A lot of people helped with the research for this book, and there’s a lengthy list of acknowledgments on the last page. (Thanks once again to all concerned). But here, also, is a list of the books and other resources which were used while writing the book. You’ll find most of them interesting in their own right.

  • I Have Heard You Calling In The Night, Thomas Healy, Granta, 2006.
  • Hunger: An Unnatural History, Sharman Apt Russell, Basic Books, 2005.
  • Stiff, Mary Roach, Penguin Books, 2003.
  • Cause of Death, Dr Geoffrey Garrett and Andrew Nott, Robinson, 2001.
  • Shattered Lives, Camila Batmanghelidjh, JKP, 2006.
  • A Matter of Life And Death, Sue Armstrong, Dundee University Press, 2008.
  • Black’s Concise Atlas of Human Anatomy, ed. Thomas McCracken, 2005.
  • Forensic Science, Andrew Jackson and Julie Jackson, Pearson, 2004
  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, 1935.
  • How Late It Was, How Late, James Kelman, 1994.

Other resources


You can find video footage of the growing and processing of opium

and, presumably, all over the web, by typing the appropriate search terms into a search engine.


Information about heroin use, addiction, treatment, harm-minimisation and rehabilitation can be found at the following sites, amongst many others:

The Royal College of Pathology know an awful lot about post-mortem examinations, as well as all the other things pathologists do. Thanks to them for their assistance, and in particular to Professor James Lowe of the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.

And the Coroners’ Society is a good place to start if you’re interested in finding out more about the work of a coroner. (Many thanks to Dr Nigel Chapman, the coroner for Nottinghamshire, for his assistance in researching this book).

Glossary and Notes

The slang, jargon and acronyms in Even The Dogs have deliberately been left unexplained within the text; partly so that the reader will feel a slight estrangement from the world of the characters, and partly to encourage the reader to find their own way in to that world.

But, just in case anyone’s completely flummoxed (or reading the book outside the UK and maybe less familiar with UK slang), here’s a glossary:

  • p23: “giro cheque” – welfare benefits cheque
  • p25: “wet centre” – a daycentre for homeless/vulnerable people where drinking alcohol is allowed (whereas most hostels and daycentres are “dry”, ie alcohol is banned).
  • p26: “winter shelter” – a hostel which only opens in the winter months.
  • p27: “gear” – drugs generally, but usually to mean heroin.
  • p28 “gone over” – overdosed, although not necessarily fatally. (Also “going over”)
  • p28 “score” – to buy drugs
  • p28 “get sorted” – obtain drugs and/or use drugs especially heroin.
  • p28 “the Housing” – council housing department
  • p29 “taxed” – robbed
  • p29 “ten bag” – a £10 bag of heroin, usually 0.2 grammes. Basic unit of heroin use.
  • p30 “the dark and the light” – heroin and crack-cocaine (which are brown and white, and often used in combination, especially by those in the homeless community).
  • p30 “script” – prescription from a doctor for methadone, a synthetic heroin substitute which is intended to aid withdrawal from heroin but is often used alongside heroin. While ‘script’ strictly means the written prescription, it’s often used to refer to the dose of methadone itself.
  • p30 “holding him” – keeping heroin withdrawal symptoms at bay.
  • p30 “a bag” – see “ten bag”.
  • p30 “getting sick” – getting heroin withdrawal symptoms.
  • p31 “benzos” – benzodiazepam range of prescription drugs, often used in combination with or as substitute for heroin.
  • p31 “jellies” – Temazepam, as above.
  • p31 “works” – equipment for preparing and injecting heroin (ie syringe, needle, spoon, foil, filter, citric acid, water, lighter).
  • p35 “Sally Army” – Salvation Army
  • p36 “shrapnel” – small denomination coins
  • p39 “the Issue” – the Big Issue, a magazine sold for commission by homeless people.
  • p39 “having a dig” – injecting heroin or heroin+cocaine
  • p39 “nodding / on the nod” – state of heroin intoxication, a kind of sleepy euphoria. Rarely attained by long-term addicts, who are simply maintaining a state of not-withdrawing, but always aspired to.
  • p39 “gouching / gouching out” – same as ‘nodding’. Etymology unclear despite much research.
  • p44 “keyworker” – worker with government or charitable agency who is assigned to work with individual homeless people to try and help them meet their needs for eg housing, medical support, drug rehab, counselling, training, etc etc.
  • p48 “rattling / rattles” – symptoms of withdrawing, usually from heroin.
  • p48 “cooking (up)” – preparing dose of heroin
  • p48 “fixing (up)” – preparing and/or injecting dose of heroin
  • p61 “snap” – food
  • p64 “rocks” pieces of crack cocaine
  • p66 “smack” – heroin
  • p66 “sub” – small loan or gift of money
  • p71 “jitter” – anxiety caused by crack-cocaine withdrawal
  • p72 “smackhead” – heroin addict
  • p77 “la” – Liverpool slang for ‘pal’ or ‘friend’.
  • p82 “clean” no longer addicted to heroin etc
  • p87 “asbos” Anti Social Behaviour Orders; an Order can be made to prevent defined acts of ‘anti social behaviour’ by named individuals (eg not to gather at a certain street corner, or play music above a certain volume, or talk to a certain individual), with the effect of criminalising behaviour which isn’t itself criminal. Breaking the terms of an ASBO can lead to a fine or prison sentence. Increasingly used to prevent begging and/or sleeping rough.
  • p89 “tap up / tapping up” – begging
  • p90 “lamping” – beating
  • p90 “youse” plural of you, Liverpool slang.
  • p91 “PDSA” People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals; a charitable veterinary service.
  • p93 “dry” – not drinking alcohol
  • p106 “pin” – needle, or syringe+needle, for injecting heroin
  • p107 “meth” – methadone (see ‘script’)
  • p107 “getting enough housing” eg, getting payments from housing welfare benefit department.
  • p109 “marra” slang from north-eastern England (eg Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesborough) meaning friend or workmate; originally a coalmining expression. Used only by Ant, and identifies him as being from north-east England.
  • p129 “rec” recreation ground
  • p148 “yoursen” slang for yourself
  • p151 “shrapnel” note that here the doctor is using ‘shrapnel’ in the usual sense of a fragment of metal from an explosion or explosive device.
  • p166 “SOC officers” Scene of Crime officers, investigative police