The Dog Faced Gods

I’ve recently reserved my reviewing pen for the BSFA’s Vector magazine’s graphic novel and comics reviews column Picture This – yes, it’s also the title of a Blondie song (I guess you can see a link coming), so a little foray into literature.
I’ve met Sarah Pinborough (that’s the link) at several conventions but never read any of her books. I’ve heard good and bad things about her writing so I thought I’d make the effort to form my own opinion. So, free from spoilers, here’s what I thought of Sarah Pinborough’s The Dog Faced Gods trilogy.
The first book, A Matter of Blood, introduces us to a number of characters but Cass Jones is the main protagonist, a flawed London detective in a flawed world; ours but the double-dip recession is crippling the average family, jobs are hard to find and on top of that a more prevalent form of HIV is scaring the populace. Pinborough paints a bleak and depressing tomorrow (and I mean the day after this one as opposed to a far off future) that’ll make you appreciate your lot. Cass Jones is self-centred and job-focused, a copper willing to cut corners to resolve a case. Bribes are the norm in a police force decimated by budget cuts. It all starts to sound a little too real. And that’s one of the beauties of this and the following two books; you can’t deny the possibilities of what Pinborough conjures in her tale, and that makes the final revelation so much more powerful and, dare I say it, acceptable.
What starts out in the first book to be an almost straight detective mystery builds to something a whole lot more interesting. Sure, there are supernatural undertones to A Matter of Blood – Cass is forever seeing his dead brother – but these could all be purely psychological.
It’s difficult to cover the other books without giving away a consistently good plot that supplies enough twists and surprises to make you want to discover what makes Cass the person he is.
The trilogy does turn into something that’ll make you think, and being a sci-fi fan I’m inclined to say that at the end of the day that’s what The Dog Faced Gods trilogy is. Someone interested in other genres might disagree, and that’s another feather in the cap of this tale. It’s whatever you want it to be, and more.
I thoroughly recommend this trilogy to the top of your reading pile. It won’t be there long.

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