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As sidekicks, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 have nothing on Chet and Bernie. This charming detective duo make their debut in Dog On It, the first volume in Spencer Quinn's new mystery series. The fast-paced and funny tale is narrated by the inimitable Chet, Bernie's best friend and canine partner, whose personality and preferences are never in doubt: "I liked to sleep at the foot of Bernie's bed, but my favorite napping spot was in the breakfast nook, under the table with my back against the wall, all cool and shady, plus there was often good snacking around Bernie's chair."
Bernie's enterprise, the Little Detective Agency, limps along, waiting for the next job to arrive. While Chet freely admits that he doesn't always understand the humans around him, the mutt who failed to graduate from the police academy quickly establishes that he's got a nose made for sniffing out trouble -- as well as the tasty morsel.
When the story begins, Chet and Bernie are settled into the companionable routine they established when Bernie got divorced and lost custody of his son. Riding shotgun for stakeouts in Bernie's beat-up convertible (and snarfing up doughnuts and beef jerky) is the perfect life for Chet, though he knows Bernie's worried about cash flow.
But their luck is about to change. During a nighttime stroll through the neighborhood -- an older enclave in the southwestern desert that Bernie fears will soon be eclipsed by new development -- the pair encounter a panicked neighbor, Cynthia Chambliss. Waving a wad of bills, she beseeches Bernie to find her daughter, Madison, a 15-year-old who has been missing for several hours.
Bernie heeds the call of cash and the urgency of parental concern, but Madison soon returns home on her own, only to disappear again in short order -- this time for several days. Cynthia frantically rehires Bernie, but her ex, Damon Keefer, refuses to cooperate, insisting that Bernie be taken off the investigation. Nevertheless, intrigued by the young girl's apparent connections to a group of Russian thugs, Bernie and Chet follow a trail of clues that leads them into more danger than they'd bargained for.
As Chet and Bernie race across the desert toward Las Vegas in their sandblasted Porsche, Quinn's narrative unfolds with mounting suspense. At every stage of their journey, readers will warm to Chet's loyalty and courage -- to say nothing of his delightfully doggy digressions -- and be captivated by Spencer Quinn's deft blend of humor and thrills in this enormously entertaining tale, bound to be the first of many adventures.
About the Author
The pseudonymous Spencer Quinn lives with his dog, Audrey, in Cape Cod, where he is hard at work on the next Chet and Bernie adventure.
From Our Booksellers
There is nothing like seeing the world from a dog's point of view.
--Kat Marchand, Ellicott City, MD
Chet's sweetness, honesty, and spot-on assessment of the idiosyncrasies of human behavior won me over. Dog On It was not only unputdownable, it was stay-up-all-night-reading-but-save-the-last-few-chapters-for-the-next-day-because-you-don't-want-it-to-be-over good.
--Angela Corpus, Washington, DC
In his character Chet, Spencer Quinn has created a 21st-century Lassie, with a heart of gold, a sense of humor, and a mind of his own.
--Patricia Sanders, Towson, MD
Hilarious and refreshing. I haven't giggled this much while reading since I first discovered My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I look forward to reading more of Chet's adventures!
--Elayne Carringer, Devon, PA
From Writers and Reviewers
Spencer Quinn speaks two languages -- suspense and dog -- fluently. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, and in a few places terrifying. My sincere advice to you is to rush to your nearest bookstore and put your paws on this enchanting one-of-a-kind novel.
I love this book. I devoured it in one night. It is like Philip Marlowe working for Mma Ramotswe from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency spun out by Charlotte on her beautiful web.
Sit and stay! You're going to love Dog On It as much as I did, because it confirms what every dog fan has long suspected -- that our dogs are not only more fun than we are, they're smarter!
