I have an obsession with dogs. I love them. Anything dog related and it is an ironclad certainty that I will be on it quicker than my Jack Russel (pictured above) on cheese. This dog obsession, naturally, also manifests itself into my reading habits, and I have read countless books documenting famous hero dogs, historical military dogs, or fictional dogs that change the lives of the characters exist with. What I had never read before was a book about a Golden Retriever Dog Detective, using his canine instinct and animal friends to help his owner, police office Rose Sidebottom, solve the case.
Now, you might mistake this book for having a target audience of young children, and whilst Monty and his friends do get up to various child friendly escapades, overall this book is NOT something I would be rushing to show the kids. In fact, the books premise is that Monty’s owner has been stabbed to death in strange circumstances, and Monty is determined to solve the crime and catch the brutal killer, something Monty’s new owner, Sidebottom, is just as eager to do, proving her worth not only to herself, but also to her entire workforce.
This book is written in dual narrative, meaning that we get the hilarious (if slightly ridiculous) voice of Monty, contrasting against the realistic, detective work of Sidebottom. This approach really worked well for me, as the interjections of Sidebottom’s perspective stopped Monty’s voice making the book too comedic, whilst Sidebottom’s voice gave an interesting insight into the work and pressures a female officer must face. Additionally, of course, Sidebottom’s perspective allows for the killer to be ‘legally’ caught, as something tells me a Retriever handcuffing and arresting a killer would not hold up in a court of law, much to my dismay.
The character of Monty is hilarious! You can really tell he has been written by someone with a burning passion for dogs, and his strong personality and doggie thoughts are sure to be enjoyable for everyone, but especially for dog owners. For example, Monty tells us how he sniffs a door post to:
‘. . . pick up an old wee-mail – that’s the doggie equivalent of an email. It’s a message from a slightly deluded Dachshund called Legless who believes she is named after the elf in The Lord of the Rings because of her exceptional speed. On those little legs? Somehow, I don’t think so.’ p. 5
Whilst reading this book I was constantly imaging this happening on the screen, and I would be this first to advocate this to be made into a film.
Due to it faced paced nature, it’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much of the plot away. What I will say is that if you are looking for a quick, enjoyable read, are a lover of dogs (or in fact animals in general), and enjoy crime and detective novels, then this book will be right up your alley. Whilst in may not be winning any grand literary prizes soon, and the crime plot of this novel is not necessarily hugely advanced or detailed, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read. I mean, it’s a dog who’s a detective. A DOG DETECTIVE. What more could you really want? (Yes, that is rhetorical.)
Publisher: Avon (an imprint of HarperCollins)