Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review: Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

There's a good chance I should never have picked up this book. I'm barely easing my way into the mystery genre; I am not a huge fan when an animal narrates a book; and my daughter, who, unlike me, is a mystery lover, didn't particularly love this book. I picked the book up anyway and while sometimes a book can overcome such enormous obstacles, in this case, it just didn't happen.

Bernie Little is a down on his luck, broke, divorced, private investigator whose personal life is in shambles. He misses his kid and has barely enough work to keep his head above water.  Need I mention he drinks more than he should?  But he does have Chet, his loyal K-9 partner, and the narrator of this first in the Chet and Bernie Mystery series. Life is beating him down when a distraught mother hires Bernie to find her missing fifteen year old daughter Madison.  As Bernie is starting his investigation, the girl returns home, lying about where she was and what she was doing. But there's no longer a case. Or is there? Madison disappears again but doesn't reappear this time and Bernie must deal with her mother, her unpleasant real estate developer father, and a cast of nasty bad guys on his quest to solve this missing persons case even as he deals with his ex-wife and a cute reporter doing a story on him in his personal life.

Chet's narration is uber cutesy as he tells the reader about digging holes and sniffing things. He's sometimes observant about the case at hand and other times he's completely off being a dog. As much as I like dogs, I don't think they should be narrating novels and this is a case in point.  This narration wasn't appealing, it was distracting and annoying.  Chet learns information about Madison's disappearance that Bernie comes to much later but since he can't communicate with Bernie, this is moot. In fact, there's a whole plot line with Chet being abducted that is completely extraneous and unnecessary to the story. It only serves to show the reader where Madison is and to give Chet an additional adventure to narrate. As this is the first in a series, in addition to the mystery, it also sets the stage for the future of Bernie's personal life. Unfortunately, it sets the stage for Bernie to be a stereotype, a characterization he never rises above, at least in this first book. This was clearly meant to be a cute and funny cozy mystery and it sometimes is but in general it was fairly mediocre.  On the plus side, it was an easy and quick read so you don't have to commit to too much time if you opt to read it. I personally won't be reading the rest in the series although cozy aficionados who are less bothered by dog narrators and all the cliches of the genre might find this more appealing than I did.

1 comment:

  1. Usually, your reading tastes mesh with mine pretty well. But I'm heartbroken that you don't like Chet. :-( This is one of my favourite series. I love that dog.

    Ah, well. To each and own - and a variety of opinions makes for an interesting book-blogasphere.


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