THE MONGREL was a fast-paced read that drew me in rather quickly. Once I started reading it, I found myself flipping the pages continuously to find out what came next. (Had I not been interrupted by the anxiety and stress surrounding current events, it’s likely I’d have finished this book in one sitting). Prior to this novella, I’d only read one of Seán’s short stories. After reading two pieces now, I can tell you that I enjoy his storytelling style and look forward to reading more.
There were several aspects of this tale that stood out for me as I was reading. Like I said, I was drawn into the story rather fast, which is always a good thing, especially when there’s a smaller amount of words to work with. I thought that the character development was strong, and while I didn’t find a personal connection to the characters or their experiences, I felt empathy for Erin. The descriptions of her anxiety and inner turmoil over her situation were well done. I liked that there was a bit of background and deeper look at Phil and Erin’s relationship instead of just what was on the surface of the story. This provided more insight into Erin’s mental state and her motivations for staying with him.
There was a slow but steady build of tension throughout the story that kept me interested along the way, and a couple of times I thought I had things figured out, but I was wrong. I thought this was a unique spin on a werewolf tale—different from others I’ve read. There are some unforgettable scenes in this story, and I imagine I might have flashbacks of those the next time I’m caught up in some heavy snowfall. I struggled a bit during the third section of the book. I felt like I needed a bit more story or background on some of the characters before reaching the end point—it felt a bit rushed to me.
I have a copy of the author’s novel, WEEPING SEASON, on my shelf, and I’m looking forward to that one. I’ve heard great things about that one, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of his work so far. I will definitely be interested in reading more from Seán O’ Connor in the future.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars