Sharp Teeth

by

June 14, 2010 by rayjani

Author:  Toby Barlow

Title:  Sharp Teeth

Genre:  Fiction – Horror

Publication Date:  2007

Geographical Setting:  Los Angeles, CA

Time Period:  Present Decade

Plot Summary:

Anthony takes a job as a city dogcatcher only to find himself trying to save three dogs from extermination.  A shape shifting, lycanthrope gang leader (known as Lark) has devised a scheme for domination of the normal human population of L.A.  Anthony unknowingly becomes involved in Lark’s plan when the female lycanthrope in Lark’s gang and Anthony fall in love.  These shape-shifters can change from human form to canine form at will; they do not need a full moon.  Anthony’s love interest (who remains nameless throughout the book) keeps her secret from Anthony.  The gangs are rivals, and one of the gangs seeks out and destroys meth labs and their owners for partner leaders in organized crime.  There are three rival pack gangs.  Lark’s pack is the “money laundering” gang.  Cutter’s pack (rival to Lark’s pack) is into organized crime involving drugs and competing meth labs.  The third pack is a battered and reduced pack of surfers who are out to avenge dogs that were adopted from the pound and trained to become gladiator dogs forced to fight for their lives.  After betraying Lark, Baron, a member of his pack, takes over the rest of Lark’s pack, forcing Lark to go undercover and recruit new pack members.  Lark allows himself to be impounded in the city kennel and is adopted by a needy woman named Bonnie, who treats him very well.  At night while Bonnie sleeps, Lark goes about rebuilding his pack.  In the midst of all this, Peabody, an L.A. detective, is investigating mysterious murders of city dogcatchers.  The “surfer” pack is responsible for these.  Meanwhile, Anthony’s love becomes the target for execution by Baron’s pack.  Baron sends his pack’s female, Sasha, to do the dirty deed but Anthony’s girlfriend foils the attack and kills Sasha.  She then goes into hiding, knowing she is being hunted.  Anthony becomes depressed and distraught over her disappearance and easy prey for initiation into Baron’s pack.  The rivalry and murder investigations culminate in a battle involving all three gangs and the meth lab partner kingpins.

Subject Headings:  werewolves, animal wardens, police, gangs in Los Angeles, murder, murder investigation, dogs, supernatural, drug traffic, Los Angeles, novels in verse, horror stories.

Appeal Terms:  eerie, creepy, unsettling, surrealistic, supernatural, vicious, gory, graphically descriptive, bloody, menacing, dark, violent, ominous.

Three terms that best describe this book:  visceral, unsettling, and surrealistic.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Canyons by P.D. Cacek portrays Lucius as the leader of a highly civilized pack of Denver werewolves who is holding off the invasion of a rival pack.  He does all this while avoiding his increasing attraction to a journalist who is bent on reporting on Lucius’s pack.

The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo has Marlowe Higgins moving from one town to another after a dishonorable discharge.  Higgins becomes trapped in an ongoing struggle with his werewolf nature that forces him to kill heinous villains during every full moon.  This eventually leads him into a deadly confrontation with a serial killer in a small town in Tennessee.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris pits telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse against a race of unhuman beings who are more powerful and secretive than vampires or werewolves.  The smell of war is in the air in Bon Temps, Louisiana as vampires, werewolves, and werepanthers prepare for battle.  Sookie soon finds herself in the thick of it as she investigates a murder of a werepanther.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Streetwars: Gangs and the Future of Violence by Tom Hayden gives a hard look at gangs and youth violence in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.  He includes firsthand stories from gang leaders.

Inside the Crips:  Life Inside L.A.’s Most notorious Gang by Colton Simpson describes the home environment that led to gang membership for a member of one of L.A.’s most dangerous gangs.  Included are accounts of confrontations with rival gangs and his incarceration at Calipatria Prison.

Monster:  The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur, who is one of Los Angeles’s most notorious gang leaders, gives readers an inside look at the world of gangs including gang wars, politics, his climb through the ranks of his gang’s hierarchy, how he survived rival gang attacks, and what prison life is like for a gang member.

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