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Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery (Chet and Bernie Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 10, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't think this book can be categorized as noir. Chet, the dog, is not so much hard-boiled as simply being his animal self. Unsentimental. Non-judgmental. Ready to eat at every opportunity.
The dog-as-narrator conceit was used most realistically by the author in that Chet is not made to be (or think he is) smarter than Bernie. Most charming was the way Mr. Quinn captures the spirit of Chet who lives in the moment, filled with a joie de vivre at the pleasures of life: fresh water, riding shotgun in a car, a good nap.
Please, Amazon, find out when the next Chet and Bernie story is due. I want to pre-order.
And in detective fiction, voice is critical. At the end of the day, we come back to Kinsey Milhone or Stephanie Plum or Marcus Didius Falco because we want to spend more time with the character.
Chet is a great central voice. Quinn doesn't play cute and he doesn't gimmick up the story. There are many ways that the notion of a canine main character could go horribly wrong, and Quinn avoids them all.
Chet is out of the gumshoe tradition, looking out for his down-on-his-luck partner Bernie:
"She got out of the car, a tall woman with long fair hair and a smell of flowers and lemons, plus a trace of another smell that reminded me of hat happens only sometimes to the females in my world. What would that be like, having it turned on all the time? Probably drive you crazy. I glanced at Bernie, watching her, patting his hair into place. Oh, Bernie."
Chet has the hard-boiled nerve, the observational skills, the running internal commentary of a classic detective, but he has his appropriately dog-like qualities as well-- an occasional attention span issue, as well a tendency to act, now and then, literally before he realizes he has done it.
The set-up of the mystery is interesting, the solution interesting but not entirely surprising. And Quinn does fall back on one whopper of a coincidence to save the day at one point.
But Chet and Bernie are a fun and entertaining team, and Quinn is a prose master. If you read detective fiction for the main character or because you believe it's where much of the best writing is done, this one is for you. It probably adds a bit if you have a dog of your own, but that's not a requirement to enjoy this excellent first outing.
This fun mystery introduces two memorable characters: Chet the Jet, the narrator is a lovable dog who failed K-9 school. The story is told from Chet's point of view. Chet works cheap, (just feed him well), he doesn't talk back, and is a loyal companion to Bernie.
Bernie Little, part owner of Little Detective Agency. He is divorced and strapped for money because of his alimony and child support debts. Bernie is hired to find a fifteen-year old girl who disappears, reappears and disappears again. When Madison disappears the second time Chet and Bernie are on the case and the antics begin. Chet knows were Madison is but he can't speak so he can't tell his owner, and since he doesn't understand why they are looking for her, he often falls asleep at inappropriate times during the investigation. There is one touching part where Chet ends up in an animal shelter and learns more than he cares to about euthanasia.
The Chet and Bernie characters are memorable, they'll make you laugh when you least expect it. If you like fun mysteries, and have a soft spot for lovable pooches (especially one with a nose for solving mysteries), Dog on It, is a fun story that is sure to please. I look forward to the next Chet and Bernie book in this new, fun series.
Spencer Quinn is masterful at creating Chet's voice -- it is funny and touching, with just the right amount of doggy distraction and attitude. I enjoyed reading when Chet discovers some clues and encounters some bad guys and is unable to communicate this to Bernie, his beloved boss, except with doggy stuff like barking, growling, wagging his tail. Interestingly, these episodes create a kind of tension as the story unfolds more slowly because of it. A great plot device.
Chet exudes such pure joy in his doggy life -- naps, water, snacks, walks, scratches around the ears, and most of all, riding shotgun with Bernie -- it is hard not to get caught up in it. He makes wry observations about people and "his guys" (other dogs) and other animals. Chet is such a wonderful influence on Bernie, who is sad about his divorce and separation from his son Charlie, has money troubles, and worries about the state of the planet (particularly the desert). Bernie is often buoyed up by Chet's unconditional love, such a wonderful canine trait.
As other reviewers have said, the mystery is not huge, but it is an interesting puzzle to arrive at the final solution. Yes, coincidences play a part, but it did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. I loved it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good dog lover should enjoy this adventure for its unique viewpoint of the dog Chet. It is cleverly written, so the reader can understand points that go over Chet's head,... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Renda the red-eyed reader
I loved these books so much I bought all seven in the series. I hated when I came to the end of a book. I love Chet! What a wonderful character. Read morePublished 4 days ago by DARLENE C. BLAKE
This is the first book I have read by this author - couldn't finish it. It is slow and tedious. They were sleeping in a tent when Chet leaves to go bark at strangers and no one... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Katiem
Nice light read, a good distraction or vacation read. Cleverly written and charming. A dogs point of view is refreshing.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
We loved it. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read with thoroughly enjoyable characters, especially the dog!! A nice change from the serious, heavy books we had been reading.Published 16 days ago by jkb