One Good Dog: A Novel

One Good Dog: A Novel

by Susan Wilson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429959308
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 59,520
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Susan Wilson is the bestselling author of books including Cameo Lake and Beauty, a modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," which was made into a CBS-TV movie. She lives on Martha's Vineyard.

Susan Wilson is the bestselling author of books including One Good Dog, Cameo Lake and Beauty, a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which was made into a CBS-TV movie. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
“Sophie.” Adam March doesn’t look up from the rectangle of paper in his hand. His tone is, as always, even, and no louder than it should be to reach across his executive-size office, through the open mahogany door, and to the ears of his latest personal assistant. On the pink rectangle of a “While You Were Out” memo slip, in Sophie’s preferred lilac-colored ink and written in her loopy handwriting, are three simple words that make no sense to Adam March. Your sister called. Not possible. Time and date of call: yesterday afternoon, while he was enduring what he hoped was the last of the meetings he was going to have to hold before today’s main event. A meeting in which he’d given a combination pep talk and take-no-prisoners mandate to his handpicked team.
Adam flips the pink note back and forth against the knuckles of his left hand. This is a mistake. Sophie has made a mistake. Not her first. Lately he’s been noticing these little slips of judgment, of carelessness, of Sophie’s slightly less than deferential attitude. As if she’s not a subordinate, but a peer. Too many late nights when the jacket comes off, the tie is loosened, and the sleeves are rolled up. Too many weary hours leaning over her as she works on her computer, struggling to make every document perfect. She’s made a common mistake: Being in the trenches together doesn’t mean that they are friends, that he will overlook sloppiness.
Adam closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. The most important day of his career and it’s already started out badly.
His alarm hadn’t gone off. Which meant he hadn’t had time for his run around the gravel jogging paths of his gated neighborhood, which meant he had lost that thirty minutes of “me time” he needed so desperately before a day filled with meetings, conference calls, at least one confrontation with middle management, and, at the end of the day, a dinner party his wife, Sterling, had planned in order to befriend the newest neighbors, the Van Arlens, before someone else got them. The Van Arlens, it was believed, had connections to the best people. People who were useful to anyone interested in social advancement and really good schools for their children. Which basically summed up Sterling.
Adam had no objection to a get-to-know-you dinner; he just preferred not to have them on the same day as so much else was going on in his life. But then, if they waited until he had a slow day, they’d still be living in Natick and their daughter wouldn’t be enjoying the connections that would serve her for the rest of her life. It was hard work, laying the groundwork for social/business/education/recreational pathways for a teenage daughter who greeted him with ill-disguised sullenness when he made the effort to show up for one or another of her endless sports in time for the final score.
When Adam thought about having kids, he’d pictured himself the Ward Cleaver of his family—wise, loving, adored. Ariel hadn’t been wryly mischievous like Beaver, or devoted like Wally. Adam hadn’t heard an understandable phrase out of her mouth in years, every mumble directed at the table, or muttered behind her long blond hair. The only time he saw her face was when he attended her horse shows, when her hair was scraped back and under her velvet-covered helmet. But then she blended in with the other girls, all pink cheeks and tight breeches and blue coats. Sometimes he rooted for the wrong girl/horse combination. To say nothing of the fact that all the horses looked alike, too. To Adam, horse shows were a tortuous and endless replication of the same blue coat, black helmet, brown horse racing around the course, and then the girl crying when a rail was knocked or a time fault incurred or because the horse was crazy, lazy, lame, or just plain stupid.
Except for Ariel’s drive to become some kind of horse-jumping champion, a goal at which Adam had thrown great handfuls of money, she was an enigma to him. Yet this is why he worked so hard. This and Sterling’s four-carat dinner ring and her personal fitness gurus, one at each of the three homes they owned—Sylvan Fields, Wellington, Florida, and Martha’s Vineyard—the support of an increasingly large staff and their illegal cousins; and the cadre of financial managers to make sure he didn’t pay more taxes than he should. They, unlike most of the rest of the people he employed, were very, very good.
At age forty-six, Adam March had found himself, on this overcast morning, pressing his forehead against the bathroom mirror and wishing he didn’t have to go to work. Not only had his alarm failed him but the housekeeper had failed—again—to have the made-to-order granola he needed. Nowhere in the giant pantry could he put his hands on the imported cereal he preferred. All he could find was the crap Ariel ate. With a childhood fed on cornflakes, now he could afford the best in breakfast food, so was it too much to ask that he find his granola when he wanted it? The sheer cost of importing it from Norway had to be justified by his eating it every day. But beyond that, without it, his bowels wouldn’t function, and if that system also failed him, Adam knew that he was in danger of really losing his temper, and it might be that this housekeeper would be the biggest loser once he was done with her. Which, of course, he couldn’t even consider until after this dinner party. To fire the stupid bitch today would mean that Sterling’s ire would overshadow his, until his temper and his bowels would shrink to a pipsqueak size.