Set in the Valley of an unnamed Western state, Quinn's winning debut introduces one smart canine detective and his partner, PI Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency, who's pretty quick on the uptake himself. Chet, a "lively mongrel" with one white ear and one black ear, serves as the book's narrator, communicating with Bert via doggy methods that verge on the telepathic ("I wagged my tail, that quick one-two wag meaning yes, not the over-the-top one that wags itself and can mean lots of things"). Wealthy divorcée Cynthia Chambliss hires Bernie, a former cop, to find her missing 15-year-old daughter, Madison, whose father is a real estate developer who smells suspiciously of cat. (Chet's keen sense of smell comes in handy.) When Madison reappears and disappears again, her dad says she's just a runaway, though Bernie thinks otherwise. Chet must use all his superdog tricks to extricate Bernie from a mighty tight fix in a climax that fans of classic mysteries are sure to appreciate. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
At last, a dog lover's mystery that portrays dogs as they really are. Chet, the canine narrator, forgets he isn't supposed to bark. He doesn't remember the choker chain is around his neck. He wonders what the noise is when he finds himself growling and questions where the breeze is coming from when his tail is wagging. Although ideas may not remain in his head for long, his loyalty to and love for his owner, Bernie, a divorced, financially strapped PI, are forever in his heart. A teenage girl, Madison, goes missing and might have been kidnapped, and Bernie takes the case. Bernie, Chet, and Suzie, a newspaper investigative reporter, follow the clues to an abandoned ghost town and mine. Quinn's characters are endearing, and his narrative is intriguing, fast-moving, and well written. Even cat lovers will find it entertaining. This first in a projected series by newcomer Quinn is highly recommended.
A hard-bitten private eye and his loyal pooch refuse to give up on a tricky case. Short on cash, Bernie Little, in his debut appearance, hesitates to take on the case of a missing teen. When Madison Chambliss turns up, Bernie doesn't buy her story, but it doesn't matter; he's off the case. One of his hated divorce assignments, however, looks much more promising when Bernie develops a crush on reporter Suzie Sanchez, who joins him and his dog Chet on a stakeout. After Madison disappears a second time, Chet and Bernie follow her trail. Soon they fall victim to some nasty attacks. Madison's father, a developer in major financial trouble, may be involved with the Russian mafia. Was Madison kidnapped to put pressure on him? When Chet is dognapped and spirited away, he sees Madison held prisoner. Chet escapes, only to end up at a shelter where he's marked for death until Suzie, who luckily happens to be writing a story on shelters, rescues him. Unfortunately, he can't tell Bernie what he saw. The police think Madison has run away, but Bernie, who has a hunch she's in trouble, refuses to let go even when he's fired. The invaluable Chet has to pull him out of trouble repeatedly before the case is solved. Stalwart, often mischievous narrator Chet's amusing, perceptive canine take on the human characters should appeal to hard-boiled fans and canine fanciers alike. Agent: Molly Friedrich/Friedrich Agency
"Nothing short of masterful.... Sequels are a given, and a must. " -- Los Angeles Times
"A winning debut...that fans of classic mysteries are sure to appreciate." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Stalwart, often mischevious narrator Chet's amusing, perceptive canine take on [the novel's] human characters should appeal to hard-boiled fans and canine fanciers alike." -- Kirkus Reviews
"[Dog On It] will delight dog-loving mystery readers, but the book is also an excellent PI tale, dogs aside....A great sleuth and always upbeat, Chet may well be one of the most appealing new detectives on the block, but Bernie us a close runner-up. Excellent and fully fleshed primary and secondary characters, a consistently doggy view of the world, and a sprightly pace make this a not-to-be-missed debut. Essential for all mystery collections and for dog lovers everywhere." -- Booklist (starred review)
"At last, a dog lover's mystery that portrays dogs as they really are....Quinn's characters are endearing, and his narrative is intriguing, fast-moving, and well written. Even cat lovers will find it entertaining. [Dog On It] is highly recommend." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"[Dog On It] features the most winning narrator I've come across in a long time...[and] manages to ratchet up some real suspense." -- Christian Science Monitor
"I'm not a dog fancier, but I had a great time reading this book....Chet is a hoot -- or should I say a howl." -- Boston Globe