Monday 2 May 2016

REVIEW: Black Dog: A Novella by Dean Hamilton

Black Dog: A NovellaBlack Dog: A Novella by Dean Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a quick read that still manages to satisfy with a violent showdown and a couple of twists.

The writing is very good with a real sense of authenticity that comes from the abundance of period terms. However, I have to say I found the addition of footnotes to these terms off-putting and they detracted somewhat from the fact the novella is trying to entertain, not teach. The list of terms in a glossary or a historical note would be better than the all-too-frequent footnotes that I found I could not ignore. On the Kindle, the temptation to click the footnote links was just too much, but of course, each time I clicked, the magic of the story was broken. In the end, I forced myself to ignore the footnotes, and enjoyed the last part of the story much more as a result.

One other thing that grated on me a little was the fact that the protagonist was called Tyburn and the Tyburn Tree gallows was mentioned frequently, but as far as I could see, there was never an explanation of the link in the names. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but I would have liked at least one of the characters to mention it.

I am being overly picky and I don't want to give the impression I did not enjoy this novella. It is a richly detailed window into the rough and violent world of Elizabethan London and great introduction to Dean Hamilton's writing.

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