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The Dog Park Club

The Dog Park Club

3.6 26
by Cynthia Robinson

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Raymond Chandler meets David Sedaris—the first in a dynamite new cozy series that's "a lot of fun, full of unexpected depths and twists." —Josh Bazell, bestselling author of Beat the Reaper

Amy Carter is missing. And there's no one less capable of finding her than Max Bravo.

Max Bravo is a mid-rung opera singer with a diva's towering ego


Raymond Chandler meets David Sedaris—the first in a dynamite new cozy series that's "a lot of fun, full of unexpected depths and twists." —Josh Bazell, bestselling author of Beat the Reaper

Amy Carter is missing. And there's no one less capable of finding her than Max Bravo.

Max Bravo is a mid-rung opera singer with a diva's towering ego. And he doesn't do favors. Not until the day he visits a troubled friend in Berkeley and offers to walk her dog.

Max quickly discovers the local dog park. It's an odd, private little world—a preserve for neighborhood crackpots and lay-abouts, and, incidentally, their dogs.

But, the park regulars are friendly. Clubby. They even serve beer. Before long, Max can't stay away.

When one of the regulars disappears, Max's interest in the dog park turns to obsession. Amy Carter – beautiful, adored, pregnant – has vanished. The circumstances bode the worst.

What happened to Amy? The dog park club has brewed up a theory. And they mean to prove it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Robinson's fiction debut is an amusing dark comedy with charismatic characters and a story that seems ripped from the headlines but turns out to be far more interesting than the truth.” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“Compelling and readable, this offbeat debut will appeal to all lovers of dog mysteries.” —Booklist

“Drag out the dictionary, go to "S": smart, savage, slapstick--and sympathetic. The Dog Park Club is that rarest of gems, a comic tour de force that steals your heart.” —David Corbett, author of The Devil's Redhead

“Sly, witty and fun, The Dog Park Club is a pitch perfect debut--a darkly comic ensemble piece wrapped in a mystery and executed with the assuredness of a master. Robinson's opera star-cum-detective Max Bravo delivers a virtuoso performance. Bravo, indeed!” —Karen Dionne, author of Freezing Point

“Laugh out loud funny...a charming aria to complicated personal relationships and the lengths to which we'll go to keep our friends.” —Rebecca Cantrell, author of A Trace of Smoke

“Robinson writes with style and tension...I found myself trying to guess whodunit all the way to the end. ” —K.M. Soehnlein, author of The World of Normal Boys

“This is San Francisco noir at its best, sometimes chilling and often hilarious.” —Stephen Beachy, author of The Whistling Song

Publishers Weekly
Robinson's debut may disappoint those expecting a lighthearted, pet-themed cozy. Max Bravo, a wise-cracking gay opera singer, and his best friend, advertising whiz Claudia Fantini, who's heartbroken that her husband wants a divorce, find solace taking the husband's dog, Asta, to a Berkeley, Calif., dog park. There Claudia and Max hang out with a variety of fellow dog lovers, including a “hoary-headed Vietnam vet,” a “sartorially offensive” software engineer from Barcelona, and bank loan officer Amy Carter, who's pregnant. After the popular Amy vanishes and the police fail to find her, Max and company, including Max's visiting German boyfriend, investigate, staking out Amy's house because they suspect her husband has killed her. An uncertain blend of mystery, humor, and the paranormal, this first in a projected series builds to a downer of an ending. Robinson has style, but she needs to settle on a more consistent tone in the sequel. (July)

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
A Max Bravo Mystery Series , #1
Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 5.58(h) x 0.82(d)

Meet the Author

CYNTHIA ROBINSON's stories have appeared in Opium.com and the First Thrills anthology. Nominated for the Best New American Voices award, she lives in San Francisco. The Dog Park Club is her first novel.

