Dog mystery novel: “Dog on It”


When 15-year-old Madison Chambliss goes missing, her mother turns to private investigator Bernie Little. And Bernie turns to his best crime-fighting asset, his dog, Chet.

Dog On It is the first of author Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie dog mystery novel series. Chet is a 100 pounds of police K-9 trained dog. Black with a single white ear, he failed his final exam when a rabbit distracted him into a race off the field.

Bernie, on the other hand, is a West Point graduate and Desert Storm veteran who had been a cop until six years. Newspaper reporter Suzie Sanchez, who interviews him about his life as a PI, described him as “a big shambling guy, one of those athletic types a decade or maybe two past his prime.” Her inexhaustible supply of dog biscuits and her indefatigable investigating instincts made her a welcome associate.

2-booksThe story is told from Chet’s point of view. Quinn captures Chet’s personality and his doggie nature  without sacrificing the plot or credibility. Chet’s role in the action is much like the rough, tough lead character of any crime thriller.

Dog lovers beware

In one section, Chet gets Tasered, kidnapped and renamed “Stalin” by a bunch of Russian gangsters. Dog lovers will find this hard to read. Nor does it end there: Russian gang leader Gulagov decides to turn Chet into a fighting dog, and withholds water (in a desert) to force obedience. Chet escapes, tangles with a mountain lion, gets picked up by a biker gang and left at an animal shelter. Then, he’s nearly put down before . . . well, we can’t say more.

Light reading, perfect for the Labor Day weekend or lazing by the pool, the Chet and Bernie series promises hours of entertainment. Quinn always promises to reveal secrets about Chet and Bernie’s first meeting and why Bernie is no longer a cop.

Author Spence Quinn (aka Peter Abrahams)

Spencer Quinn is the pen name of Peter Abrahams, who has written 27 novels, including Lights Out, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; Oblivion, which was a Shamus prize finalist; and The Fan, which was made into a movie starring Robert DeNiro. His Echo Falls mystery series for middle-school readers is on the New York Times best-seller list.

He started the Chet and Bernie series after his wife asked him, “Why don’t you do something with dogs?”

The books that follow Dog On It are:

  • Thereby Hangs a Tail
  • To Fetch a Thief
  • The Dog Who Knew Too Much
  • A Fistful of Collars
  • A Cat was Involved
  • The Sound and the Furry
  • Paw and Order
  • Tail of Vengeance
  • Scents and Sensibility
  • Santa 365
  • Heart of Barkness
  • Of Mutts and Men

Chet has his own blog, Chet: A Dog’s Life, and his own Facebook page.

Other dog mystery novels to read

If you like mysteries that involve dogs, check out: