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Bark to the Future: A Chet & Bernie Mystery (2022 original; edició 2022)
de Spencer Quinn
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Bark to the Future de Spencer Quinn (2022)
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Bark to the Future
By Spencer Quinn
This is one of my favorite stories. Lots of twists, turns, and suspense. As always, there is plenty of humor and wit to go around. Told by Chet, the dog partner to Bernie the PI. Love this series!
Chet and Bernie are back, with another mystery to solve--though it takes them a while to find a client for this case. They meet an older man, clearly hard-used by life, whom Bernie is shocked to realize is a high school classmate. Rocket was a teammate on the high school baseball team, and made a game-winning save that took them to the state championship.
Something, clearly, happened after that high point. Bernie and Chet take him out for a good meal, then drop him off at the highway off ramp he considers his territory.
But Bernie can't let go of Rocket's sad state, and the very confusing things he said and didn't say. He needs to know what happened to Rocket, and he and Chet start investigating.
Along the way, they find a finely made switchblade knife, the baseball coach who still hasn't retired, Bernie's junior prom date now running a restaurant, and the priest who has lately been providing Rocket a place to live, in his homeless encampment behind the church. There are others, too, some who care about Rocket, and some who may be less friendly.
When Rocket mysteriously disappears, it's no longer idle curiosity on Bernie's part.
If we didn't know the dangers of slot canyons, we do before the end of the book,
There are several criminal enterprises adjacent to the case, and it's not easy figuring out which one is relevant to Rocket's sad state, or to his disappearance.
Weatherly Wauneka, police sergeant with a dog named Trixie, who looks remarkably like Chet, and is the same age, seems to be established as Bernie's new love, and also a helping hand when police assistance is needed.
It's a solid, comfortable, enjoyable adventure with Chet and Bernie.
I bought this audiobook.
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
CHET THE NARRATOR
For roughly a decade now, Chet has been my favorite first-person narrator (at least among those being currently published). This K-9 school dropout is an engaging and personable narrator who will get the reader emotionally invested and charm you within the first few pages after you meet him. He's optimistic, generally positive, and his unique perspective will make you chuckle frequently while you read a solid P.I. story.
At the same time, there's an extra level of attention that needs to be paid to what he says so you can pick up what's actually going on—Chet's the best kind of unreliable narrator, he's not being deceptive, he just doesn't (and can't) understand what he's seeing and hearing. But he's honest and thorough.
So, what I'm saying is, there's little chance I'm not going to thoroughly enjoy a new Chet and Bernie novel. So going in, expect me to say nice things.
WHAT'S BARK TO THE FUTURE ABOUT?
Bernie's approached by a panhandler while stopped at a light on a freeway off-ramp, who recognizes Bernie from high school and refuses to take his money. Life's been harder on him than Bernie, who can't recognize him at all. Bernie takes him for a burger, and tries to help him out a little—by this time, he's identified himself. He's an old baseball teammate, and the two shared a highlight or two of their careers. After their meal, Rocket Saluka has Bernie drop him off on the off-ramp.
But he'd said a thing or two that Bernie can't stop thinking about, so he goes back the next morning to follow up. Rocket's nowhere to be found, but someone else directs Bernie to a camp Rocket was staying at. He's not there, either—and there's almost no trace of him. Chet does find his distinctive switchblade buried under Rocket's tent, however—and now Bernie's even more curious, and he sets out to find his old teammate.
It turns out that there's quite the history attached to this switchblade, and most of it was shared by other people who were associated with their high school (including one person Bernie knows but didn't realize was from the same school). What starts off as a way to deal with some unnecessary guilt becomes a hunt for someone responsible for at least one murder—and hopefully, Rocket.
WEATHERLY AND TRIXIE
I was a fan of Suzie Sanchez and didn't like it at all when that relationship fell apart, and I wished for more time with the doctor Bernie dated. But now that Quinn has brought Weatherly into the series, I'm glad that things between them and Bernie ended.
Weatherly's a great addition to the series period—someone in law enforcement that Bernie can talk shop with (who isn't a former colleague) and who can pitch in when Bernie needs backup. And their romantic relationship is better than Bernie's had before—there's a trust, an honesty that was missing with Suzie. Bernie's learned from his past mistakes and is making sure that he doesn't make them again. It's great to see.
