The Horse and Mr Hyde – Matt Ferraz

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*I received a free copy of this story, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

 

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Blurb:  A horse pulling a cab in London takes on many strange passengers, but nothing could prepare Black Beauty for Mr Edward Hyde. The evil face of Dr Jekyll steals the animal from his owner and rides him away into the night, leaving behind a trail of blood and despair. This wild journey will change forever the way you look at these classic literary characters.

 

 

 

 

Matt Ferraz appears to choose his short story ideas by thinking of the two most disparate literary characters he can, then mashing them together.  Hence we had his previous mashup that combined Sherlock Holmes with Pollyanna in a Glad Game investigation, and this re-envisioning of  Jekyll and Hyde through the eyes of Black Beauty.

This actually makes for an excellent, if unusual pairing, as Mr Hyde exemplifies the animalistic urges of man, whilst ‘Jack’ carries human intellect and sentiment within his equine form.

The story retains the narrative structure of Anna Sewell’s famous horse recounting his first-person adventures to the reader – in this case, his time as Jerry’s cab horse – whilst drawing on the Gothic horror that characterises Robert Louis Stevenson’s cautionary tale about a man-created monster.

Whilst bringing these two characters together in fog-wreathed London streets for their encounter, Ferraz is careful to ensure that the canon of the original texts is unchanged, giving his story the effect of a ‘bonus chapter’ to both stories.

My only regret – an ignoble one – is that my curiosity remained unsated on the point of the effect Dr Jekyll’s potion would have had on such an unusual test subject.  Perhaps Hyde’s inclination to experiment indiscriminately is a more human one than we would like to admit?  Thankfully, on this occasion, curiosity left the horse mostly unharmed!

With more mashups in the works from this author, I look forward to an eventual anthology of bizarre pairings that somehow work together to create something familiar but new.  In the meantime, these short stories are quick, easy and fun to read, especially if you’re familiar with the original source texts.

 

 

   We were about to head on our way when someone called out from behind us.  “You!  Hey, you, cabbie!”
The sound of that voice almost made me bolt, taking my master with me.  It might have been better that way.  How can I describe the effect of the way that man said those words?  Was it just evil?  I’d seen a lot of cruelty growing up, towards both man and animal.  And yet, it wasn’t just that that made me so uneasy.  It was the voice of someone who was less than a man, a creature that nature hadn’t finished making and yet had been put into this world.

– Matt Ferraz, The Horse and Mr Hyde

 

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You can follow Matt Ferraz on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

The Horse and Mr Hyde is available on Amazon right now, and you can pop here for my interview with the author, or here for my thoughts on Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game.

 

 

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