The adorable yet angry-looking pup on the cover still makes me laugh; I’ve seen that look from my own dogs myself!
Part of me wants to describe Baad Dog as partway between Cujo and Bunnicula, but despite the miniature villain, this really is a horror story. In fact, it might be more reminiscent of Christine than Cujo, since little Queenie is all mechanical. There are hints of Misery in this story as well; Queenie isn’t very tall, but she’s great at hobbling her victims at the ankles.
Conte does a good job creating the personalities and thoughts of Harry, Pam, and their children. Harry is an average Joe, a bit afraid of his wife, worried about the instability of his job and his ability to support his family. Pam is frustrated with Harry’s inability to deal with conflict, and has to balance speaking her mind with having peace in the house. The kids — Ariel, 8, and Jackson, 5 — know much more than their parents give them credit for, but Ariel, at least, has to grow up way too early to deal with the events in the story. Conte makes the characters feel real, neither all good nor all bad.
Baad Dog seems to be a novella — roughly 88 pages in the format I received; so it’s a quick read and well worth the time. I can’t really see my dogs, or most dogs I’ve met, go to this extreme, thankfully. But a CAT? Queenie could have TOTALLY been a cat.
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