Sterling, blond, whippet-thin, and sleeping the peaceful sleep of the person in charge of everything, was a force to be reckoned with, and Adam wasn’t about to unleash that power on a day so patently important to her. Not for her own sake, she so often said, but for his sake. His advancement, their only child’s advancement. It was social warfare out there, and Sterling provided the leadership of a general over her troops. “We have to be seen; we have to support the right charities.” Their name even appeared as supporters on a PBS documentary series. “We need to attend the right concerts. If you intend to succeed, that’s the price you have to pay.” That was but one of Sterling’s cheerleading themes. Some might say that Adam March had already succeeded. What more could he want? Some men might want strings of letters following their names, others the glory that came from leadership in the arts, the sciences, the political arena. Adam lusted after three letters: C E O. Chief Executive Officer. Such an achievement was no longer dependent on moving up in the ranks of promotions and cultivating years in the same company. It was more of a hopscotch of leaps across and over, one foot down, now two, from corporation to corporation, allowing himself to be seduced away from one major executive role to another. Manager, Vice President of Acquisitions or Division. A rise that came with a move to a bigger house in a better—read: more exclusive—neighborhood, another vacation home where he’d spend most of his time on his phone, too afraid to be out of touch for more than the time it took to use the bathroom, more BlackBerrys. More expense. Some days Adam felt like he didn’t have two coins to rub together. All of his salary and bonuses seemed to be absorbed into this machine of ambition. Still, the ripe red cherry of the top post was just out of reach. But not for long. After today, Adam’s elevation to the ultimate spot on the ladder at Dynamic Industries would be secure. President and CEO.
But this morning, all Adam had wanted for himself was a bowl of Norwegian granola and a fucking run through the contrived landscape of his most recent gated neighborhood. He wanted his “me time,” thirty minutes to call his own, leaving the Bluetooth behind, keeping his head down and his eyes only on the path so that he didn’t have to wave at neighbors or their help. His best ideas often came to him during that thirty minutes.
There was only one thing stopping Adam from just taking his run and going into work a bit late. He held himself and his staff to a rigorous standard of punctuality. Adam March entered his office at precisely seven-thirty every day. Not one minute before or after. It was a source of incredible satisfaction to him that people could set their watches by him. Adam believed that timeliness was an art and a science. Despite the ten-mile commute and all the variables of traffic, Adam arrived on time. And woe betide the staffer in his group who wasn’t there to greet him. Adam required simple things of people, the sine qua non of his expectation: Be on time. The groups that wandered into the building here and there, untaxed by punctuality, smacked of a basic sloppiness he would not allow in his.
Adam stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, looking at an attractively craggy face, his morning shadow of dark beard firming up a jaw that had only just begun to soften. He stared into his own cold brown eyes, eyes that had earned him the nickname, “Dead Eye.” A nickname he didn’t find offensive, but grudgingly affectionate. A face with gravitas. A face suited to the take-no-prisoners deal maker he had become.
If there was a shadow of an angry, grizzled man in the mirror, Adam swept it away with a brushful of French milled shaving soap.
Adam runs a hand down his silk tie, tucks the strange note into his jacket pocket. Sophie is still AWOL. He stares at her empty chair and, for the first time in many years, wonders about his sister.
Sophie’s armless secretary’s chair is cocked at an angle, as if its occupant weighs more on one side. Her computer screen with the Microsoft logo drifting around speaks of her having been on the computer opening up the e-mails that she will either forward to him or to his underlings or delete as unworthy. It isn’t enough that she’s in the building. Sophie needs to be at her desk when he arrives.
Adam lays the offending piece of memo paper down and opens up his old-fashioned top-loading briefcase. He can’t remember what he’s looking for. There she is, slinking back to her desk with a giant paper coffee cup in one hand, a pastry in the other. Even from deep in his office, Adam can see that she has a flake of icing on her chin. Now Sophie really is testing him. Instead of dropping everything and grabbing her notebook, she leans over her computer keyboard and taps the mouse. She is checking her e-mail. On his time. Outrageous. Sophie knows this is an important day. What can be more important to her than getting her marching orders from him? He’s really getting tired of her insubordination.
Your sister called.
Excerpted from One Good Dog by Susan Wilson.
Copyright  2010 by Susan Wilson.
Published in March 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Reading Group Guide

