Mad Dog by Kelly WattMad Dog by Kelly Watt

Mad Dog

byKelly Watt

Paperback | September 10, 2002

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In this gripping novel, Kelly Watt brings to life the wonderfully complex Sheryl-Anne, and with vivid, often frightening detail charts the destruction of a family. The work of a gifted storyteller, Mad Dog marks the arrival of an exceptional new talent.

Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of leaving her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to search for her long-lost mother. One day her adopted father, Fergus, brings home a beautiful young hitchhiker, Peter Lucas Angelo and Sheryl-Anne and Peter become fast friends.

But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it would seem. As the summer progresses Peter is pulled deeper into the dangerous underworld Fergus inhabits -- a world of sex, drugs, and increasingly violent rituals. Sheryl-Anne’s daytime existence becomes more and more threatened by the frightening visions that torment her at night. In a terrifying climax, the brutal truth of Sheryl-Anne’s life is revealed.
Kelly Watt has studied literature and writing in Canada, California, France and India. She has written for magazines, film and television, and worked as a publishers’ representative for The Literary Press Group. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in several national literary magazines. Mad Dog is her first novel.From the Hard...
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Title:Mad DogFormat:PaperbackPublished:September 10, 2002Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385257686

ISBN - 13:9780385257688

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Read from the Book

Nauta agricolae cancrum dat; agricola, malum nautae.(The sailor gives the farmer a crab; the farmer [gives] the sailor an apple.)The first time Sheryl-Anne saw Peter Angelo was in the summer of 1964. The Summer of Freedom and race riots, the summer everyone argued about the maple leaf. That summer Sheryl-Anne MacRae was fourteen.He arrived one hot afternoon in July, while she was lying in her favourite tree, listening to Motor City’s Motown Hour. All day long the cicadas had been whining in the heat. Sheryl had dozed off momentarily and dreamed, awakening to Dr. Beat crooning into her ear: Now here’s a witty ditty from our favourite high school girls from across the border ... and Diana Ross, the queen of all girls that summer had come on singing “When the Lovelight Starts Shining in his Eyes.”Then her uncle’s Pontiac came up the drive. Sheryl hung her transistor on a branch and pressed the binoculars to her eyes. The orchard zoomed into view along with the weathered cedar grey barn and the gardening shed with its metal corrugated roof, where her eleven-year-old cousin Joshua crouched in the dirt playing war, mimicking explosions and gunfire. Sheryl could see the Victorian house with its steep gables and gingerbread trim, its wide white veranda with the rickety porch swing and frowning gargoyle of the god of the wind.Sheryl watched her Uncle Fergus get out of the car, then the passenger door opened and out stepped a young man. He carried a guitar and stood nodding his head like one of those crushed-velvet dogs in the back windows of cars. He was blond and willowy. He had a red bandana tied around his neck, worn the way cowboys did in Westerns. He took it off and mopped his face as if surveying the future writ large in the landscape in front of him.Dr. Beat introduced a gospel tune by Ray Charles, the brother who touches all our hearts, who was blind, and therefore, in Sheryl’s mind, somehow closer to God. The background singers broke into a harmony that sounded like a heavenly choir, and Sheryl thought to herself that she was dreaming, surely she was daydreaming again.Through the binoculars she could see the boy looking around, smiling and showing all his teeth in a grin that said he couldn’t believe his good fortune. Sheryl saw the valley too for a moment through his eyes: the purple-singed hills and the blue craggy face of the escarpment, the green-drenched orchards and the silent trees in orderly rows like obedient children lining up outside in the schoolyard.He moved, walking over to the front window of the Bonneville and then a strange thing happened. He leaned a shoulder onto the hot car, and the sun tilted off the chrome and showered his golden head with a sudden blinding metallic halo. Sheryl felt her heart beat in her throat. A wind came up, sneaking through the collar and arm holes of his white shirt and filled the cloth like a sail, and the sleeves billowed with light behind him. In a moment he moved away and was just a boy again but she already knew that everything was about to change in her life. And she got down from her perch and flew down the hill like the wind to meet him.***Peter Angelo, this here is our niece, Sheryl-Anne, her Uncle Fergus said introducing her, and the young man grinned.Sheryl stared at him, her dark head cocked to one side, one hand idly scratching a mosquito bite. He had a small girl’s nose, thick dirty-blond hair, a little bit of stubble on his chin. He was older than Sheryl, but he wasn’t too tall and still boyish looking. His eyes were hazel with little flecks like small blue fish swimming in them. At first glance he looked a bit rough, but then he smiled and his face lit up and he was beautiful.Pete here was just hitchhiking to Toronto when I gave him a lift, her uncle said. Looks like he’s going to stay with us for a few days, maybe help out a little.Sheryl stood drawing circles with the toe of her sneaker in the dirt. Something was not quite right. It was too quiet, and all at once she knew why. Their dog Lupus was silent. On any other day he would be hoarse by now, but there was nothing. No barking. No rustle of the chain.The screen door whined and Sheryl’s Auntie Eleanor called her in to help with dinner.Nice to meet you, Sheryl said, and smiled shyly.***At supper later there were introductions all round, hands offered and shaken, names traded and repeated out loud, ample smiling with lots of teeth showing. In the kitchen Sheryl’s Auntie Eleanor had laid out a big country spread with a ham casserole, Paul Newman’s favourite, mashed potatoes with gravy, waxed beans and baby carrots. There were candles on the table and hors d’oeuvres like they had only at Christmas. Eleanor fussed about the kitchen, glamorous in a shiny blue shirtwaist, trilling, Welcome, welcome, seat yourself, in her special party voice, wiggling her hips and humming along to CFRB, bossing Sheryl around, who rolled her eyes but did as she was told, passing around a plate of little blocks of ham and pineapple on toothpicks, saying: Cigars, cigarettes.Peter Angelo seated himself where Eleanor indicated and sat looking around the kitchen, taking in the yellow-flowered wallpaper, the sparkly silver faucets, the white counter and endless family photographs that checkered the walls.At the head of the table sat Sheryl’s uncle, Fergus MacRae, his hair jet black and Brylcreem slick, his large blue eyes magnified by Coke bottle glasses. He sat smoking, his hors d’oeuvres untouched, long lanky legs crossed.Peter here is from Sault Ste. Marie where his father has an automobile repair business, Fergus said. He pronounced it otto-mow-beal, making it sound like the Rolls-Royce of garages.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“To call this a first-love/coming-of-age story would belie the suspense and mystery that Watt so adeptly creates.” -- The Globe and Mail“The irony is dark, creepy, and palpable.” -- Ottawa Citizen“The strangest coming-of-age story you ever did read.” -- National Post“Kelly Watt is a new author to watch.” -- Hamilton Spectator“With her first novel, Watt has created a story of substance, layering . . . the apocalypse and pagan ritual over first love, cruelty endured over cruelty meted out.” -- The Globe and Mail