Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Fistful of Collars

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn is the fifth book in the Chet & Bernie mystery series about Chet the dog and his owner Bernie Little, a private detective. Bernie and Chet are hired by the mayor's office to keep an eye on movie star, Thad Perry, whose new movie is shooting in town and good for business, but he has a reputation for trouble. Bernie's curiosity makes him check into Thad's past which sends the pair on one of most intricate cases of their career. The case gets even more complicated when Bernie's son, Charlie, is hired as an extra for the film and actually shows a bit of talent. Bernie and Chet are quite a team, but it's Chet's narration that has made it one of my favorite series. Quinn must be part dog (that's a compliment!) because Chet feels incredibly real with his extraordinary love for Bernie and Charlie, his short attention span, and his normal doggy behavior: eating the food under car seats, acting out when family tension rises, and getting easily distracted whenever something more interesting catches his attention. Quinn changes things up a bit in this novel; Chet never gets separated from Bernie (which would eventually get old), Bernie and Susie are re-evaluating their relationship, and Bernie is forced to question his trust in an old friend and colleague. This book could easily slip into being too cutesy or a one-trick pony (I would love to hear Chet's explanation for that phrase), but Quinn adds real drama and tension. Bernie's world is a occasionally a dark one, but Chet's narration keeps it from turning too cruel, and he often humanizes the tragedy. It's going to be a long wait for another whole year til Chet & Bernie's next adventure.

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review!