Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn


Title: Dog On It
Author: Spencer Quinn
# pages: 305
Date published: 2009
Genre: mystery
Series: A Chet and Bernie mystery (Book #1)
Challenge(s): 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, Pages Read Challenge

Rating: (very good)


First sentence:

“I could smell him--or rather the booze on his breath--before he even opened the door, but my sense of smell is pretty good, probably better than yours.”

What is it all about (from the book jacket)? Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. Chet might have flunked out of police school ("I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved"), but he's a detective through and through.

In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. A well-behaved, gifted student, she didn't arrive home after school and her divorced mother is frantic. Bernie is quick to take the case -- something about a cash flow problem that Chet's not all that clear about -- and he's relieved, if vaguely suspicious, when Madison turns up unharmed with a story that doesn't add up. But when she disappears for a second time in a week, Bernie and Chet aren't taking any chances; they launch a full-blown investigation. Without a ransom demand, they're not convinced it's a kidnapping, but they are sure of one thing: something smells funny.

Their search for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locals, with Chet's highly trained nose leading the way. Both Chet and Bernie bring their own special skills to the hunt, one that puts each of them in peril. But even as the bad guys try to turn the tables, this duo is nothing if not resourceful, and the result is an uncommonly satisfying adventure.

With his doggy ways and his endearingly hardboiled voice, Chet is full of heart and occasionally prone to mischief. He is intensely loyal to Bernie,who, though distracted by issues that Chet has difficulty understanding -- like divorce, child custody, and other peculiar human concerns -- is enormously likable himself, in his flawed, all-too-human way.

Random thoughts: Dog On It was surprisingly good. I have to admit, I was more than a bit skeptical about a book written from the dog’s point of view. But, to the author’s credit, it works very well and I’m looking forward to Chet and Bernie’s next adventure.

Favorite scene(s): Chet likes to catch balls on the first bounce. While investigating the case, Chet has an opportunity to ride in the back of a golf cart while Bernie is interviewing a suspect. Out of nowhere a golf ball appears and bounces right next to the cart. Chet snags it just as the owner of the ball crests the hill in another golf cart. Chet gnaws on the golf ball for the rest of the ride. When he and Bernie get to the clubhouse, Chet observes:
“Way back on the fairway, two golfers were walking in little circles, heads down. Golf was a game I didn’t get at all.” (p. 134)

Fun tidbits:
Recommended for readers who: love dogs and a good mystery.


Anonymous said...

This has been on my TBR list for a while, and I'm really excited to read it! I love dogs, but I was also a bit skeptical about it being in the point of view of one. It sounds as if that helped the plot rather than hurt it, though. Looking forward to reading it!
Thanks for your review!

samantha.1020 said...

This sounds like a lot of fun and the perfect addition to my themed reading challenge as my theme is cozies. Great review!

Sandra said...

This was a fun read for me too. This writer understand dogs. I've read and enjoyed two of Peter Abrahams' suspense stories for adults, Oblivion and End of Story. He also wrote The Fan which was filmed with Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes. I would have read Dog On It with his own name on it but I guess he had his reasons. I'd read the next one in the series if he writes one.