Like a Dog With a Boneby Lee Charles Kelley
Returning to Maine after a blissful honeymoon in Mexico, kennel owner Jack Field and his smart and sexy bride, chief medical examiner Dr. Jamie Cutter, are ready to fulfill a promise made to a new friend they met there. The daughter of retired general Lamar MacLeary asked dog expert Jack to help her father "rewire" his wired wire-haired fox terrier, Molly, whose
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Returning to Maine after a blissful honeymoon in Mexico, kennel owner Jack Field and his smart and sexy bride, chief medical examiner Dr. Jamie Cutter, are ready to fulfill a promise made to a new friend they met there. The daughter of retired general Lamar MacLeary asked dog expert Jack to help her father "rewire" his wired wire-haired fox terrier, Molly, whose incessant digging is driving the general crazy. But Jack arrives to find Molly's most recent excavation has unearthed something nobody expected: the bones of a human hand belonging to the general's wife, who supposedly ran off to Mexico twenty years ago.
The police think the distraught World War II hero killed her in a jealous rage, but Jack and Jamie aren't so sure. And in their dogged determination to dig up the truth, the newlyweds begin unearthing hints of corporate fraud, high-level corruption, the terrifying return of a cold-blooded killer, and some buried MacLeary family skeletons that could lead to more death . . . Jack's and Jamie's included.
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Like a Dog With a Bone
We arrived at the home of General Lamar MacLeary (ret.) on a cold gray Saturday morning ten days after we'd left for Mexico. It was a big white two-story in the Federal style, with the usual low hedges, tall pines, oaks, and sugar maples scattered around.
I parked near a strip of grass that stood proxy for a curb and we got out. The trees were wet with rain though the clouds...remnants of the hurricane that had hit the Yúcatan...had begun to disperse on our drive over. A light northeast wind still zipped around, though. It danced pretty through Jamie's dark chestnut hair and flapped at the collar of my denim shirt.
We started up a stone-framed cement walk that divided a wide green lawn. A sudden brusque blast rattled the trees and shook hidden raindrops down on our heads, as if the black branches above wanted to let us know they weren't through with us yet.
I shook the rain off. "What do you want to bet that was a bad omen? And I still think I should stay in the car."
"Don't be ridiculous." She shook the rain off of her hair. "The only reason I came was to make sure you did. You're the dog trainer, remember? And since when do you believe in omens?"
"It was a joke. And what does my being a dog trainer..."
"Because this is supposed to be about the dog."
I gave her a cynical laugh.
She gave me a backhand to the belly.
"Besides," she said, "I've never watched you at one of your dog training sessions. Maybe I'll learn something."
I smiled. "That's good. Appeal to my ego."
We climbed three steps up to the wide framed wooden porch, all painteda dull white. I pressed the bell thingie and a dog started barking, a high, shrill sound that came from deep inside the house, maybe upstairs. After a while it trailed off.
"That must be Molly," I said dumbly, then we stood waiting awhile. I said, "Are you sure he's expecting us?"
"Yes. I told you, Reggie called me on my private cell at the ME's office and asked me to speak to him. So I did, and he invited us over. And he's looking forward to meeting you."
"Huh. How did Reggie get your private number?"
"Jack, I told you this already too. She got it from her brother-in-law. Her sister Connie, the one who lives in a vacuum, is married to the deputy state's attorney general."
"No kidding?" I said. "Hey, your hair looks great, all mussed by the wind and rain like that. And with your Baja tan you look like one of Gauguin's Tahitian girls."
She got out a brush and immediately began to straighten it.
"Honey, don't fix it. I just told you it looks pretty."
"Yeah, except I happen to know why you like it; it reminds you of the way I look after I've just come out of the shower and I'm naked...like the women in those paintings...and you want to fool around. But I'm about to meet a World War Two hero, not to mention former assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I don't want him thinking we just had sex in the car."
Somewhere in the middle of her line about having sex in the car, the front door opened and was suddenly filled by the figure of a white-haired man, standing ramrod straight. He was a few inches shorter than Jamie (she's five-eleven), and he was standing in a wide foyer, though in Maine they call it a mudroom. Another door, standing shut, wasn't far behind him. We could hear Molly on the other side, barking and scratching at the wood.
"It's okay," I told the general with an apologetic shrug. "I'm her husband. I can have sex with her wherever I want."
"Not around here you can't," he said with a deep, intimidating gravel that made him seem taller than he was.
He was wearing khakis, a tattersall shirt, and a brown tweed jacket. I now noticed that his hair wasn't white so much as it was the shade of pink that red-haired people develop as they age. I also noticed that his eyebrows...which actually were white, white as snow...lofted above his blues eyes as if they had a life of their own. He was clean-shaven, his clothes neatly pressed, and he didn't smell of beer, wine, or whiskey. I had to wonder why his daughter Reggie thought she needed me to take care of him.
"Don't mind our little banter," Jamie said, forming a fist beside her left thigh, near to where I stood. "We just got back from our honeymoon..."
"...in Mexico," the old man said, "I know. Which is where you met my daughter, who asked you to see me. Come in."
We went through the second door.
Molly stopped barking and began bouncing high in the air, the way terriers do. She mixed the bouncing in with a little enraptured sniffing of my jeans. (My clothes are always rife with male pheromones, thanks to Frankie and Hooch, my English setter and dogue de Bordeaux, both unneutered.) She also had fun running circles around my feet...sniff, sniff, boing, boing, sniff, sniff, circle, circle, sniff, sniff, boing, boing. . .
I had to laugh.
The general said, "Don't blame me. I'm no dog trainer. The living room's this way."
He led us slowly yet easily, with no discernible hitch in his gait, through a hall, then down some steps into a large space with a curved bay window that revealed a broad sloped lawn and, past that, the gray, wind-chopped waves at the mouth of Camden harbor. In the center of the grass, surrounded by a semicircle of stones, all painted white, stood a tall, naked flagpole. Its ropes whipped around uselessly in the wind.Like a Dog With a Bone. Copyright © by Lee Kelley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
Lee Charles Kelley is a successful New York dog trainer whose critiques of the alpha theory and operant conditioning have made him a controversial figure in the dog world. The author of five previous novels featuring Jack Field—Dogged Pursuit, 'Twas the Bite Before Christmas, To Collar a Killer, Murder Unleashed, and A Nose for Murder—Mr. Kelley lives on the island of Manhattan with a Dalmatian named Fred.
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Jack Field is an ex-cop, married to Dr. Jamie Cutter, the Chief Medical Examiner. An interesting combination when the ex-cop is also a dog trainer still attempting to solve crimes in which his wife is examining some of the victims. Sound involved? Well, it is! Retired General Lamar MacLeary has a very disobedient dog for which he needs someone to train this digging monster. When the ¿digging¿ turns out to be human bones being unearthed, Jack has a mystery on his hands and this is right up his alley. When the bones are thought to be from the General¿s dead wife, everything gets quite interesting. From this point, many characters are introduced into the book and the story, while keeping a storyline that is fairly interesting, does get bogged down due to the many involved. The general is in a coma that actually keeps him safe from those that would hurt him, or kill him. Jack and some friends, some law enforcement, and some animal handlers, take on this case and several other cases that are intertwined. I felt the story could have been a lot better without so many diversified characters trying to do too much. I love dogs and most other animals, so the animal incidents I enjoyed very much, but the story eventually ends with satisfaction. That is if the reader can remember who is who, and what they are doing, in the book. The book is readable but not one I would recommend as a top read.