Dog On It
Atria, Feb 10 2009, $25.00
Chet and Bernie Little are partners in the Little Detective Agency although the latter does much of the leg work and fills out the papers as the former is a flunked out from the police academy canine. As always Bernie is broke so he takes on despicable divorce cases to pay his alimony and child support debts.
In Bernie’s neighborhood, neighbor Cynthia Chambliss hires him to find her missing fifteen year old daughter Madison who is eight hours late. When Madison returns home, Bernie feels her story is a fake, but his involvement is over. Soon afterward, Cynthia rehires him as Madison is gone all night. Chet on a surveillance mission at night notices a stranger sitting in a parked car; the perp fits the description a witness provided of someone who was seen speaking to Madison. However, the thug notices Chet and dog-naps him tossing the canine into the trunk of his vehicle and takes him to Mr. Gulagov. For a nanosecond he sees Madison in the window of a farmhouse. Later he escapes, but is picked up by a biker who dumps him at the pound. Bernie’s pal Suzie brings Chet home to a relieved and delighted Bernie even as he is concerned that Madison’s father wants him removed from the case. A picture of Madison in Vegas and a call insisting she will be home safe and sound soon persuades Cynthia to fire Bernie; but he believes otherwise and with Chet’s lead follows the path they took the canine on.
Mindful of J.F. Englert’s A DOG ABOUT TOWN series, canine lovers and surprisingly hard boiled detective fans are going to fully relish this offbeat crime caper told by the Noir perspective of Chet. Unlike his partner wallowing in the piss past, Chet takes life one bite at a time as he only lives for the present. His amusing yet kick butt commentary makes for a fabulous private investigative tale starring a miserable human and his smarter partner.