Peter Heller’s post-apocalyptic The Dog Stars has many redeeming elements in a novel otherwise written to be larger than life (and therefore, more cinematic than literary). Yes, Hig cuts off slices of intruders to make jerky for his dog. This is dark, but with what we grow to learn about Hig, it strikes an odd note. Heller wants his hell-scape, but also a bit of film love thrown in.
Overall, Heller has written a perfectly acceptable novel that will become a movie. It will have a haunted, uncertain ending, but it will be wholly predictable.