Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gone to the Dogs (Dog On It)

No, the project hasn't started to fall apart already, I just started reading my first selection: Dog On It. I figured my first book selection might as well also be my most recent purchase. A week or so before I first decided I wanted to undertake this project I ran across 'Dog On It' at a small flea market for $1. You really can't beat that for a book save for maybe a garage sale so I snatched it up. My first encounter with 'Dog On It', however, was not on a sun-bleached table at a flea market but several years ago in Santa Rosa California. For those of you who frequent book stores you may remember this title; I remember it being featured prominently in the Barnes and Noble at the time.

The story itself is an interesting take on the familiar detective style, and is told from the point of view of the detective's dog, which is probably why the premise stuck with me all these years. Chet, a former K-9 unit police dog, serves as the furry protagonist and accompanies Bernie, the actual detective almost everywhere in the story. It's a sound premise that I look forward to seeing how it pans out. If I recall correctly the author's name is Spencer Quinn.

Thus far I am just over a 100 pages in and I find myself torn between believing whether the author expertly captured the wild attention of man's best friend or that the story is simply a product of internet-generation break-neck pacing. Chet makes for a great light-hearted character but his constantly shifting attention and tendency to gloss over details sometimes bugs me and, worse, seems to spill over into the story-telling as well. The pacing of the story is also extremely fast, to the point that it is sometimes immersion-breaking. At around a hundred pages Chet's escapades have already covered more action than some other novels do throughout a whole story. If I didn't have the book in hand as a constant reminder I'd be tempted to think I was nearing the end already.

Even with the quick pace Spencer Quinn still does a good job with evoking emotion in many of the scenes. I think Chet being a dog goes a long way in making you feel for him in many situations though. For myself at least I find myself feeling sorry or worrying for Chet simply because of his lack of understanding. Were it a person in some of the same situations I don't think I would feel quite as strongly. And as for characters outside of Chet, well, certain ones such as Bernie, the detective, and Susan, a reporter, are quite interesting and I want to know more about them. Others such as the villains introduced thus far are rather, well, cliched and one-sided.

I'd like to see Chet, Bernie, and Susan develop as characters as the story progresses. While I have high hopes for Bernie and Susan I also have my doubts for Chet. Chet is a fairly simple character, and the way his thought processes play out on the page I'm not really expecting any startling revelations in character before the end of the story. To be honest I'm not really expecting much in the way of personal history either as most of the intrigue surrounds Bernie rather than Chet himself. Chet strikes me as more of the stereotypical hero- strong, confident, determined, and ultimately the victor. I don't find myself wondering if he will succeed so much as wondering how he will succeed. Then again, I could be surprised. After all, I'm only a hundred pages in. More to follow.

As a final note, I'm starting to think that I might post an update every hundred pages for each book that I read. At first I figured I'd just make a post whenever I had the time but that might turn out rather inconsistent. I haven't decided either way yet, but requiring at least a hundred pages between each post will at least prevent me from going overboard. So yeah, thinking a hundred page minimum might be a good rule of thumb to start out with.

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