Dog on It - Spencer Quinn 4 1/2 stars

This is a comic mystery told adorably from the point of view of Chet the dog. Being a dog and all, Chet has a different way of looking at things and tells the story with lots of pauses for “ahhh’s” (hooray, head scratch), and “thump thumps” (uncontrollable tail wag). He gets distracted easily by tantalizing smells. It’s super cutesy, I admit, but I love it still. Sometimes a person needs a little cutesy to balance out the ugly, mean-nasties.

Chet’s owner Bernie is a gruff, divorced private investigator but Chet loves him all the same. Seen through Chet’s eyes, many, if not most, of Bernie’s actions are unintentionally humorous as Chet is often confounded by Bernie’s behavior. However, as the book goes along Chet and Bernie (but mostly Chet) are put into some life-threatening situations. If you don’t like doggies in peril you may have a hard time with this one. Parts of it were definitely hard to read. Poor Chet is stabbed, tossed by a car, almost made into a dog fighter, starved and nearly euthanized. You’ve been warned.

The case revolves around a missing teen and was unexceptional and not all that gripping but then again I’m use to gory serial killer mysteries when I bother to read them. This type of quieter mystery needs me some gimmicks or humor or I’ll lose interest fast. This one has both but it was the characters that made the book work for me. Sure, Chet’s thoughts are too people-like but if you go with it you’ll have fun. He even makes rather sad sack Bernie lovable. You rarely forget the narrator is a dog and I loved that. Even when Chet is “on the job” he’ll take the time to snarf up the Cheerios at the client’s house. How can you not love Chet?

Chet being Chet: “Suzie was interesting. No doubt about it. An urge came over me to sidestep my way under the table and give her toes a quick lick. I resisted it, she was the guest.”