Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Spencer Quinn's novel Dog On It is a treat.
There is an inherent problem with writing books about animals, especially if the story is from the animals point of view. It's not so much a problem if all the characters in the book are animals like Richard Adams' Watership Down or Brian Jacques' Redwall series. But when then animal is talking about events concerning us humans, well writers can tend to make the narrator, whatever the species, sound all too human. And at the end of the day the narrator might as well have been human.
Well I am happy to Spencer Quinn has no such problem with his new book Dog On It. The novel is the first(and I hope many) in the Chet and Bernie Mystery series.
The story revolves around Chet, who flunked out of K-9 Police school who works with Bernie, a down in luck private investigator(and aren't they best kind to read about). But as you figured out from the opening paragraph that Chet is our narrator for this tale.
Madison a bright teenager goes missing. As the case progresses Chet and Bernie will cross the dessert, deal with a reporter who may be just after a story or something else and a biker gang before they get to the bottom of the case.
You don't need to know much more about the case(after all you don't want me to spoil it for you) so I'll talk about are lovable narrator.
Now I don't know if Spencer Quinn can talk to dogs or can read there minds but he really capture the feeling of how I think a dog would talk and think. As I mentioned other writer with animals as narrators will have the animal talk as if they understand what the humans are talking about. But Chet freely admits he doesn't understand half of what Bernie or any one else says. But he thinks the world of Bernie. He thinks Bernie is the smartest one there is. It's like how you would think a dog thinks of his owner. For Chet his whole world revolves around Bernie.
Spencer also perfectly captures how Chet views the world. Through his sense of smell(Bernie has the perfect smell), sight(not so great with color) and hearing(there is an elusive she-bark out there somewhere). How he loves to ride with his head sticking out the window(no one rides shot gun to Bernie but Chet)
As for the mystery itself. It's an engaging one and Spencer keeps the suspense up through out the whole book. Bernie may be down on his luck but he knows his business and his good at what he does. But of course Chet is always a few steps ahead of him. But together this the there isn't a bad guy who stand up to Chet and Bernie.
This is a series I look forward to read. The characters and mystery are engaging and fun. Spencer knows how to roll out clues here and there while spiling the mystery. But it is really Chet's voice that makes this a truly fun book. Between the first and last page Dog On It it a great start to what I hope is long series.