Sunday, August 18, 2019

"Heart of Barkness"

Spencer Quinn is the bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling Bowser and Birdie series for middle-grade readers.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Heart of Barkness, and reported the following:
Heart of Barkness is the ninth Chet and Bernie novel. Bernie is the detective. Chet’s the K-9 school reject who narrates the stories. He is not a talking dog, not a human sporting a dog suit, but as purely canine as I can make him. If you know a dog or two, then you know there’s a narrative unreeling in their heads. That’s what’s on the page.

Can you read Heart of Barkness if you haven’t read any of the other novels in the series? That’s a question Chet would never ask.

The subjects covered on page 69 of Heart of Barkness are: the smell of puke; a hot dog eating contest; how to drink from a hose; shrinking aquifers; Bernie’s sweet uppercut; and the whereabouts of a has-been country music singer from long ago named Lotty Pilgrim. The dramatis personae are Chet, Bernie, and Shermie “Shoulders” Shouldice, a former perp once on the receiving end of the aforementioned uppercut, and now working as a bouncer at a crummy desert bar, where Lotty performed the night before. The question: Is Shermie willing – or even intellectually able – to help C&B track down Lotty?

There. Those are the facts. Is page 69 representative of the book as a whole? Yes! Although you’ll have to read it to see why. And if you do read it, you’ll discover that somewhat later, Lotty writes a Song For Chet. It has become a real song, downloadable from the usual sources and also on YouTube. The wonderful fiddle solo is by Gene Elders, the great violinist in George Strait’s band.
Visit Spencer Quinn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue