In Dog We Trust
by Neil Plakcy
Ebook available from
Steve Levitan is a convicted felon. Through a lapse in internal discipline, he did a little computer hacking and soon found himself in prison. Released on parole, he returns to his home, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where he obtains a position as a part time faculty, teaching English at a local college.
His marriage fell apart, which is another factor setting up everything that follows, murder, car chases, odd and interesting characters, such as a sort of hard guy named Santiago, Steve’s parole officer, and a couple of cops, one of whom is a long-time school buddy of Steve.
Then there is the dog. Who names their dog Rochester? The dog belonged to a dead woman, and dog and Steve bond almost immediately, although both seem to have serious issues with authority.
Without revealing too much, this is a very “now” detective novel, delving into computer and other crime. How closely do you reads your credit card statements? The novel is well written, smooth and interesting. It’s always good when a crime novel teaches or reminds readers of information they should know. This story does that, without preaching or lapsing into lecturing. The classroom scenes and internal dialogues regarding student attitudes are authentic. For anyone who enjoys a jaundiced look at small college academic life, this novel is a pleasure to read on another level.
Everything about this novel smacks of a professional, polished approach. The writing is smooth, the characters well developed, and they stay in character. The plot has been carefully laid out and proceeds at a good pace. It’s conclusion is satisfying. Then there’s the dog, Rochester.
Dog lovers will be pleased to know that the author refrains from anthropomorphizing the dog. Undeniably talented, Rochester is helpful throughout the novel, but only in naturally occurring, that is, doggy ways. “In Dog We Trust” is a completely enjoyable way to spend a reading afternoon.
A Wasteland of Strangers
Author: Bill Pronzini
Publisher: Walker & Company.
This is another of Bill Pronzini’s intensive, commanding, explorations of current social ideas and concerns which move a national colloquy in many forums. But this is not a social treatis full of statistics. This is a moving, intense, crime novel, that will captivate and enthrall the reader. Take one large, dangerous looking, individual, John Faith, by name. He’s a traveler, a seeker, a man on the move. Insert this stranger into a small resort community during the off season. This community happens to be in northern California, but such are the author’s skills, it could be anywhere. It could be your hometown.
John Faith is the immediate object of suspicion, because he’s a stranger and he doesn’t look like he belongs. His presence gradually reveals and widens long-standing cracks in the comfortable, biased attitudes and ideas of almost everyone in town. Why has this man come to town? What are his motives? His answers are enigmatic, and even at the end we are left with questions. John Faith’s encounters with the police chief, the bigoted lake-side resort owner, some local Native Americans, and a bartender or two, are like pebbles dropped in a placid pool. The ripples expand and expand until they reach the edge of the pool and die. Except in this case, the ripples grow larger, intersect and become irresistible waves that begin to tear at the base fabric of the town.
This psychological thriller is tightly plotted, and intricately presented. It’s pace is irresistible. “A Wasteland of Strangers” is a thoughtful, satisfying crime novel. Artist Doug Henry has presented a handsome, evocative cover illustration. Highly recommended.