Heart of Barkness (Chet and Bernie Mystery, #9)
Spencer Quinn's Heart of Barkness is the latest in the New York Times bestselling series that the Los Angeles Times called “nothing short of masterful"…Chet the dog, “the most lovable narrator in all of crime fiction” (Boston Globe) and P.I. Bernie encounter heartache and much worse in the world of country music. They’re both music lovers, so when Lotty Pilgrim, a country singer from long ago, turns up at a local bar, they drive out to catch her act. Bernie’s surprised to see someone who was once so big performing in such a dive, and drops a C-note the Little Detective Agency can’t afford to part with into the tip jar. The C-note is stolen right from under their noses – even from under Chet’s, the nose that misses nothing – and before the night is over, it’s stolen again.Soon they’re working the most puzzling case of their career, a case that takes them back in time in search of old border-town secrets, and into present-day danger where powerful people want those secrets to stay hidden. Chet and Bernie find themselves sucked into a real-life murder ballad where there is no one to trust but each other.

Heart of Barkness (Chet and Bernie Mystery, #9) Details

TitleHeart of Barkness (Chet and Bernie Mystery, #9)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 2nd, 2019
PublisherForge Books
ISBN-139781250297716
Rating
GenreMystery, Animals, Dogs, Fiction, Humor, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Heart of Barkness (Chet and Bernie Mystery, #9) Review

