The book is OK. The narration is not so great. In particular, the voices of the two black characters are bizarre and, to me, grating. The voices don't fit what we know about the characters.
Perhaps I love this book because, like the author, I am a civilian cadaver dog handler. Like her, I have a real job but love doing cadaver detection with my German Shepherd. I started my first dog around the same time she did and now also have a young dog in training. That's my bias.
I think this book would be fascinating to anyone who is curious about what humans and dogs can do together especially the quirky work of finding the dead.
The author's explanations of why this work is so satisfying rang true as did her description of the parts of it that haunt a handler (probably not what you think). Her account of her and Solo's training and development into a working team described the joys and pitfalls common to human-canine teamwork. That story is interwoven with chapters on scientific and historical information about working dogs in general with a focus on sniffer dogs especially cadaver dogs. There is some fascinating material on the work that was done to investigate using other species to do detection work (such as bees, snakes and pigs).
This isn't a training book, but there are quotes from many good trainers and descriptions of problems that will perhaps inspire your training.
After two chapters, I deleted this book from device. I am somewhat easily entertained but this is a pale story with a weak and annoying main character. There was nothing compelling nor entertaining.
The real mystery is why this author is so popular. I'm not difficult to please especially with mysteries. I nearly abandoned this one several times but instead left it playing while I did other stuff (like pump gas). Often while listening, I found myself repeating lines to my dog ("I melted into his arms") and just laughing. The dog agreed; There is no humor, no grace, no subtlety, no intelligence.
The narrator did her best.
I keep wondering if this book was really written by Ms. Davidson. I've enjoyed this series in the past. They are light and fun. This one is ridiculous, forced and just off the mark. Maybe the problem is the narration. I enjoy Barbara Rosenblatt's Goldie quite a bit and maybe she brings in much needed irony. I've almost abandoned this one and have asked, out loud, "really?" several times.
Although there were some plausability problems, the story kept my interest. Sure there is a know-it-all character who delivers lots of lectures. But they are informative and interesting to me. The bumbling lawyer is impossibly dumb. Still, it challenged my beliefs and was entertaining. I recently read The Company by Robert Littel and Oryx and Crake by Margarat Atwood. I recommend these as an interesting set on the themes of politics, science and misinformation campaigns. There is a cannibalism scene that is somewhat revolting. Most of Crichton's works have some nasty violence but it's hard to skim those passages in audio format (at least on a Nano). The print edition has a good annotated bibliography and I plan to read some of the source materials.
This is a dark and absorbing listen that calls to mind other poetic dystopias: Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy and The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk. I'll listen to it again. This is a book that haunts.
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