Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page


Mark Fleming

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Kindle Direct Publishing

Published : 2012

Copyright : Mark Fleming 2012

ISBN-10 : EB Not Known
ISBN-13 : EB Not Known

Publisher's Write-Up

Dogs is a short story anthology. Despite its title, the 'alpha males' featured are all Homo Sapiens - men with violent tendencies and pack mentalities, who often display misogynist, racist or homophobic attitudes. For all that this fiction explores life's often darker extremes, with themes including war crimes, domestic abuse, street violence and drug problems, there is always a sense of hope and the inevitable triumph of the human spirit.

The stories are set in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Musselburgh.

'An eclectic expose of the dark underbelly of Scottish culture and modern living. In short, another top read from the ever consistent pen of Mark Fleming, a real talent on the fringe of Edinburgh.'

Bobby Smith, Author of 'One Love, Two Colours'
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by John Tennent (311012) Rating (9/10)

Review by John Tennent
Rating 9/10
Mark Fleming's third book, Dogs, is a collection of 14 razor sharp short stories. Despite the title and the cover image of a caged canine, only one of these - the titular story - actually mention dogs at all and that's only in passing. If there is an overall theme it is masculine shortcomings and the protagonists are strictly bipedal.

There is a simmering anger pervading this writing, tempered with poetic description. Fleming looks at the world and encapsulates the often terrible truth about the greed and machismo behind everything from war to corporate greed. He dissects with precision and note perfect dialogue.

In Dear Rhys, Tanya sits in a pub contemplating the opportune moment to tell her boyfriend their relationship is over. But, as with all of these stories, layers of narrative unfold haphazardly, only to reach a poignant and completely unpredicted conclusion. While the foreground is a tautly balanced emotional drama we are also plunged into much deeper 21st century nightmares. The sordid truth of international diplomacy is broached in one exchange between Tanya and her increasingly drunken partner:

"They call it a war but it's not a war, is it? Our lads are being forced to act as police in some country half of them probably couldn't have even pointed to on a map before they got snapped up outside their local Job Centre Plus."

"It's more complicated than that, though. Those Taliban blow up schools that teach women, don't they?"

"So a third world country has backwards attitudes? What's America's excuse? They're planning a mission to Mars but in some states they have schools where books about evolution or dinosaurs are blacklisted."

In a chilling tale, Werewolves, a man finds himself at the receiving end of bullying by a teenage gang. Inspired by Bosnian war crimes, he enacts a terrible revenge.

Dogs uses the simple plot device of an instance of animal cruelty to become the focal point of an unravelling marriage.

These stories are all poignant. In tone and content they skirt territory familiar to anyone who has ever read anything published by Rebel Inc (the Scottish imprint that first introduced Irvine Welsh). The characters are often ambitionless Edinburgh males who swear, binge drink, take drugs and inflict casual violence.

But here's the key point. While a lot of literary fiction simply picks at sores, the overriding sense here is of ordinary people trying to cope. In highlighting inhuman behaviour the true potency of this collection is its celebration of humanity.
John Tennent (31st October 2012)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends