After Audrey Ackerman, an employee of the Animal Welfare Union, is asked to check out reports of constant barking, she emails her boss Stella Bridgeport to let her know she is far too shaken up to return to work. What follows is a series of emails about the frightening paranormal sightings Audrey has encountered at the One Dog Inn. Frightened, Audrey tells the story of encountering giant swans and other things that should not exist at a local tourist spot. She discovers a thumbdrive full of materials written by a science fiction writer, including his journal and notes for a book. Despite Stella’s suggestions to Audrey that perhaps these are just notes for an upcoming novel, it becomes obvious that there is far more at stake than just a few pages of fiction.
It isn’t immediately apparent that this is a collection of stories. The first feels so overarching that my brain began to assume everything could, and must, be tied together. The various incidents are surreal, often including shapeshifting women, ghosts that run the premises, and a whole wealth of magical realism. Audrey and Stella’s emails truly are just the beginning, setting the stage for several tales that are bizarre enough to be creepy, but complete page turners. I adored Two Dogs at the One Dog in and found myself reading the pages way longer into the night than I would have expected from the small blurb used to describe the book.
Two Dogs at the One Dog in is now available from David John Griffin.