ARF by NY Times Bestselling Author, Spenser Quinn (pub. 2016)

ARF is the latest in the impossibly “cute” (in the good sense of the word) Bowser and Birdie novels, which I predict will be a vey successful series for Quinn. As one blurb on the back of the book says, “Imagine Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird setting out to solve a mystery with the aid of a charming, slobbery dog. ” The “kicker” is the story is told from Bowser’s point of view, which tends to skew the clues, plot, and general denouement.

Here’s a random example of the dog, Bowser speaking after hearing someone say a minor character doesn’t like dogs,”Not fond of dogs? I tried hard to figure out what that meant, couldn’t quite get there.”  Birdie’s voice interrupts, “So…what we need is for the sheriff to…to find out on his own!” She credits Bowser  with the thought that comes to her mind and calls Bowser a genius. Bowser again: “What was this? I was a genius? Sounded good. I hoped to find out what it meant one day.”  Bowser is never anthropomorphic; he is just plain “dog,” distracted from duty by the smell of bacon and spells of losing focus when he smells a big, bad snake under the garage (which has a BIG role in “getting” the bad guy).

This is a delightful read, a bit predictable in places ,but with twists and turns that stop the reader dead in his tracks.  Plenty of pompous, clueless adults and kids- with- issues make up the cast of characters in this page-turning read.

This book sent me into giggling like someone Birdie’s age ,and at the same time left me with an Aaaaawwwww feeling.

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