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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Living in the rough at the end of a chain, with meager portions of food once a day, isn’t much of a life for a dog. To be taken into a ring to fight to the death isn’t much better. So, when wounded and abandoned by the dog-fighting hustler, Goose realizes his chain is unlocked and he has his ticket to freedom. His dog mates urge him to escape and a friendly coyote helps him limp to safety. Deeper in the woods, Goose finds Clarence living alone in a rustic cabin, hiding from the world. Injured and with no fight left, Goose gives in to Clarence’s tender care and the two develop a deep bond. When Goose leads Clarence back to the dog fighting enclave, a shocked Clarence realizes he has to return to town to seek help, only help isn’t always easy to find when the powers that be are only too glad to see him return to the woods.
Will Lowrey’s novel, The Dog in the Hollow, is a raw look at a sad side of reality: dog fighting. It’s illegal and downright barbaric, but people continue to raise dogs to fight and support this malicious sport. Told in third person narrative, mostly from Goose’s point of view, the plot follows the injured dog to freedom and a good life with someone he really can trust and love. Readers' eyes will be filled with tears as they follow Goose's trail, and they’ll enjoy some of the tender sweet moments shared between Goose and his new friend, Clarence. Dialogue is used sparingly as the story unfolds in narrative form until the plot reveals Clarence’s sad story. Like the many classic animal stories, such as Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Margaret Marshall Saunders’ Beautiful Joe, and many others, this story will definitely find its place in the hearts of those that enjoy them.