Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dog On It - Spencer Quinn

 Every time I visit Sandmeyer's Bookstore in Chicago, I have a ball talking to the owner, Ellen, and letting her recommend her favorite books to me.  The two of us move through the store, pointing out this or that with commentary, and every shelf or two I grab something.  On my last visit, she pointed to this book and said "Oh this one is hilarious!  It is a mystery narrated by a dog."  My first reaction was to repel in horror.  Another "Racing in the Rain" to rip my heart out!  Ellen assured me that no, the dog does not die.  The dog will make you laugh.


As it turns out, this is the first of a series of four books that involve Chet and his P.I. master Bernie.  


Synopsis:  Chet and Bernie are a team, through thick and thin.  Bernie is a recently divorced, down-on-his-luck private eye who is struggling to make ends meet.  Chet is his dog who brings lots of skills to the relationship.  He is an (almost) certified K-9 dog, a great jumper, loves to ride shotgun in Bernie's beat-up old Porsche, and is Bernie's biggest fan.  


One day Bernie is approached by a distressed woman whose 15 year-old daughter has gone missing.  After a short period of time, Bernie is reassured that the girl has been located in Las Vegas and will be coming home soon, but something doesn't feel right.  Too much trouble has been happening to Bernie and Chet in the form of the girl's smarmy real estate father and some Russian mobsters.  The Bernie/Chet team is like a dog with a bone (ha) and refuses to rest until the details are nailed down and the girl is home safe.


My thoughts:  Ellen was right, this book was hilarious.  The entire story is narrated by Chet.  So we only know what Chet hears in conversations around him or what Bernie tells him.  Sometimes Chet will take a nap, go to the groomer's, or get lost in a rawhide chew, and in those cases, we might miss out on a few things.  Which is part of the fun.  The dog has a great attitude, ready to bite the leg of a bad guy, responds to anyone who will scratch behind his ears or give him treats, and is a loyal friend.


The mystery at hand is not all that complicated, with Russian mobsters being almost stereotypical antagonists, but that is not why we are here.  We are here because in the first 30 pages we fall in love with Chet.  He makes you want a dog just like him because he is funny and cool and unashamed of his doggy impulses.  It is obvious to me that the author knows his canines well.  Will this clever hook in telling a cozy mystery get old?  Well, the pressure is on Quinn's shoulders.  


Without a doubt I will be reading the rest of the series, to see if he is up to the challenge!


4 out of 5 stars         


    

16 comments:

Harvee said...

Glad you found Quinn as I did. I've read a couple o fhis books and loved this savvy dog! The Dog Who Knew Too Much, the latest, is his best I think.

caite said...

Since we share a hatred of sad dog books, I will trust you on this one.

Jenny said...

Sounds like a fun book! I think my husband might have read this one.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I got tired of the clever hook after maybe 30 pages and didn't finish it. One clever hook just wasn't enough to keep me going!

bermudaonion said...

I know animals as narrators bother some people, but I personally like them. I've got several books in this series and didn't realize they're funny. I need to get with it!

Anita said...

I don't think I've read anything where an animal narrates, seen a few silly movies, but no books. This sounds fun, and I really need a few fun reads in my stacks! Thanks Sandy.

Trisha said...

I have never read a book narrated by an animal because I assume I won't like it. Maybe I'm wrong....

Zibilee said...

I also have never read a book narrated by an animal, but this one sounds fun! I sort of have an aversion to Racing in the Rain because of all the drama and sadness that surrounds it, but I would totally check this one out. I am glad that you liked it and that it gave you so much to enjoy. I will be interested in your take on the rest of the series.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

The dog being the narrator could be interesting. I have often wondered what my dogs think. This sounds like a cute mystery.

Jenners said...

Jill read some dog detective books awhile back but I don't think it is this. Now that I have a dog I would probably appreciate this much more!

Darlene said...

It's just funny thinking of a book narrated by a dog let alone anything else. This does sound like a fun book and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Julie P. said...

Sounds perfect for Mystery Mondays!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Entirely from the dog's perspective? I would love that. Great review.

Jackie Bailey said...

I commented on this post earlier in the week, but it looks as though my comment was eaten :-( I'm having real trouble commenting on your blog (and a few others) at the moment. So just wanted to let you know I am here and reading, but can rarely get your blog to load outside google reader.

I love the idea of this book and am intrigued by the doggie impulses! My dog just stole a loaf of bread so I'm the victim of a few at the moment. I#ll keep an eye out for this one.

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a great read and I do love that cover photo!

Melissa said...

See, this is why I love you! Where else would I have heard about this book. :)