on February 22, 2009
The 41 reviewers who preceded me pretty much say it all about this book. It's WONDERFUL. I just want to add a couple thoughts.
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.
This is great new voice in detective fiction.
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.
on September 6, 2012
I picked up this book because as a life-long dog owner the concept of a story presented from the dog's point of view intrigues me. My first exposure to this was Garth Stein's "The Art of Racing in the Rain", which was an excellent book. I found "Dog on It" to be entertaining but not as well written as Stein's book, perhaps because it didn't grab you emotionally like the other book. Some of the scenarios in the story were improbable, much like Dudley Doright showing up just in the nick of time. On the other hand, the thought processes presented for the dog were probably spot on, being frequently scattered and distracted by all manner of stimuli. It was a fun read and I'll likely pick up others in the series, but I wouldn't call it an award winner. A good way to wile away an afternoon. I do think you can easily cheer for Chet and Bernie as the heroes.
Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn is a fun new debut novel.
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.
on February 9, 2009
Incredibly creative and fun to read!!! I love that the book is written from the dogs perspective. Absoultely ingenious. I couldn't stop laughing. If you love dogs, you will love this book.
on October 10, 2010
I just finished this book and wanted to write a review immediately. It is rare for me to feel so strongly about a book that I want to share it with the world right away!
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.
on January 4, 2010
I'm not one to rely on "best of" lists but decided to use one this past summer. I chose Stephen King, my all-time favorite author. I've read several of the books Mr King recommended (all fantastic!) and decided to get one as a gift for my husband. Hubby loved to read when he was younger but doesn't have much time for it in recent years. So, when he unwrapped this book on Christmas morn, he gave me a little bit of a puzzled look. Then he read the first few pages... and went back for a few more after breakfast... picked it up again after dinner... and that is where he stayed (six straight hours) until he finished it! He has never, in the 12+ years I have known him, sat up until past midnight to read a complete book in one day! I just pre-ordered "Thereby Hangs a Tail." Do yourself a favor. Order both books at once! :-)
BTW... Thanks Uncle Stevie!
Full discloure: I am an unabashed dog lover currently own by three dogs.
That being said, I loved "Dog On It". This is the story of Bernie, a private eye and Chet, his K-9 dog school flunkie. The story is told from Chet's perspective.
The mystery involved Madison Chambliss, a fifteen year old girl who has gone missing. Chet is hired by Madison's mother, and then by her father (the couple is divorced). Along the way they meet several interesting characters, many of who come to Chet's aid.
The mystery itself was a bit thin. I figured out how it was going to end very early on. However, that did not detract from the story at all as Chet the dog was so darn funny. I laughed out loud at least once, usually more, during each chapter. An example would be Chet meeting someone he didn't take a fancy to by saying he smelled of the worst thing ever: cat.
If you love dogs and are convinced they understand everything we are talking about, you will love this book. Even you you don't love dogs, this is a wonderful, funny book that most would enjoy. If you are a cat person, well, that might be a different story.
on March 10, 2010
"Dog On It" is wonderful cozy mystery that made me laugh out loud. A girl goes missing, and Bernie--along with his canine partner, Chet--has to solve the case. Using Bernie's logic (and ability to drive) and Chet's sense of smell, they follow the clues to their satisfying conclusion. The best thing about "Dog on It" is that it's from Chet's point of view! Chet treats the reader to an inside look at how a dog's mind works--with plenty of digressions for food, treats, and barking at other dogs & bad guys. Anyone who has lived with a dog will be able to see exactly what's going through Chet's mind.
"Dog on It" is hilarious and is a satisfying read. I love Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" series, and Spencer Quinn's "Chet the Dog" series promises to be at least as much fun. Quinn really captures a dog's point of view; it's completely believable that a dog is telling the story. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!
on October 11, 2012
I ordered three of Spencer Quinn's books on a whim because I love dogs and dog stories. This is the first in the series (I think). The book is narrated by Chet the Jet, a dog who is part of the Little Detective Agency (owned by Bernie Little, Chet's human). Chet is pure dog and his comments on human behavior are wonderful. The story moves right along and gets exciting as Bernie and Chet get closer to solving the mystery. There is not a lot of violence which I consider a plus but the plot is well constructed so the suspense builds toward the end. These are just plain fun to read and I would highly recommend the series. I have read two of the three so far.