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Sharp Teeth Paperback – January 29, 2008


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An Important Quiz for Dog Owners
Is your dog a werewolf? Take this simple test to find out before the next full moon. [pdf]

Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061430226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061430220
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Barlow's gut-wrenching, sexy debut, a horror thriller in verse, follows three packs of feral dogs in East L.A. These creatures are in fact werewolves, men and women who can change into canine form at will (Dog or wolf? More like one than the other/ but neither exactly). Lark, the top dog in one of the packs who's a lawyer in human form, has a master plan that may involve taking over the city from the regular humans. Anthony Silvo, a dogcatcher and normally a loner, finds himself falling in love with a beautiful and mysterious woman (Standing on four legs in her fur,/ she is her own brand of beast). A strange small man and his giant partner play tournament bridge and are deep into the drug trade. A detective, Peabody, investigates several puzzling dog-related murders. The irregular verse form with its narrative economies proves an excellent vehicle to support all these disparate threads and then tie them together in the bittersweet conclusion. 5-city author tour. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Barlow's debut novel innovatively mixes horror, noir, and epic poetry, creating a uniquely thrilling read. Ruled by competing packs of werewolves, the seedy underside of LA is far stranger than anyone ever imagined. Lycanthropes hire themselves out as hit men and pushers, both driving and feeding off the criminal world. At the center of the story is Anthony Silvo, a self-professed loner and dogcatcher who falls in love with a mysterious woman; she leads a second life as a werewolf and works for Lark, the leader of the most dangerous werewolf pack on the streets. Her growing relationship with Anthony causes her to regret the wild choices of her past and seek out a new life. Meanwhile, Lark suspects that competing packs of lycanthropes are after his power and he prepares for a massive, citywide conflict. Other subplots include a detective's investigations into werewolf-related murders and a comic bridge tournament that might have ties to the LA drug trade. Some readers might be initially intimidated by Barlow's free-verse poetry, but, after a page, they will be swept into the rhythm. It's also to Barlow's credit that the touching moments between the woman and Anthony work as powerfully as the most graphic violence in the story. The dark humor and grim story line will immediately draw in fans of other neo-horror novels, such as Christopher Moore's You Suck: A Love Story (Morrow, 2007), but Barlow's deeper style is wholly his own.—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Toby Barlow can be proud of this remarkably impressive debut.
David M. Giltinan
The story never lagged, and with enough was left to the imagination that the book was impossible to put down (woe to me and my homework).
K.
I was really excited for this book to come out in paperback and went to the store to buy it the day it came out.
Lady Ladd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This debut novel at first seems strange,
bizarre,
difficult to take the first bite.

But then, the story gets going,
and you forget that it's written in free verse
- except that it doesn't rhyme,
and you know how I am about rhymes.

But still,

What's not to like about a story
About werewolves?
or was it weredogs?
Prowling the streets of LA,
changing at will,
killing and devouring without leaving a trace
- sometimes not even bloody tissue,
licking the ground Ajax clean.
Yet being civilized enough to know
that the most important dog in the pack
is the b!tch

Three packs,
one led by a lawyer at first,
who gets outmaneuvered
in an ironic kind of way
and forced to hide in the guise of woman's best friend
until he can regroup and reclaim,
and remark his territory.
But Lark has a plan
to infiltrate and conquer

It's also about Anthony the dogcatcher.
Who doesn't really want to be like the rest
- of dogcatchers, that is
"Perhaps over time he will become like them
with their permanent stains and bitter dispositions.
But Christ almighty, he thinks,
I hope not"
Anthony feeds the dogs tacos
that he can't afford
and one day he falls in love

Then there's the cop
Peabody
Investigating missing people
and dogs
and bloody trails of big red prints

These dogs don't play poker
preferring the game of bridge
especially Cutter and Blue, who have a knack for the game.
They follow Lark and the Ukan way,
but things get complicated when their fellow bridge players
turn out to be quite different than they seem
and there's also the new pack...
Read more ›
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By K. on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Based on some British online reviews, I had already put Mr. Barlow's book on my wish list when, by stroke of luck, I landed an uncorrected proof from a local bookseller. With, then, the disclaimer that I am an avid poetry reader, I can still honestly say that anyone - poet hound or otherwise - looking for an engaging story, intriguing characters, hackle-raising horror or, as is my addiction, beautiful word-craft will love this book. It will be most appealing to those who love and respect dogs. Mr. Barlow rarely slings cliche, but when he does he plays with it enough that it doesn't rankle, but instead invites one to smile. The story never lagged, and with enough was left to the imagination that the book was impossible to put down (woe to me and my homework). Already I am, once bitten and not at all shy, eagerly awaiting his next effort.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
One may at first be put off by the notion of a werewolf novel as an epic poem. In the minds of many - too many - poetry is an aged, calcified form, difficult to penetrate, and approached not for fun but out of a sense of intellectual obligation. Yet any such concerns should be immediately thrust aside by any potential reader of Toby Barlow's clever, compelling debut novel, "Sharp Teeth."

Barlow's plot, at its surface, is a straight forward modern werewolf tale - a pack living in LA under the command of Lark have big plans, having to do with dog pounds. From there the story branches our into many directions - a love story between a werewolf woman and the novel's protagonist, several survivors of a decimated pack dealing with their loneliness, and other wolves hungry for the vengeance of blood. The poetry in which all of this comes is delivered in language at once subtle and raw, visceral as Barlow's topic and modern his book's setting. For example, when writing about a lovers wonder about how well he knows his love.

He worries that this
Is beginning to feel like
driving a car through the mountains,
finding a great song on the radio
and then as you pass out of its range
hearing it flicker and fade.
Snap, pop and
then its gone.

Or another musing

Tomorrow she knows
the tactics will have to change
her luck has held three times
and Lark has always said,
luck is stupid as a cow
and blind as a bat.

What would you do
to protect the love you have?
Would you kill?
Would you hunt to kill?
Would you kill without mercy?
And if you wouldn't
Then how precious is your love?
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. H. Tanner on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
I work in a library and while processing this book for check out I would open it randomly and become absolutely engrossed. The free verse is simultaneously as flowing as straight prose, and as moving as poetry, some lines make you pause, breathe, back up and re-read just to savor their resonance in your mind.

The werewolf/dog angle as well as the violent clashes between the gangs make this story not for everyone, but the underlying compassion and beauty of the verse are what you take away from the book. As mentioned in a previous review, I will probably have to read it again, as slowly as possible, just to savor the little details I probably missed the first time through.

As near a perfect thing as any book I can think of.
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