Monday, September 10, 2012

A Fistful of Collars ~ Spencer Quinn

A Fistful of Collars (Chet & Bernie Mystery #5)
September 11, 2012
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

reviews of the series: Dog On It #1, Thereby Hangs a Tail #2, To Fetch a Thief #3, The Dog Who Knew Too Much #4

Private detective Bernie Little of the Little Detective Agency and is canine partner, Chet, are back for their fifth installment.

As Bernie points out, they already make plenty of porno in the valley, but the mayor - up for reelection - is hoping to bring a bit of the legitimate big screen to the Valley. It's almost all set, too, the production's planned, the stars hired, but he needs Bernie to make it all come off without a hitch.

Hired to make sure the film's leading man, Thad Perry, the handsome bad boy doesn't get into too much trouble - of the illegal substance variety or otherwise, Bernie was specifically requested for the job.

What seems like a simple job, with good money (which pleases Chet to no end), seems off to Bernie. Soon they're distracted from the protection-slash-babysitting job by something more, something more akin to their usual expertise.

But does this diversion matter? And, more importantly, will it put anyone in danger before Bernie and Chet can figure it all out?

Requesting A Fistful of Collars on NetGalley was really a no-brainer for me. It's the fifth book in a series, the Chet and Bernie Mysteries, that I love. Each book in this series, while building on the characters' relationships from one book to the next, can still be read as a standalone. A Fistful of Collars while still able to be read on its own, seemed to utilize the characters previously introduced the most as well as reward readers aware of the already established relationships, the most.

Just as I mentioned in my review for the previous book, The Dog Who Knew Too Much (#4) that each of the books seemed to follow the same major events [teeny spoiler](stumbling onto a case while doing something else, investigating together, Chet getting separated, etc)[end teeny spoiler], things were very different this go round.

Chet is, of course, the narrator again and still fantastic. For anyone who's read all of the books, he may seem a bit receptive, but that seems to be part of his character. He doesn't care if he's already mentioned that Bernie's smart or that he likes riding shotgun. Really, it kind of keeps him canine. His humor's back as well - and much more abundant than any repetition. (I'm loving how concerned for their finances Chet is.)

Not quite as light as the previous books, but still just as fun and entertaining, A Fistful of Collars is more complex than its predecessors. Implementing more of the characters and their stories that were introduced earlier in the series, Collars has more of a subtle mystery.  It's definitely still there, it's just not as obvious as, say, a missing elephant.

The other mysteries had their complexities, but in Collars, there's an entire story line with Thad and the movie and with Suzie ready to distract both readers and Bernie. It doesn't stop the mystery from developing, rather it makes its revelation, the culmination of all the facts that much better.

If I had to pick only one book of this series for someone to read (I'd prefer to say them all), I might pick this one. I do think some of its enjoyment may come as a reward for having read the previous four books - but I'm eager to hear from someone who has not!

Rating: 9/10

A Cat Was Involved is the short story (e-story) of how Chet failed out of K-9 school - and how Chet and Bernie met
The Series:

thank you to Simon & Schuster/Atria and NetGalley for my egalley of this title

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