About the Book
Adam March is a self-made "Master of the Universe." He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting—until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called. What no one knows is that Adam's sister has been missing for decades. That she represents the excruciatingly painful past he has left behind. And that her absence has secretly tormented him all these years. When his assistant brushes off his request for an explanation in favor of her more pressing personal call, Adam loses it. And all hell breaks loose.

Adam is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. He loses the life he's worked so hard to achieve. He doesn't believe it is possible to sink any lower when he is assigned to work in a soup kitchen as a form of community service. But unbeknownst to Adam, this is where his life will intersect with Chance.
Chance is a mixed breed Pit Bull. He's been born and raised to fight and seldom leaves the dirty basement where he is kept between fights. But Chance is not a victim or a monster. It is Chance's unique spirit that helps him escape and puts him in the path of Adam.

What transpires is the story of one man, one dog, and how they save each other—in ways they never could have expected.

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One Good Dog 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 620 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a lot and my all time favorite book is The Art of Racing in the Rain. All other books I've read since then have not come close to the feelings, emotions, heart-wrenching as well as happy, that I experienced with The Art of Racing in the Rain.....UNTIL.....I read One Good Dog. This is an excellent book. Certain chapters are told by a man and the other chapters are told by a dog. And both man and dog grow so much during the course of their story. This is an amazing and excellent, excellent book. Do yourself a favor and read this one! It has become a very close 2nd favorite out of all the books I've loved.
Bookworm1279 More than 1 year ago
ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson was a great read one that really brought tears to my eyes. Two souls who have become lost now have to find their way back. They find one another and together they go threw ups and downs testing each other but in the end find that they have found their home where they belong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got three quarters of the way through this book intending to give it a 4 star rating. It is difficult to read about the dog fighting world and after I struggled to get past the details in the beginning of the book, it comes up again towards the end. You are lead to believe that this poor dog will never encounter the extreme cruelty again, until the unexpected, disturbing twist at the end of the book. I would have never read this book if I had any idea that this poor dog would have to go through it twice! What makes it even harder to read this is that he is describing it! This is so upsetting & I wish I had seen a review that warned me about how upsetting this would be to read. I can't understand why this got such high ratings. I would have never read it and I find it disturbing that this author could put such graphic detail into this story. It was so sad that this dog had to endure the cruelty of dog fighting most of his life. How can you write about him having to go through it again at the end of the book? Way to sad & disturbing for me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story itself was very good. However, I feel the dog fighting parts were much too graphic. I am a sensitive dog lover, and while I knew this was a story about dog fighting, I had not realized the scenes would be so graphic and disturbing. I honestly was very upset. Had I known, I certainly WOULD NOT have read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you loved "The Art of Racing In The Rain" you will love "One Good Dog"! If you have ever loved a dog, you will love "One Good Dog"! If you have ever been loved by a dog, you will love "One Good Dog"! "One Good Dog" by Susan Wilson is one good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it was on sale. I am so glad I did. This book is written in the 1st person and animal. This is a great voice for pit bulls and any animal lover should be sure to add this book to their favorite list. If you have a nook I think I can share.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It promotes a value system, and gives hope for human change. Love dogs and dog stories, this is no exception.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so true, a dog well be with you no matter what happens in your life and you will love your dog with uncondtional love who stays by your side. If you lose your dog one way or another, it leaves a huge empty space in your heart, life and soul. Every dog owner should read this book, not only to know the love that a dog can give, but the love you can give a dog that has been so "hurt" by the world.
Wookie More than 1 year ago
Reminiscent in a way of The Art of Racing in the Rain, but with its own distinct voice and message, One Good Dog is One Great Read. Its about redemption and loyalty, self-awareness and devotion, responsibility and commitment, and all those other sappy themes you could think of, but expressed with a sincere and heartfelt eloquence that will touch your very soul. If this is your cup of tea (or bowl of kibbles), I would also recommend anything by Spencer Quinn (the Chet and Bernie series) or David Rosenfelt (Andy Carpenter and Tara). While both of those are somewhat more lighthearted, they are clear evidence that going to the dogs is not such a bad thing afterall.
