A savory little summer read for lovers of dogs and mysteries, Dog On It is the first in a series that features a disgraced K-9 member of the police force (Chet) partnering with his equally misfit human partner (Bernie). A real romp in the arroyo, this Arizona-set mystery is saved from being over-sweet by a narrator who is very believably doggish—constantly distracted by stray thoughts, a fetching female backside and/or the smells of cooking meat. Chet’s all-too-real predicaments arise from a lack of follow-through (or an excess of dog-think); Bernie’s problems, as with all private eyes, arise from a back story that includes bad dames, a bad temper and an unerring instinct for pissing off really bad bad guys. The plot isn’t the point here so much as the idea, and it’s a great concept mystery. Dog On It is an expertly thrown Frisbee that eager, unironic readers can catch neatly in their jaws and run away with across a sparkling summer lawn. Great for mature pre-teens and fastidious grandparents to boot. Woof!
Dog On It, by Spencer Quinn (Atria Press, paperback, $15). Available at Vroman’s and other indie bookstores.