Review: Sly Fox Hollow by Brett Allen
Myth Becomes Massacre when the Michigan Dogman Cometh
Sly Fox Hollow by Brett Allen is not just a rambunctious murder mystery with small town politics. It sneaks up on you, like a Jordan Peele horror film filtered through the off-beat humor of Kurt Vonnegut. In other words, fasten your seatbelts Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s about to hit the fan in Michigan!
William "Bomber" Merridan is a small-town grocery store manager in Fox Hollow, Michigan, but also a self appointed cryptozoologist hunter by night, searching for the legendary Dogman. After numerous shredded bodies, turns out Dogman may not be just a legend after all.
(Reviewer Note: This book took approximately twice as long as I usually take to read a great book- because every other page there was a descriptive gem, fabulous sentence, or a phrase that made me reread it a few times, and appreciate the laugh!
For example, “Sergeant Householder sat at his desk stirring a bowl of instant oatmeal. He closed his eyes, but all he could see was the mangled corpse of Patrick McConnell, still spread like a meat blanket on the grass beside the smoldering ruins of his home. He opened his eyes again. Steam danced from a cup next to him and he breathed in coffee vapors, trying to force the tension from his shoulders, neck and face. In his ten years on the Force, he’d never seen anything like the past two weeks, let alone the chaos of last night. He longed for mundane traffic stops, cat rescues, and maybe even a nasty egg salad sandwich”.
Allen said that he grew up in Fremont, Michigan, which is what Fox Hollow is loosely based on. Growing up, Gerber Baby Food was the company that pretty much kept the town afloat, so that's where the idea for Fox Applesauce originated. The physical structure of Fox Hollow is very similar to Fremont, so people from there will recognize it. Marty's Market is based on the grocery store when Allen worked at in high school.
Sly Fox Hollow welcomes you in, makes you fall in love with the oddly relatable characters, then demands you sit on the edge of your seat for every enthralling moment of it. I came out the other end of book relieved, sore from laughing, yet a little terrified that perhaps Michigan Dogman is still out there.
Allen’s works include Kilroy Was Here, (2022, A15 Publishing) a novel inspired by his 2009 deployment to Afghanistan as a Cavalry Officer with the US Army. Recently, Allen’s short story, Project Valhalla, was awarded the 2022 Colonel Darron L. Wright Award by Line of Advance Literary Journal. His work has appeared in O-Dark-Thirty, Walloon Writers Review, Task & Purpose Magazine, and Real Clear Defense. He currently lives somewhere in Michigan with his beautiful family.
Watch an interview with Allen on FOX17 News here