Stephen King has called Chet “a canine Sam Spade full of joie de vivre.” Robert B. Parker dubbed Spencer Quinn’s writing “major league prose.” Now the beloved team returns in another suspenseful novel that finds Chet sniffing around the capital city and using his street smarts to uncover a devilish plot.
Chet and Bernie pay a visit to Bernie’s girlfriend, Suzie Sanchez, a crack reporter living in far-off Washington, DC. She’s working on a big story she can’t talk about, but when her source, a mysterious Brit with possible intelligence connections, runs into trouble of the worst kind, Bernie suddenly finds himself under arrest.
Meanwhile Chet gets to know a powerful DC operative who may or may not have the goods on an ambitious politician. Soon Chet and Bernie are sucked into an international conspiracy, battling unfamiliar forces under the blinking red eyes of a strange bird that Chet notices from the get-go but seems to have slipped by everybody else. Most menacing of all is Barnum, a guinea pig with the fate of the nation in his tiny paws.
As Harry Truman famously quipped, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Too bad he didn’t get to meet Chet!
For those of you who have never read any of these wonderful mysteries, Bernie Little is a private investigator, along with his partner, Chet. Together they will take on practically any case, and they are very good at what they do. There is an early scene in this book in which Chet and Bernie are at a barbeque restaurant full of bikers. In the ensuing action, you discover that Bernie is no ordinary detective. He is not only able to hold his own, he has wit, intelligence, speed and strength. Chet is no slouch, either.
This book is different in that everything is told from Chet's point of view. Did I mention that Chet is Bernie's dog? He's an (almost) hundred pound K-9 dropout who is just as smart as Bernie, and not only protects him, actually helps him in his cases.
This time around, Bernie is a little bored with his routine, and missing his girlfriend Suzie Sanchez, who has moved to Washington, D.C. to further her career as a journalist. So he decides, unannounced, to visit her, and when he arrives he sees a well-dressed man exiting the cottage where Suzie lives. Obviously not happy about this turn of events, he confronts Suzie, whose tells him that the visior, Eben, a British national, is someone she is working with on a story. When Eben is murdered shortly thereafter, Bernie is first arrested for the murder, then released just as quickly. Now making it much more personal for Bernie, he is stunned when Eben's father hires him to find out who killed his son.
While ferreting out the fact from fiction, Chet and Bernie realize that between the politics and intrigue lies something that covers two continents and could possibly lead straight to the White House if Bernie doesn't figure it out in time.
Chet is his usual self, discovering things the humans don't find out until later, and trying to understand why Bernie acts as he does; but never questioning anything, because he knows that Bernie is the smartest person he's ever met. What puzzles Chet the most is the strange bird that follows them everywhere, from Suzie's house to when they're on the road in Virginia. Although he keeps trying to let Bernie know, he's oblivious to Chet's attempts to call his attention to it. When Bernie finally sees what Chet sees, he realizes that Suzie has stumbled upon something that could put her in danger, and his highest priority is to keep her safe.
This is a highly enjoyable read, with Chet at his dogged best (pun intended), and Bernie hot on the trail of a cold-blooded killer; not willing to rest until he finds the answers he's looking for, no matter who the murderer is. A highly recommended read, especially for those looking for something just a little bit different.