Book Review~ Top Dog

Title: Top Dog
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Author: Jerry Jay Carroll
Purchase Links: Amazon     
Connect With the Author:  AmazonWebsite

Alice in Wonderland meets The Wolf of Wall Street in Jerry Jay Carroll’s brilliant and witty debut novel. Revised and available for the first time on Kindle.
William B. Ingersol sits in an office high above Wall Street scheming cut-throat corporate takeovers. Just another day at work, it seems, business as usual. He puts his head down on his desk and wakes up as a big dog, trying to survive in a strange new world of wizards, fairies and monsters. To get back home, he has to choose between good and evil, devil or angel. That’s not as easy as you might think for a man used to playing with a stacked deck and both ends against the middle.
Top Dog was a Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of the Year when it came out.
“A stylish, funny combination of parable and moral tale . . . Imaginative, seductively written, and a pleasure to read. Top Dog is a first rate entertainment.” – Richard North Patterson
“A witty, adult and imaginative fable.” Martin Cruz Smith
“If Kafka and Tolkien shared an office on Wall Street, this is the novel they might have written.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“The Shaggy Dog meets J.R.R. Tolkien in this entertaining debut effort. The premise is wildly silly and metaphorically transparent and has absolutely no right to succeed on any level, but Carroll – through a combination of reasonably swift pacing and gruffly funny internal monologues – pulls it off.” -- Kirkus Reviews
Entertainment Weekly gave it an A grade. 

Top Dog is imaginative and engaging, exploring good and evil in an interesting way. I really like that Ingersol wasn't completely evil or good, but that he struggled with which side to choose and which side to help. We all have that internal struggle within ourselves, and Top Dog is a great illustration of that. I think this is a well thought out, well written, and interesting book for the most part. There's a lot of subtle...okay, maybe not so subtle, social commentary which I really enjoyed.

I do have a few critiques, however. This is a pretty lengthy book, especially in the beginning things are drawn out and there is a lot of inner dialogue, it was a little too much, in fact. The ending, though, is rather abrupt in comparison. It felt like Carroll got to the end and was so excited to finally be there that he decided to sprint after jogging for the entire thing. I think it would be most beneficial to cut some of the flashbacks and add a better conclusion.

Also, there are a few concepts that as a Christian can be offensive. God is very much painted in the light of a king on a pedestal, creating people and universes purely for his entertainment. It seems that the "Bright Giver" described in the book is a very selfish and unjust God, creating things to watch them self-destruct, and only intervening if it so pleases him in that moment.

All in all, this was an interesting read that I quite enjoyed after I got into it. I would certainly recommend this to you fantasy/adventure lovers without a strong connection to faith.


Sex? No, however, references are made.
Language? Yes.
Drugs and alcohol? No.
Religion? Ish. More like good vs. evil using common religious themes as an illustration.
Anything else? No.

Jerry Jay Carroll is a former journalist, nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of five novels, among them Top Dog, a NYT bestseller newly revised. His latest is The Great Liars, a thriller about the mysterious events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. Carroll was a feature writer and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle before moving with his poet wife and son to Montana to studyWorld War II. They now live in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, all opinions are 100% my own.
*Thank you to The Indie View for connecting me to this author.