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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Dog In The Manger By Mike Resnick

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Being an honorable cop and attempting to bust powerful politicians may have made Eli Patton a hero, but it also resulted in his being pushed out of the Chicago police department, blacklisted from the Cincinnati force, and finally landing in Cleveland as a private investigator. It is there that he finds himself the last resort for Hubert Lanz, a dog handler for the missing Baroness von Tannelwald, recent Best in Show at the Westminster. The Baroness also just happens to be the Weimaraner owned by Maurice Nettles, who claims that the Baroness never arrived on her flight from Cleveland to Casa Grande, Arizona. Declaring that the Baroness is worth twenty-five thousand dollars, Lanz demands that Eli find the Baroness and the dog assistant entrusted to deliver her to the airport, Alice Kent.

When Alice and her car are pulled out of the Little Miami River, Eli assumes that he has a retainer to return, but with the dog still missing Lanz demands that Eli stay on the case. As Eli follows the path of the missing Weimaraner from Ohio to Arizona and even to Mexico, Eli discovers a trail of bodies of everyone who seems to have last had contact with the pricey pooch. Luckily for Eli, he has the help of an attractive show dog owner and his own considerable perseverance and dedication to getting the job done. Eli will need all the aid he can get as he can't believe that murder, kidnappings, and Mexican thugs are all because of a funny-looking skinny dog.

In the first of a series, Eli is revealed to be a refreshingly rational, practical, and very wry detective who is skilled at his job but never foolhardy or overestimating his bulletproofness or ability to take a beating. Eli follows a dark path that seems to involve far more lethal motives than the insanely competitive and expensive show dog world should incur, but even he will be shocked at the insidious plot he has tumbled into.

Image source: Seventh Street Books

According to an introduction by the extraordinarily prolific and award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, Dog in the Manger was originally published in 1995 as a standalone mystery due to Resnick's daunting prior science fiction commitments. When Prometheus and its Seventh Street Books imprint picked up this reissue and its proposed sequel The Trojan Colt, Resnick was able to continue the series and give it the attention it and Eli Patton deserves. Eli has the humor, humility, and disdain of the rich prevalent amongst old-school detectives, but without their arrogance or seeming invulnerability to getting punched.

As an added bonus, also included is an Eli Patton short story "Even Butterflies Can Sting," in which Eli is hired by an arrogant, obnoxious, demanding, but well-paying client to bodyguard her and her million-dollar earrings at a Cincinnati Opera Society dinner. That the night ends in murder, a twist, and an unreturnable tux is a pleasure for readers even if it’s another example of poor Eli being bested by a four-legged companion.

To enter to win a copy of The Dog In The Manger, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Dog”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 21, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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