CJTICH More than 1 year ago
I believe this book should be required reading by anyone with any influence over the enforcement of harsh penalties for anyone associated with dogfighting. That said, I am an active member of a dog rescue organization and still found this book taught me quite a bit. Excellent all the way across the board.
mrsbeary More than 1 year ago
This book intrigued me, since I am a dog mom of 3 four-footed friends, and the sample sounded interesting. It started a bit quirky, but I soon got into the rhythm of the book..touching, nerve-wracking, but not predictable.. couldn't put down until I finished it...a godd read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book held my interest throughout. Don't want to reveal ending, but it kept me turning pages and losing sleep during many chapters to find out just what was going to happen next. It wouldn't be hard to relate to the main human in the story as to how we become so wrapped up in ourselves, work, etc. that we can't see how far detached we have become from the real world. The dog just reinforced my belief that pit bulls learn their bad behaviour from bad human beings. Treated with love and affection they are "Good Dogs." All in all, this is a book that I will keep in my library and read many more times.
blh3 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read for dog lovers! Even if you aren't an animal lover you'll really enjoyed this book. Certainly a tear jerker - sad and happy tears. A real testimony to how God blesses us through His creatures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am really enjoying the reading of this book and will recommend it to all of my dog loving friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. This writer has an easy writing style and tells a good story. I loved the parallel stories of the man and the dog. I loved hearing the story in two voices: human and dog. A great book for all dog lovers, even if you are not a fan of pit bulls. It would be nice if the dogs really were thinking the things that the author made up. I feel bad for those pit bull dogs, people can be so mean.....I am not going to give the story away, but you should read it as you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, many thanks to the rude plot spoilers that told the gist of the book AND revealed the ending. Here is yet another book to add to the wanted to read but wont because plot spoilers ruined it pile! Cone on, bn, are you ever going to do anything to stop these plot spoilers?????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A highly enjoyable read that offers insight into the workings of our best friends. Although heartbreaking at times, it shows the power of determination & ultimately, the power of love to triumph over evil. I can imagine my own dogs thinking some of Chance's thoughts...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good read and hooked me from the start. Not a big fan of emotional upheaval but so grateful for the rollercoaster, if you will, of the emotions this evoked. Pay attention as there are many levels of circumstances that make you think about your own relationships, make you grateful for so many things you forget to think about and also remind you to stay in the moment. I admit to having a slightly irrational fear of pit bulls so this makes me re-evaluate me behavior and thought pattern. I love you Chance! Hug the things you love and remember them daily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down. I can't look at my dog now and not wonder what he is thinking. The author put me inside the dog's head. Also touched on several important social issues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great story line you won't want to put the book down. Although you may read through many tears don't give up read to the end. This book is a must read for dog lovers.i
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very nicely written story with loads of self-reflection, mistakes, courage and change. I enjoyed it. Thanks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a tough book to put down. I love a book where you cry,laugh,yell, cheer, and smile, If you love dogs and know they think,get sad,get disappointed,get silly, and that they do communicate clearly, then you must read it. This has a lot of lifes lessons in it. One just needs read and think AND then LIVE them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the very best books I've ever read! It starts out a little slow but stay with is so worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved this book! The premise of this book was unlike other books in that the human was as needy of love and companionship as the dog. I cried more than once over the plight of both of the main characters. Both of them had been surrounded by people who were cruel in their own ways. The healing processes that both of them needed were addressed beautifully by Ms. Wilson. I will look for more of her books in hopes that others will be as thoughtfully written as this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a dog lover and believe that no breed is bad, just bad people you will love this book told by the humans side and the dogs side i read it in a few hours i could not put it down. I highly reccomend it