James Patterson. David Baldacci. Those are my most loved non-fiction authors and one month I took a vacation without knowing I was leaving when I selected an adventure by Spencer Quinn. This PI novel is told from the voice of a police-trained German Shepherd name Chet, and his person, “The Smartest Human in the Room,” Bernie Little. Together they own The Little Detective Agency.
Sometimes Chet startles himself with a profound thought, e.g., he saw the neighbor frustrated with not being able to start the leaf blower, which Chet hated because the high pitched whine hurt his ears. After many tries, the neighbor threw it to the ground and went inside. Chet thought about the many times he had seen humans get so frustrated with a machine that they stomped, kicked, punched or jumped on it. He thought of one man-machine incident after another, then the profound thought popped into his canine head: Can humans make machines mad? He amazed himself. But not too much.
Love dogs? Chet loves the bones that people give him, for example, the owner of the best restaurant in the valley gives him rib bones, “sometimes with the ribs attached.” As much as he loves treats, he dislikes cats. It was a cat that distracted him during the final exam for the police academy, and therefore became the reason he didn’t qualify for the K-9 Unit. There is a cat in this story that causes the expected chaos as many times as he has lives. Chet can smell things about the people they encounter. He’s a trained police dog, after all. Things like toothpaste and mouthwash on the “top layer,” and tobacco, cocaine and oxycontin below.
Want romance? Divorced now for several years and having his son for visitation every second weekend and Christmas opens the door for his soul match, Sandy, a reporter who moves a couple hours away in search of her big break. Of course the usual tension between Bernie and his ex, Leta, adds spice to a couple situations.
The case Bernie and Chet are on in this adventure involves a badly behaved actor named Thad Perry. The Mayor pays Bernie a hearty amount to shadow Chad and make sure that for the 10 days they are filming a movie in his city, Chad has no “situations.”
Quinn veraciously captures the devotion dogs have for their owners and the mindless antics they go through to occupy their day. Jim Frangione is absolutely perfect. He has a chesty voice and each character its own clear timber. This is the fifth in the series and I guarantee you that once you have heard this book, you will go back and pick up at least one of the other four. I bought them all!
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