Review: Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

Publication Date: February 10, 2009

Chet is a former police academy dog, partnered with Bernie, a private detective. Together, they solve the mysteries that no one else can.

When a teenaged girl, Madison, goes missing, Chet is on the case. After all, he can judge humans better than humans can. As long as he doesn't get distracted by squirrels or cats.

Date Read: December 8, 2018

This was a recommendation from my favorite golden retriever account on social media, The Golden Ratio. They did a week-long series of recommendations for their favorite books featuring dogs, and this was the one I was most intrigued by.

I wasn't expecting for the story to be told from the dog, Chet's, point of view, but I actually really liked it. I've never read anything from a dog's POV before, but it felt very much like being in the mind of the dog. The way Chet got distracted by sounds, smells, and other people felt very accurate to how I've seen my own dogs get randomly distracted. How he judged people on their smell and appearance also felt accurate to what I knew of dogs, and I felt like I was in as realistic of a portrayal of a dog's head as anyone can really be aware of. Even things like not understanding certain words and being hungry all the time felt like it was exactly what a dog would experience.

The story was pretty straight-forward and simple, at least in this first book. I know that it's going to continue as a series, but this first one didn't particularly impress me. I'd gotten enough information to solve most of the mystery by the time we were halfway into the book, and it was mostly because of events that Chet experienced that he had to somehow communicate to his human partner, Bernie.

Despite being in the mind of a dog, I felt like the human characters were going through pretty good character development. It was a lot of stuff that went over Chet's head or things he didn't understand, but I really appreciated that I was able to see the humans grow and change over the course of the book, even if it was being told by a dog.

Something that I really enjoyed was how Chet would repeat some of the same things more than once. It felt very much like something that a dog would do out of excitement, or because they simply forgot that they'd already told you. It was cute that Chet thought something was important enough to keep repeating it, and it showed how much he cared about those things.

The book was pretty well paced for a majority of the time. I would say that it lagged a little while Bernie was trying to catch up to the things that Chet already knew, but since dogs can't talk, it was something I had to accept. Other than that, the pacing worked well for being told by a dog, and listening to the audiobook went by really easily.

I don't really remember much of how the case wrapped up, but I remember there being a pretty good amount of action. It was well done and I liked how the story ended. I was just more focused on seeing how Chet was going to deal with the changes that were slowly happening around him. I also really wanted to meet his friend from across the street, but maybe that'll be saved for another book.

Chet was such a good boy the entire time. He was so much fun to listen to, and hearing how he talked not only about himself, but about the people around him, I felt like he was a dog I could really trust. Sure, he sometimes barked more than he should have, and he might have been kicked out of the K9 training program for an incident that involved jumping, but he was still a really good boy and he solved the mystery really well.

Bernie was great too. Hearing what Chet thought of him and seeing how he was dealing with life while trying to solve the case, I had a great deal of respect for him. Sometimes I wished that he could understand Chet better, but their team worked really well and it was clear why they have a detective service together.

5 stars. It's a cute mystery in the sense that it's not intense or horrifying. I really enjoyed it and I think it's well-written. If you're looking for something easy to follow, this is a really great book to take a break with.

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