*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian J. Walker

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Walker’s thought-provoking, apocalyptic adventure The End of the World Running Club and so when I saw this one featured on Netgalley, it was a no-brainer that I would request it.

Every dog has its day…
And for Lineker, a happy-go-lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be. Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside. But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

Firstly, a warning – if you don’t like reading extreme swearing, including the c-word, then this one may not be for you. That said, while this is generally a word that immediately has me shutting up the book and flinging it across the room, it occurs when we are in Lineker’s pov, when it seems to be entirely appropriate.

I think that the depiction of this dog is a tour de force particularly in the early stages when he is full of beans and boisterous. Having been a dog owner, I felt that Walker completely got inside the skin of an animal who mostly decodes the world through his nose. I also love the bursts of energy and impulsiveness Walker manages to evoke. By contrast, later on in the novel, when everything gets a whole lot darker, there is an effective shift in the viewpoint when Lineker stops being such a volatile bundle of joy.

As for Reginald – Walker has already demonstrated that he is effective at writing a flawed ordinary bloke, struggling to cope in a modern world. While Reginald is a very different character, there is an underlying likeability that stands him in good stead. Despite a particularly shocking episode that had me shaking my head in disbelief, I did stick with him and care about what happens to him, which is crucial to the overall success of this book.

Both Reginald and Lineker go on a journey, both literal and figurative as the awfulness around them finally intrudes. Both man and dog are tested and I was very relieved that this book didn’t puddle down into any kind of sentimentality.

The ending is entirely satisfactory and makes sense, though it did feel a tad rushed. However, I am not knocking off any points. Lineker is an amazing character who will stay with me for a long time to come and this book is recommended for anyone who enjoys something different, despite – and even because of – the hardcore language.

While I obtained the arc of The Last Dog on Earth from the publisher via NetGalley, this has in no way influenced my unbiased review.
10/10

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17 responses »

      • I understand and agree that sometimes the “right” language is not the nicest. I used to tell my 6th graders who were writing a series of character sketches to inhabit an Old West Town, that yes, they could use “damn.” After all, no one expects a gunslinger to cuss saying, “Oh Thunderturtles!” They loved having permission to use a bad word. Amazingly, I had no parents object!

      • lol… oh thunderturtles! I LOVE that. Is it what folks use as a polite expletive in your part of the world, or did you just make it up?

      • I made it up as the “softest” swear word I could think of. The Ninja Turtles cartoons (the original seventies version) may have used it or at least influenced me. LOL

      • As adults we watched it eagerly on Saturday mornings, having no kids of our own. Any show that had main characters named after Renaissance artists was OK in my book. We could even sing along with the theme song. Not too many years ago, we heard it was coming back a few years ago, but it was comic-book style–all flashes and loud noises: Wham! Pow! Bam! and it drove us away !

      • Yes, we ended up watching it too. It certainly had bags of charm, despite the inevitable violence, but as far as I can see the modern version is allll about the fighting and not much about their interaction and striving to be better…

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