Best Horror of the Year: City of the Dog by John Langan

Best Horror of the Year Volume 3 edited by Ellen Datlow
Best Horror of the Year Volume 3 edited by Ellen Datlow

-At the Riding School by Cody Goodfellow

-Mr. Pigsny by Reggie Oliver

City of the Dog by John Langan

City of the Dog represents a marked improvement over the previous story though I still thought it wasn’t quite what I was looking for in horror.   City of the Dog opens with a young couple on their way to a night out on the town when a chance encounter with what appears to be an injured stray dog shatters their lives. Langan does an adequate job in imbuing his characters with a sense of history.  Their problems feel real and constantly on the verge of bubbling over into something ugly.

It might be argued that the horrific events that unfold over the course of the story are manifestation and commentary on the anger and resentment that is left simmering beneath surface.  The tension between the characters is the most real aspect of the story and I felt that this aspect, welcome though it may be, left little room for the other elements of the story to really shine.  I never had a real sense of place for the story and the atmosphere while fraught with tension lacked the cloying sense of anxiety and darkness that I really look for in horror.

City of the Dog is an entertaining story that injects the threat of the supernatural into the already dangerous waters of a troubled relationship.