Today’s featured ARCs come from HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Forge Books (Macmillan).
Where the Lost Dogs Go
by Susannah Charleson
On street: June 4, 2019 / HMH Books
One in six dogs will go missing during his or her lifetime. Of course their human companions feel heartbroken and helpless. Meet Ace, a plucky Maltese who wound up in a shelter after wandering around lost for months, an experience he barely survived. After the author and her senior search and rescue dog Puzzle adopt Ace, he and Susannah begin searching for lost pets. Ace seems to have a nose for it.
Why It’s Worth Choosing
*****For dog lovers, it’s heartwarming, hopeful, and instructive.
*****The author moves easily from the personal to the universal, delving into animal behavior, search and rescue tactics, social media strategies to use when looking for a beloved pet, and the psychology of loss.
*****The story packs an extra punch when a tornado threatens the Rowlett/Garnet area of Texas where the author’s mother lives–and refuses to evacuate without her four cats, who have run away. It is one thing to do what you do, but quite another to have to do it for family.
Note: The author’s first memoir, The Scent of Memory talks about how she got into the search and rescue field after the Oklahoma City bombing when she saw one of the rescuers crying into his dog’s fur at the end of an exhausting day. She is a pilot who now trains search and detection K9s, service dogs for the disabled, and comfort dogs that serve the community. Her fur and leather menagerie at home includes a paralyzed pup on wheels named Ruff Draft.
Heart of Barkness
On Street: July 2, 2019 / Forge Books
Chet the mutt and his human, Bernie the PI, both love a good steak. They also love music, so when an old-school country singer turns up at a local bar, they drive out to catch her act. Bernie’s surprised to see someone who was once so big performing in such a dive, and drops a C-note the Little Detective Agency can’t afford to part with into the tip jar. The C-note is stolen right from under their noses – even from under Chet’s, the nose that misses nothing – and before the night is over, it’s stolen again. Soon Chet and Bernie find themselves sucked into a real-life murder ballad where there is no one to trust but each other.
Why it’s Worth Choosing
*****The narration. While Janet Evanovich’s Bob provides comic relief for Stephanie Plum and police officer/love interest Joe Morelli, Spencer Quinn’s Chet tells every story from his point of view. Not only is this endearing, charming, and funny, it can have a positive effect on the reader’s psyche. After I finished the first book, I had Chet’s voice in my head so strongly that I found myself seeing the world less like an anxiety-ridden human and more like a “what a great day!” dog.
******The series is mostly light detective fun in the cozy detective tradition of Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters. So for those of you who do not enjoy edgy thrillers with lots of blood and gore, you are barking up the right tree here.
For more books like these, check out the biography and mystery sections at indie bookstores like Aunties!