Saturday, May 05, 2007

More Good Stuff - Lost Dog

I've got a stack of books that I've read and enjoyed - we won't talk about the ones I didn't finish, or threw across the room - and my plan is to blog about one book each week. Some of the books are new/debuts, and some of them are ones that are just new to me. We'll see how this works out. I am, after all, the original lazy artist. I'm not making any promises!'s a book I've been meaning to talk about, Bill Cameron's debut novel, Lost Dog. I'll say up front that Bill had promised me an ARC (which I "won" off his blog, only because I knew the origin of a quote that came from the only Woody Allen movie I like). Well, that didn't happen. I guess his publisher had already given out all the ARCs printed to, y'know, actual reviewer types. C'est la vie, no? No. Bill, being the good guy that he is, sent me a copy of Lost Dog when it was published, along with a nifty little plushie black dog. Completely unnecessary, but very sweet and much appreciated. Enough with "isn't Bill the coolest" and on to the book.

Peter McKrall is your average unemployed guy struggling to figure out what the hell to do with his life. Oh, and did I mention that he's a klepto? It's just after Christmas in Portland, OR, and Peter's niece has lost her favorite toy, a worn stuffed dog named Patch. When he heads to the park in search of Patch, Peter finds something much more disturbing. Tucked inside a concrete tube at the playground is the body of a very dead prostitute. What Peter doesn't realize is that the killer has returned to the crime scene and is watching him. When Peter is interviewed by a local television reporter and expresses horror about the crime, the real killer begins to obsess about Peter and how to pin the murder on him.

So...that's the basic set up. Things get complicated quickly with the appearance of the dead woman's daughter, Darla, and an unexpected love interest, local coffee shop owner, Ruby Jane. I'm not going to go into the rest of the plot machinations, 'cause what's the fun is telling the whole story?

While there's a suitably icky killer character, the real strength of the novel is the protagonist, Peter, and one of the cops working the case, Detective "Skin" Kadash. These two characters are the most fully realized and human, and provide a much needed dose of humor in an otherwise grim story. Peter can be wishy-washy, and shows poor judgment in some of his choices, but he's basically a good guy busy being human under extraordinary circumstances. My one issue with Skin comes near the end of the novel (I'm not going into the details, 'cause that's part of the climax of the story). He makes a decision that left me wondering if a detective, even a curmudgeon-y one like Skin, would actually do. While emotionally satisfying, I couldn't help but wonder... But what the hell do I know? I'm not a cop, and it was definitely one of those gray area dealios.

Overall, if you like twisty-turny murder mysteries that combine police procedural with innocent-guy-targeted-by-psycho-killer, you'll dig this book. The character of Peter is believable and unusual enough to take the book to the next level and the supporting cast is far from yawn-worthy. The sarcastic, smart-ass humor is also refreshing and serves as a great counter-balance to the pervasive ick-factor. Lost Dog has definite beach book potential (it's almost that time of year, isn't it?!), and the story will keep you turning the pages.

So, y'know, check it out!


At 6:05 PM, Blogger Chickenbells said...

It was wonderful to meet you as well...and I am a book addict. I love to read...I am also proud of you for throwing the ones you don't like across the room. I swear, I sometimes feel obligated to read them all the way through, like watching a movie I semi-like? No more of that thank you!

At 9:36 PM, Blogger angie said...

Yup, blogfest was awesome - so many cool folks here in Prescott & great to meet everyone. Totally looking forward to doing that again.

I read so many books that I've long since gotten over the "must finish" urge. Life's too short for crappy books (or movies)!

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Trace said...

I can't wait to read this one, Angie. I'm so excited about it.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

ick factor.

You should patent that.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Calixte said...

Thanks for writing this.


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