I do feel back for Weatherly's dog Trixie, Chet's a jealous boy (we are learning), and he's not doing well with a female counterpart with similar strengths (maybe stronger in a couple of ways than Chet). Yes, she scores a few wins over our narrator, but his feelings toward her color what we're told about her, and she doesn't come out looking so good.
We've seen something like this with Shooter, Chet's son. But it's a little different with Shooter because there's a somewhat paternal aspect to Chet's description of him.
We know that Chet can get along with other dogs—but the extended time with Trixie is showing us another side of his personality. You wouldn't think you'd get that in a dog character, but it's good to see that Quinn can give us that.
As he's visiting fellow alumni and other people associated with the case, several people mention how they'd read/seen something about him because of the events of Of Mutts and Men (although one harkened back to Heart of Barkness. I'm glad that there are people out there who know that Bernie Little is out there, doing good work. Most of the time in PI fiction, you get the idea that outside of those close to a case, no one notices that the PI we're so heavily invested in does anything of note.
But what's better to me is that Bernie's getting recognition for this case—one of the first things we learn about him 12 books ago is that he has very definite opinions about water usage and the local aquifer. From Chet, we get some ideas about other things that Bernie cares about, but from his own mouth, we know that he cares about Charlie, Chet, and water (and now, Weatherly). Of all the cases for him to get good PR for, this is the one that's going to mean something to Bernie.
SO, WHAT DID I THINK ABOUT BARK TO THE FUTURE?
Not surprisingly, I liked it. I really did. We get a little character backstory here, we see Bernie as a good father (and a fumbling one), we see development in his relationship with Weatherly, we see the potential for a (small) income stream for Bernie outside the PI business, and there's an intriguing mystery or two for our heroes to dig their teeth into (literally, for Chet).
Starting with Of Mutts and Men that Quinn's found another gear. I can't put my finger on it—I wish I could—but there's something about the novels that have stepped up a notch or two. The series is always reliable, but these last few have been better than some of the previous. Bark to the Future continues that streak.
I heartily recommend this to you—if you haven't tried one from this series before, don't worry—they're all good entry points. Jump in now, you'll be glad you did.
Much like Chet and a Slim Jim, I've gulped this one down and am ready for my next one.
partners, dog, law-enforcement, ex-cop, ex-military, private-investigators, snarky, situational-humor, verbal-humor, failed-k-9, homelessness, murder, investigation, missing-persons, attempted-murder, suspense*****
Chet and his favorite human, Bernie Little are partners in the Little Detective Agency.
If you've never had a K-9 failure tell you about a difficult case he and his partner PI Bernie Little survived, you've missed a lot! Chet tells all from his own unique perspective.
Nostalgia isn't all it's cracked up to be. Chet meets up with an old teammate from high school, now down on his luck, and feels the need to help him. But then the guy disappears and the trail seems to bring out others, some of whom get murdered along the way.
There are plot twists and red herrings, but all of the characters are engaging, interesting, and occasionally evil. Just not the good guys, sometimes they are a bit clueless, but never evil. A great series and full of laughs! And each is capable of being stand alone.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Macmillan-Tor/Forge Forge Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
"Spencer Quinn's Bark to the Future continues the adventurous New York Times and USA Today bestselling series that Stephen King calls "without a doubt the most original mystery series currently available." When Chet the dog, "the most lovable narrator in all of crime fiction" (Boston Globe), and his human partner, PI Bernie Little, are approached by down-and-out older man with a cardboard sign at an exit ramp, Bernie is shocked to discover the man is a former teammate from his high school baseball team. Chet and Bernie take Rocket out for a good meal, and later, Bernie investigates Rocket's past, trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. Then, Rocket goes suspiciously missing. With his former teammate likely in danger, Bernie goes back to his old high school for answers, where much that he remembers turns out not to be true-and there are powerful and dangerous people not happy with the questions Bernie is asking. Bernie soon learns that he misunderstood much about his high school years - and now, Chet and Bernie are plunged into a dangerous case where the past isn't dead and the future could be fatal"--
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Fes-te Autor del LibraryThing.
I liked this book well enough, but maybe the series is getting to be too much the same. I don't put a lot of effort into guessing who dunnit, but I guessed the killer not because of any clues but just from having read the previous books. A very small amount of information confirmed it.
I wouldn't dream of missing the next one. ( )