The dog who knew too much
by Spencer Quinn
What makes a good shaggy dog tale? A few good guy characters, lovable, flawed, fun to relate to and get to know over time, a plot with surprising twists, treats and turns, mix in a bit of humor, turn up the heat with some clues, bad guys, an unexpected adventure or two, more than a little fingernail biting peril, a dog as narrator, and you’ve got a heart and soul warming blend without the syrupy sweet sentimentality of too many books with pets that play a starring role in them.
I cannot stand reading those pet books where the hero dog is a too cute super canine with antics like no other and ends up dying in the end. Gushing over other people’s pets and kids gets old quick. If that is what you are looking for this is NOT it, thankfully.
I don’t remember the radio show The Shadow Knows but in this case I’d say the Nose Knows… this whodunit book is one of the tales in a mystery series that will delight dog lovers. Chet and Bernie make a great team at the Little Detective Agency. Bernie, the human, is a private detective and Chet is his loyal pooch companion and fellow sleuth. Chet the Jet is a dog who failed K-9 school. He is a mutt with one white ear and one black ear and his communications with Bernie are often telepathic. He enjoys riding shotgun in Bernie’s old Porsche, checking out the local prey and food, slurping up cool water, having a swim and other canine pursuits. He is a very lovable character and the book is laugh out loud funny. There are some human issues that Chet just doesn’t understand as he explains along the way. This series is going on my top 10 all-time favorite author list.
Kidnapping, Murder and Mayhem, Crooked Old Boys and a Gold Nugget adds up to a Wild Ride: Oh My!
The books are well written and from Chet’s point of view. Chet, the narrator, is k9 adept at sniffing out the bad guys in every situation. In this book, the fourth tale of the series, Bernie is hired to be a divorced mother’s “friend.” The plot thickens when they arrive at the wilderness camp where the son Devin is supposed to be and find that he is missing. Someone at the camp later turns up dead and Bernie is wrongfully plotted against. Will Chet help Bernie solve the crime? Did the ex-husband kidnap the boy? Who killed the dead guy? And will Chet receive a suitable and substantial K9 reward for keeping his nose on the job?
I forgot that I read the first book Dog Gone It a couple of years ago. And enjoyed it too so I just ordered the two books I missed in between, To Fetch a Thief and Thereby Hangs a Tail. You can order the books on Amazon or go to your nearest book store. Ours, Borders, just closed so Amazon was my choice.
I laughed and cried and wondered what the heck was going on with this page turner. Could not put it down. Rooting for Chet and Bernie from page one on. Each book stands on its own although there were a few references to other books made along the way that I did not understand since I had not read the other books. They were asides in my humble opinion that slightly took away from the action. Not enough to keep me away. I guess they were thrown in there for the fans to feel an insider rush or were supposed to be clues? Don’t know. The only comparison I have is to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series where there is either not commentary like that or it is relevant and/or explained. But I guess being a dog Chet remembers cases and people while Stephanie’s distractions are food, family or fooling around with men which I can relate to.
But I agree, there’s genuine suspense and intrigue, combined with humor and deep insight into the bond between dog and humans. From a dog’s-eye perspective, crime has never been so much fun.
I cannot imagine my Cici being so loyal nor limber as Chet but I can imagine how she would get distracted in many of the situations that Chet gets in. Well, she is after all a polka dot princess not a sleuth dog. I did recognize her universal doggie ways and antics in Chet which made the read extra hilarious. Nancy Drew for grownups, and gone to the dogs. Maybe Stephanie should get a dog but then again Bob is enough dog for her and Rex a better choice as her pet. But I digress.
A great read that makes you appreciate your best friend. A winning combo. Four paws up !