Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Dog Did It

The Dog Did It: A Whodunit
by Jim Toombs
(CreateSpace / 1-478-26078-5 / 978-1-478-26078-3 / August 2012 / 274 pages / $10.99 paperback / $9.89 Amazon / $2.99 Kindle)

Reviewed by Dr. Al Past for PODBRAM

I began The Dog Did It -- A Whodunit (Gabe and Tigger Mystery) wondering if it was another in the vein of Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn, a mystery told from the point of view of the detective's dog, and rather imaginatively so. I found reading that book something of a high-wire project, with the suspension of disbelief teetering throughout. The Dog Did It is more traditionally narrated, however, and reads well. The protagonist, Gabe Chance is not exactly a licensed detective, and the story isn't a mystery since we meet the bad guys early on and know what they're up to. If one needs a genre for it, adventure would do, or maybe suspense.

Brought back to Texas when his mother's will is probated, Mr. Chance finds that to inherit her money he must live in her house, drive her car, and care for her dog. He does so very reluctantly, and while reconnecting with people he knew in childhood, finds himself ensnared in a murder which eventually leads to further dangers for himself and others...and the dog. The story, flavored by its setting in the famously lovely Texas hill country, costars a Jack Russell terrier, which should appeal to dog lovers and especially to lovers of that breed. The lively critter is based, it seems, on the author's own dog of yore, who apparently inspired the book.

I found the story satisfyingly entertaining, though I could have done with more details regarding the character and history of the main character. For that matter I suspect those not familiar with the Texas hill country could also use a bit more description of that, too. Oddly enough, the most memorable characters were the bad guys, one of whom was a vicious professor and another a frighteningly dangerous (if entertaining in a shivery sort of way) sociopath.

Those who enjoy this book will be happy to know there is a second featuring the same dog and master. Both are attractively priced for Kindle.

See Also: Jim Toombs website