If there’s one thing I love more than horror fiction it’s a good auld gothic tale. The Mongrel by Seán O’Connor is a satisfying (Irish) stew of terror, atmosphere, and monsters of the four-legged kind!
A disapproving father, disillusioned husband and, a naïve pregnant young woman. This could be any Victorian period drama set in the wild moors of England. But the setting for this horrific tale is a modern-day Ireland in the beautiful but unforgiving Wicklow Mountains.
Erin has some rose tinted glasses on when it comes to her husband, who has quite a temper, likes to knock her about and then regurgitate the typical one-liner of instigators of domestic abuse the world over; “see what you made me do?”; after which he apologises for lashing out until the next time something sets him off.
It’s after one such occurrence that Philip suggests he and Erin take a little drive to her favourite spot in the Wicklow Mountains where there is a raging snowstorm hot on their heels – but there’s more than deer up in the hills and finding themselves stranded miles from the closest living human is the last thing they intended; or is it?
The Mongrel is fast, creepy, tense and for a novella, has some amazing character building. Philip got right up my nose from the get go and pretty much stayed there. Not an easy thing to achieve in just under a hundred pages of narrative.
It’s a classic survival horror trope with an Irish family dynamic thrown in for good measure! If you like your werewolves nasty and resilient then fill your boots with this one! This is a no-brainer 5-star debut novella that acts as a reminder of the continuous stream of literary talent Ireland has to offer.
The Mongrel by Sean O’Connor is available now to buy.
About the author
O’Connor was born in 1985, and grew up at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. From a young age he became fascinated with fiction, particularly stories based on the supernatural, horror, and the darker side of the human psyche.
His debut book, The Mongrel, was published in October 2018 by Matador Publishing. He currently resides in Fingal County on the north side of Dublin, with his Fiancée and son, where he is at work on his next tale of woe.