Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Dog On It" by Spencer Quinn

I originally picked this up for my hubby, who is always needing another book to read. Claims "his" authors just don't write fast enough to keep him happy. He devoured it and kept telling me how good it was, how much he liked Chet, etc. Imagine my surprise when we got the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly here at work, and there in Stephen King's column is a list a "beach reads" - and there's "Dog On It"! Well, if Steve-o liked it that much, I knew I had to try it...

Chet is a dyed-in-the-wool good dog. His partner is Bernie Little, and together they are the Little Detective Agency. Chet was supposed to have been a K-9 dog, but something went wrong near the very end of his training. Chet is a very, very good leaper, and he's not entirely sure what happened, but he thinks he remembers blood... Anyway, he and Bernie are a team, and they're about to get a case that will test their abilities and then some.

Bernie is contacted about a missing teen by her mother, simply distraught over her daughter's disappearance. Only thing is the girl shows up pretty fast, so Bernie has his doubts about what really happened; he believes the girl was out with a boy and just doesn't want her mother to know. Plus there's the bag of pot that Chet found in her room - add one and one and they pretty much come up to two. Except that Bernie is contacted by the same woman again within a few days, hysterical and crying, saying her daughter is gone again and this time it's been more than just a few hours and she just knows something bad has happened to her. Bernie is reluctant to help again, but something just isn't adding up. He agrees to take the case, and after interviewing a few people, including the girl's father (divorced parents, don't ya know), he really smells a rat. Chet, of course, accompanies him everywhere, much to several peoples dismay, but Chet is smart, and Chet is his partner after all. Just when it seems like maybe the girl is OK and nothing bad has happened, it all falls apart, leaving both Bernie and Chet in danger.

OK, that's a pretty simplistic version of the plot, but that's as much as you're going to get! I was impressed by this book, and I can see why King recommends it for the beach (or wherever it is you vacation). It's cute, it's an easy read, and it's actually fairly well-written. Chet is our narrator, and I have to admit, I was totally believing it. I've never read any of the stories told from the animal's point of view before; they always seems too cutesy or corny. This one hits the mark, making Chet almost seem human but giving enough info to prove he's not. For example, Chet's attention wanders quite a bit, much like my dog's used to. He's distracted by movement at times, and he loves smells, describing them in intricate detail, much like I'd imagine a real dog would if it could talk. He and Bernie make a great team, and lucky us, this looks like it's going to be a series. I sure hope so - I'll take a journey with Bernie and Chet any day. Check it out!

No comments: