About this book: (from the publisher) Boston police officer Cooper Harrison never thought he’d go back to his hometown, Harmony Farms. But when his faithful K-9 partner Argos is killed in the line of duty, Cooper, caught in a spiral of trauma and grief, has nowhere else to turn. Jobless and on the verge of divorce, he accepts an offer for the position of dog officer in Harmony Farms, leaving the life he spent twenty years building behind.
And so he finds himself back where he started. Where his father was once known as the town drunk and his brother outgrew juvenile delinquency to become a drug dealer. Where he grew up as ‘one of those’ Harrisons. Cooper does his job with deliberate detachment, refusing to get emotionally invested in another dog the way he had with Argos–until he finds himself rescuing a wounded and gun-shy yellow lab gone feral.
Cooper never thought he’d find himself going back in order to move forward, and yet Harmony Farms is the one place where Cooper must learn to forgive and, only then, heal. All with the help of a yellow dog.
About the author: (excerpted from her website) Susan is the author of nine well-received novels including her 2010 novel, ONE GOOD DOG, which enjoyed six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and THE DOG WHO DANCED received the coveted Maxwell Medal for Fiction from the Dog Writer’s Association of America in 2012.
She has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband and her demanding terrierist, Bonnie. She is working on her next novel, another work featuring the complicated relationship between humans and the dogs they love.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13 for occasional profanity and violence to animals
Reminds me of…The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein; Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan
Will especially appeal to…dog lovers, natch.
This story matters because…it reminds us that for as long as there’s life, there’s hope.
My take: Might be easiest to simply cut to the chase and start with this: What didn’t I like about this book?
Answer: Not much.
Okay, if I have to go there, I’ll admit it’s not easy reading about animal cruelty, which is a necessary part of this story. I rather hurried through those few scenes, which are mercifully brief.
With that out of the way, I’m free to rave. I loved this book. I held off responsibilities (sorry, family!) in order to finish in near-record time. It was just that good. I reveled in its overarching themes of love, forgiveness, justice, and letting go. I also appreciated the author’s deft narrative touch, and her in-depth knowledge of dogs and humans alike. Her combination of likable characters (and one or two despicable ones), plus the variety of narrative view points–ranging from Cooper’s first person account, to the third person accounts of Bull and the yellow dog, to the omniscient flashback scenes–it all works.
While of course this book is intended for dog lovers, I’m hard pressed to think of many–man or woman–who won’t enjoy this one. There’s a little of something for everyone: suspense, mystery, romance–all wrapped up in a beautiful blend of masterful storytelling. I raced through the last few chapters, holding my breath to see if the ending would satisfy as deeply as did all the rest.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Bonus! It so happens I have an extra Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of The Dog Who Saved Me that I’ll be happy to send to one lucky reader. Leave a comment to be entered to win.
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Marley & Me, and The Dog That Talked to God are three other novels about dogs I’ve read and enjoyed in recent years. How about you?