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The Dog Park Club 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
Mid-rung opera singer Max Bravo's to-do list certainly has lots of variety, practice, practice, practice, of course. Be a babysitter/confidante to frequently hysterical best friend Claudia. Solve her marital/romantic crises, which are numerous. Solve his own romantic crises, which are not as numerous as Claudia's, but still.chat with his long-dead grandmother, Baba the gypsy. Hang out with Claudia's dog, Asta at the local dog park. And, oh, yeah, find missing dog owner, the lovely Amy, who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. In her debut novel, "The Dog Park Club", San Francisco author Cynthia Robinson gives us a wacky cast of characters who frequent the dog park along with Max and Claudia. A bunch of misfits who are not what they seem to be (one of them turns out to be a multi-millionaire, but dresses like a street person and sleeps in his van), they bond over beer and, incidentally, their love of dogs. The most normal member of the group is Amy, and when she vanishes-did I mention she's nine months pregnant?-and the husband is suspected of doing her in, they go all out to try to find the about-to-give-birth mother. But, once again, things are not what they seem to be.even the lovely Amy. Bravo, Max Bravo and Cynthia Robinson. I look forward with eager anticipation to your next adventure. Reviewed by: Susan Santangelo, Author of "Retirement can be Murder" for Suspense Magazine
BarbraGago More than 1 year ago
They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but you know that's practically impossible. I mean, it's really a matter of once you've judged something by the way it looks, can you move past it and go deeper? For me the cover of this book says kitschy and cozy, not as I found it, intelligent and unpredictable. Once in, it's hard to get out. In fact, when I wasn't reading it, I was contemplating what the characters might be thinking, as if I was as real to them as they became to me. The writing style is refreshing. And, the subtle irony and sometimes sarcastic tone makes it uniquely realistic, and a pleasure to read.
mary-qe2 More than 1 year ago
The Dog Park Club grabs you and doesn't let go. I started reading on my commute on a Thursday morning, and couldn't wait for the weekend to finish it. I read all day Saturday and couldn't put it down until the end. They only problem was I wanted to keep reading after the ending (that always happens with good books!). I found this book laugh-out-loud funny, but also full of suspense and a little scary. The lead character, Max Bravo, is hysterical and intelligent, and I want to hear more from him. All of the characters in this book are so well developed, I could imagine them exactly, from Max to the tweaker with the pit bull ( I won't give anything away, but it's a great scene). Part 2 was dark and intriguing and kept me glued to the pages. The clever, unexpected ending really caught me off guard, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I do think the title is a bit mis-leading and doesn't convey the sophisticated, black comedy style of the book. The story takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the characters reflect that city's attitudes and lifestyles. It has nothing to do with cute, charming dogs, though dogs are critical to the story, as they are the common denominator for the characters. I heard there's a 2nd Max Bravo mystery in development and I can't wait to read that one, too! He's funny quirky and has a go to hell attitude, but slso a soft spot in his heart for Claudia. i hope in the next installment, he isn't made to smoke- he's in the opera!! I BLAME THE EDITOR. the writer did quite well in her first novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pure and bone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Charles lunged forward, pawing at his companion's ears. Shea smiled at the two. <p> ((Alright.))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh Shea. I miss this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book spends minimal time in the dog park and even less time on the mystery. The only mystery is how on earth this book ever got published. I kept hoping it would get better, but unbelievably, it actually became worse.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Claudia Fantini visits her opera singer friend Max Bravo to cry on his shoulders because her husband Larry left her. When Max returns to Berkley from overseas he goes straight to her apartment where she tells him to walk her dog Asta. While walking the dog Max meets Jordi, who knows Asta from Larry walking the canine. They go to the dog park seven blocks away and Max meets a motley crew. When he returns to the apartment to drop off Asta, Max leaves a note for a sleeping Claudia encouraging her to visit the people at the dog park. When Max returns from an opera engagement, he is shocked to learn Claudia is hanging out at the dog park as she took his advice though he believes they are beneath them. Ed sleeps in his car; Gator is unemployed; Amy is pregnant though fearful of her abusive husband. When Amy fails to show up at the dog park; Max and the gang become concerned that her husband harmed or killed her. The cops investigate, but find no evidence of foul play or of Amy. .Led by Max and his visiting German boyfriend the group set up surveillance of the husband, but believe caution is critical as they think he will act like a trapped rat if confronted. Cynthia Robinson's first novel is a terrific character driven tale that looks deeply at an ensemble case who makes up The Dog Park Club. Told by Max who holds the story line together, the coming together of a mystery, camaraderie and a slice of Berkley is well written and very entertaining although the ending seems to flow detached and uneven from the deep character study that Max narrates. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago