Prepare to fall in love with Chet, a 100-pound canine private investigator (who flunked out of K-9 police school) in business with his human, Bernie. Chet narrates the books, but this isn’t a fantasy book, he acts like a normal dog. He doesn’t speak to Bernie, but he does think, narrating the books in first-dog (like first-person, but with four paws).
He is intensely loyal to Bernie, in ways only dogs can be. He seems to find out things that take Bernie a while longer. Chet gets distracted by smells and sounds, loves a good nap and a good stretch, gets confused about things he hears, hates cats, loves to ride shotgun and frequently lets his dog impulses take over when finding the occasional forgotten tidbit, unattended meal or something to chase. He is full of life, and at times full of himself, helping Bernie solve the case with a lot of humor. Chet isn’t too clear on things like cash flow, a wild goose chase, and the meaning of a red herring, but he does try.
In the first novel in the series, Chet and Bernie are hired to find a missing girl named Madison, a sullen teenager with divorced parents who are not getting along. Her father is a real estate developer whose finances are a bit dicey. Bernie is going through his own troubled divorce. Chet is finds out the truth about Madison’s disappearance when he takes off on high adventure in a moment of impulse. He then has to figure out how to let Bernie in on what he knows but is quickly forgetting in light of stray burgers, random thoughts, nap times and gourmet dog treats. A reporter, Susie, wins Chet over quickly and she comes in very handy at just the right time. The story is told as seen through Chet’s eyes with all the distractions one might expect in a dog like unattended burgers, errant golf balls, his buddy Iggy, and a strange she-bark. The tale has intrigue, bad guys, chase scenes, and all the elements of a great mystery novel, with a fresh unique point of view.
In the second book in the series, Chet and Bernie get involved in the dog show arena as they are hired and fired as bodyguards for champion Princess and her owner. When Princess is dog-knapped, they are on the case again. They investigate a ghost town, and find corruption in local law enforcement. Separated from Bernie, Chet makes a startling discovery, but then has to find his way back, picking up more clues along the way. Once again, loyal Chet finds out more facts sooner than Bernie, and helps the investigation. His distractions are charming. The reader will really believe that this is the mind of a very smart dog who envisions himself as a crackerjack investigator while he barks in response to the neighbor dog, gets heavy eyelids before a nap, rides shotgun, identifies the bad guys by smell, loves treats and those that give them, and whose tail has a mind of its own.
There are five more books in the series, listed below with the publisher’s synopsis for the first three. These are all on Mount TBR (To Be Read) at my house. If you are a true fan of Chet, he has a blog at http://www.chetthedog.com/. This series is charming, at times hilarious, at times thrilling, with mysteries to solve. I highly recommend!!
Chet has smelled a lot of unusual things in his years as trusted companion and partner to P.I. Bernie Little, but nothing has prepared him for the exotic scents he encounters when an old-fashioned traveling circus comes to town. Bernie scores tickets to this less-than-greatest- show-on-earth because his son Charlie is crazy about elephants. The only problem is that Peanut, the headlining pachyderm of this particular one-ring circus, has gone missing—along with her trainer, Uri DeLeath. Stranger still, no one saw them leave. How does an elephant vanish without a trace?
Bernie is invited to give the keynote speech at the Great Western Private Eye Convention, but it’s Chet that the bigshot P.I. in charge has secret plans for. Meanwhile Chet and Bernie are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. The boy’s mother thinks the boy’s father—her ex—has snatched the boy, but Chet makes a find that sends the case in a new and dangerous direction. As if that weren’t enough, matters get complicated at home when a stray puppy that looks suspiciously like Chet shows up. Affairs of the heart collide with a job that’s never been tougher, requiring our two intrepid sleuths to depend on each other as never before.
Hoping to bring some Hollywood money to the Valley, the mayor lures a movie studio to town to shoot their next major production starring Chad Perry. Known for his bad behavior, Chad needs a babysitter and the mayor hires Chet and Bernie for the job. The money is good, but something smells fishy. When they dig into the details of an old crime, they discover that Chad has links to the Valley that go way back. To complicate matters, for some odd reason, Chad’s cat, Brando, seems hellbent on making trouble for Chet.
This is a really fun series, and I would imagine that all dog lovers will enjoy it.
Have you read any of the books in this series?