Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: In Dog We Trust (golden retriever, murder)

In Dog We Trust, by Neil Plakcy (CreateSpace, 2010, 322 pages, $10.99)

I read a lot of books. I have to. I’m a book reviewer and every once in a while I find myself reading a self-published book. Most of them are not worth the paper they are printed on, primarily because they have not been edited (and this has a few typos). 

However, if the book is one in a series, chances are better that it is a good book because the author has more experience and because his or her writing has received some comments. (This is the first in a series of six, so far.)

I also pay attention to who the author is – if an English professor, I can generally assume it is well written.  (The author has an MFA.)

If it has a reader’s guide, great!

And if it has received (or if the author has won) a legitimate award like the DWAA (Dog Writer’s Association of America) or a Pulitzer or Newbery, it is sure to be good.

In Dog We Trust is self-published but written by an MFA (Master of Fine Arts)(who has also written numerous other series) and is the first in a series of six books.

I loved it!

If you like the Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn or the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt with a golden retriever, you will love In Dog We Trust! Rochester the golden finds clues but doesn’t talk like Chet does, so if you favor real dogs, In Dog We Trust is for you.

It’s a fast read and has a protagonist you can really identify with: a middle-aged divorced freelancer adjunct college English instructor, even if he is an ex-con (you may not identify with that, though, but Neil Plakcy puts you in his shoes and they fitl so well you might think Plakcy is an ex-con himself! [He isn’t.])

Steve Levitan becomes a dog person when he temporarily takes in his newly-murdered next-door neighbor’s dog and, in this book, the dog really is part of the story. Not only does Rochester find clues to two crimes and tie them together but the author realistically details the daily life of a dog up to and including poop-walks at 11 pm.

The mystery begins smack dab in the beginning, perhaps a bit early for some folk, and gradually mounts with plenty of clues so that you may figure it all out. If so, your enjoyment in this story will not be diminished because the characters are so real and likable. In Dog would be an excellent beach read or plane read. I have a trip to a conference coming up: jus right for the second in the series.

But, . . .

I read the electronic version on my Mac and the left- and right-justification nearly murdered me, as well as having to continually change the size of the print (font) which took entirely too long.  After I finished it, and too quickly, I received the pdf version - much easier to read. Since this is only the second e-book I have read, the lack of page numbers and a table of contents also drove me crazy.

However, . . .

In Dog We Trust was good enough to read in one day!

A Truly Fun Crime Mystery, Two in One!

I am so looking forward to the rest of the six in the series! (They have more interesting covers!) 

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