For a writer, getting inside the reader’s mind is the holy grail of the craft. In Valley of the Dogs, a collection of eleven dark short stories, author Jim Musgrave has invaded most of our minds and left an impression that will linger long after we close the book and stick it on our ‘to be read again someday’ shelf.
These stories satirize the traditional Hollywood endings and poke a little fun at the much-vaunted ‘star power’ that Hollywood loves to flaunt. As topical as the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions and as classic as the equally traumatic effect the Vietnam War had on our society, Musgrave digs deep into the darkest recesses of the human psyche, exposing our true fears. At the same time, he entertains, and that’s the hallmark of really effective short fiction.
If you’re looking for a good book to curl up with when the wind’s blowing outside and the sky is gunmetal gray and depressing, this is what I would prescribe.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I’m not easy to impress, but the author managed to beat the odds. Yes, I was impressed. I give it five stars.