Hey guys 🙂 Long time no see! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s Eve ❤ ❤ Do you feel ready for 2018? I know I am!
Fun fact: 2018 is the Chinese year of the Dog! So being the cheesy person that I am, I decided my first review of the year would be a book about dogs! Or a dog, in particular. And his human companion. Going on adventures to help solve crimes.
Alright, I’ll show myself out…
- Title: Dog On It (A Chet and Bernie Mystery #1)
- Author: Spencer Quinn
- Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
- Publication Date: January 11th, 2010
- Duration: 9:75 hours
Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. But not everything is as it seems and both will find themselves in a whole lot more trouble than they bargained for…
I really wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. I picked it up on a whim, looking for books about dogs, and thought “Why not? I haven’t read this type of story in a while and I do enjoy detective stories”. So I started listening to it and almost instantly fell in love. Needless to say, the new year is already looking up!
This book was absolutely delightful, in every sense of the word.
Chet is one of those characters/narrators that simply melt your heart. He’s the epitome of the saying “we don’t deserve dogs” and truly, we don’t. He is so charismatic, charming, funny, sweet, and with that childish innocence that constantly puzzles our cynical human minds… I wouldn’t be able to say a bad thing about him. It would be as awful as stepping on a dog’s tail by accident.
There was not a single chapter where I wouldn’t smile at Chet’s antics. I think the author captured this dog’s essence perfectly and what went on in his head. Oftentimes, animals in books/movies are portrayed as these almost supernatural beings with an above average intelligence (usually even superior to their human counterparts), able to solve every problem in an instant. Which sounds pretty awesome on paper but doesn’t really look too authentic. Now don’t get me wrong: I think dogs are extremely smart. But even they have their limits.
Quinn didn’t go down that path, though. He knew exactly how a dog would behave and think in each situation and didn’t try to embellish it in any way. It was hilarious to follow Chet’s thought process throughout the story; he has the shortest attention span on Earth and is such an adorkable muppet I couldn’t stop laughing. His loyalty and determination knew no bounds and I could barely take it when something wrong happened and he found himself in danger. Very anxious-inducing.
Bernie, his owner and partner, was a very likable character as well. Tough, ruff, but with an extremely big heart, he and Chet made the perfect team. He definitely took a backseat and allowed Chet to shine in every scene, which I didn’t mind at all (actually preferred) but it was hard not to sympathize with him and want his life to turn around. Susie was an interesting addition, as was Bernie’s son; two relationships that really complemented the old detective’s seemingly uneventful life. It made me quite sad to witness his fragility when it came to romance and parenthood, though they really added to his character.
The plot was interesting and a nice mystery to keep one on their toes. I liked how the author managed to keep it realistic despite the subject manner, and respect the reader enough not to presume they wouldn’t be smart enough to figure it out. So he added layers and diversified as much as possible.
Finally, I absolutely loved the audiobook narrator, Jim Frangione. He was the perfect voice for Chet and Bernie and even made the female voices sound great. I loved the accents he created and how easily he switched between characters without missing a beat. He captured all of the moods and all of the character quirks masterfully and it was a pleasure listening to him. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of his work.
The pacing was something I struggled with, at one point. Sometimes it would be lightning-fast and full of adventure, and then fizzle out completely into something akin to boring. Now, I know there can’t be action in every single scene, but the way the story kept stepping on the gas pedal, almost reaching some sort of climax, and then completely stopping kind of bothered me.
I get that every mystery is different and the fact that it wasn’t full-on excitement all the time, mixing in some family drama, romance and everyday life, made it realistic. Which I appreciated. But I still couldn’t quite help feeling disgruntled at times.
Surprisingly, everything else was so on point and so entertaining, that I really didn’t mind the pace’s inconsistency or whether the plot was dense enough. They ended up being such small reasons for enjoying this book, they became almost obsolete.
I’ll probably never be able to find anyone who dislikes this book. And if they exist, they are monsters. Plain and simple. How could you not love this? Chet and Bernie? Pals forever? Even little Charlie and his “Chet the Jet!” interjections will make you smile.
If you love dogs, you’ll be completely taken by the main character who is such a sweetheart he makes you want to reach inside the page to pet him. All the other characters were great too, no doubt about it, but it’s Chet who really takes the spotlight.
His narration was incredibly strong and realistic, and made the book work. He was adoringly funny and such an interesting and different perspective from what I’m used to. The mystery aspect in this was solid, with some cool twists to really keep us guessing, but if you’re going in with the sole purpose of following the clues along and finding out what happens in the end, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
This is one of those books where it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. It’s its characters and the relationships between them that really bring it to life and keep you interested. It’s the fact that you care about the heroes, and want to see them pull through. It’s their endearing personalities and how they deal with the problems in their lives. So even though I enjoyed tagging along for the ride, I wouldn’t have cared less had my travel companions been anything short of awesome.
This is number one in the series and I’m definitely going to continue it. I recommend you do the same if you’re like me and love dogs, great humor and a lovely tale of friendship!
Thank you so much for reading and until next time!
How was your New Year’s? Have you started reading anything yet? Participating in any reading challenges?
Did you enjoy this review? Leave me your comments below! ｡^‿^ ｡