  • Linden
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone's favorite canine narrator, Chet, is back to describe another case he solves with his partner, Bernie. Lotty Pilgrim, country music singer , is about to plead guilty to murdering her manager/lover, Clint. Bernie thinks she's innocent, and sets out to find the truth.
    more
  • 3 no 7
    January 1, 1970
    “Heart of Barkness” by Spencer Quinn is book nine in the “Chet and Bernie” series. New readers should note that the series is a first person narrative by Chet, the dog half of the duo, so the opinions, observations and conclusions are a bit different from those in other mystery books. Needed information from previous books is included as part of Chet’s current narrative, so new readers can easily follow along as Chet investigates everything and comments on people and events. Chet describes himse “Heart of Barkness” by Spencer Quinn is book nine in the “Chet and Bernie” series. New readers should note that the series is a first person narrative by Chet, the dog half of the duo, so the opinions, observations and conclusions are a bit different from those in other mystery books. Needed information from previous books is included as part of Chet’s current narrative, so new readers can easily follow along as Chet investigates everything and comments on people and events. Chet describes himself (and Bernie) as part of “The Little Detective Agency on account of Bernie’s last name being Little.” Readers do have to get used to Chet’s style as the narrator. He makes constant observations and produces a running narrative of events from a dog’s perspective. He describes things as “straightforward,” “kind of weird,” or “maybe not worth thinking about.” He observes that “Humans can be tricky with smiles, and you have to watch carefully.” He states things with little if any emotion. “The dart player was headed for a yellow car parked in a far corner of the lot where the pavement stopped and the desert began.” He has his own priorities; “If you’re going to play in this life, then play! And is there anything more fun than playing a brand-new game? This one was called Who Gets the Toothbrush. A very promising game!” He tells readers what he is doing; “My mind wandered a bit, and when my mind wanders I tend to look around, checking out the action. And what was this? The baby-faced dart player—actually both baby-faced and fuzzy-faced—was on the move, kind of sneaking through the darkness just beyond the pool of stage light. Sneakiness is something that gets my attention, big-time.” He learns from past mistakes; “I sat beside the barrel cactus, close but not too close—I’d had an experience with a barrel cactus.” When danger lurks, he can be counted on to act; “And then I barked, barked like I’d never barked before, a savage howling bark that even scared me.” “Heart of Barkness” is filled with humor and secrets, but ultimately it is the relationship between Chet and Bernie that makes the book wonderful. I received a copy of “Heart of Barkness” from Spencer Quinn, Forge Books, and Macmillan Publishing Group. It was easy to read, yet had plenty of action and mystery. In the end, sometimes one should just trust a dog’s Judgement about things and sing the “Song for Chet.”
    more
  • Janie
    January 1, 1970
    A new Chet and Bernie book is one of the few that I will pick up and read immediately, regardless of the condition of my To-Be-Read list. This ninth release in the series (publication date July 2, 2019) continues the reading pleasure and my enjoyment of Chet's canine narration of the private-eye cases of The Little Detective Agency.I've pondered the chemistry of this series to figure out just what it is that I enjoy so much. The humor is the best, the mysteries are great (always tied to compelli A new Chet and Bernie book is one of the few that I will pick up and read immediately, regardless of the condition of my To-Be-Read list. This ninth release in the series (publication date July 2, 2019) continues the reading pleasure and my enjoyment of Chet's canine narration of the private-eye cases of The Little Detective Agency.I've pondered the chemistry of this series to figure out just what it is that I enjoy so much. The humor is the best, the mysteries are great (always tied to compelling human stories), and the inimitable relationship between canine Chet and all-human Bernie is irresistible, particularly in the way that they both understand the other with simple glances and gestures. But for me, the magic in the series' chemistry is Chet.Quinn's clever writing has Chet able to give readers his (limited, no offense) canine perspective on action and plot development. Chet helps us see the qualities of all the characters in the story; his canine powers (far beyond humans, no offense) augment Bernie's skills, and Chet's deep and simple empathy and instincts make everyone (including the reader) richer in understanding life.This is a lot of words for the bottom line: Chet and Bernie make for awfully good reading, and Spencer Quinn has given us a heart-warming, laugh out-loud time with a great book, this Heart of Barkness being just the latest. I'm already waiting for the twelfth book -- just what is developing with Suzy?? And if you know this series already, have you read the prequel, A Cat Was Involved? If not, go read this $.99 novella right now! This may give you the quintessential Chet and Bernie experience in the shortest amount of reading.
    more
  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this very much, but then I usually do enjoy the Chet and Bernie books. This one has Bernie trying to help a country music singer who has fallen on difficult times. The situation becomes more and more tangled until Lotty Pilgrim finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She doesn't trust Bernie Little (of the Little Detective Agency) so she won't cooperate with him on the case but somebody else is willing to hire Bernie to get to the truth.This story had a little bit of an I enjoyed this very much, but then I usually do enjoy the Chet and Bernie books. This one has Bernie trying to help a country music singer who has fallen on difficult times. The situation becomes more and more tangled until Lotty Pilgrim finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She doesn't trust Bernie Little (of the Little Detective Agency) so she won't cooperate with him on the case but somebody else is willing to hire Bernie to get to the truth.This story had a little bit of an unsettled vibe to it. Bernie goes all introspective and large portions of his thoughts are not revealed to the readers which makes for some puzzled looks from me. Bernie talks mostly to Chet in this story, and that's fine, but thrashing this problem out with a human person could have moved the story along and explained some of what Bernie was thinking. I mean, Cheat is a cool dog, but his conversational talents are sadly lacking. It was maybe a little too easy to figure out who the villain was and I was sorry about that. I'm hopeful that the next book will present more interaction with Iggy and his family. Bernie isn't paying nearly enough attention to them and I worry.Even though there were bits and pieces of this particular story that didn't work so well for me it was all very much worth the reading just to see how Spencer Quinn describes that wonderful dog Chet. The flights of fancy Chet goes on, the descriptions of riding in the car with the top down, the responses Chet has to various people he meets are all so realistic to those of us who love dogs. I'll keep reading this series as long as Quinn keeps writing them. And that's a promise.
    more
  • Diana Gomez
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 rounded up.It's been a while since I read a Chet and Bernie story, I'd missed Chet's one-of-a-kind viewpoint.It also seems I'd slightly forgotten how we left our favorite duo at the end of "Scents and Sensibility". Bernie has been in the hospital for a few months recovering from the events of that book, and the future of his relationship with his girlfriend, Suzie was also left up in the air.With those loose ends in mind you can see why it takes a bit for the true meaty mystery plot of this 3.75 rounded up.It's been a while since I read a Chet and Bernie story, I'd missed Chet's one-of-a-kind viewpoint.It also seems I'd slightly forgotten how we left our favorite duo at the end of "Scents and Sensibility". Bernie has been in the hospital for a few months recovering from the events of that book, and the future of his relationship with his girlfriend, Suzie was also left up in the air.With those loose ends in mind you can see why it takes a bit for the true meaty mystery plot of this book to really get going. Not that I mind the slow build the Chet and Bernie cases can sometimes have, I just think that in some cases, this being one of them, the mystery itself could have been drawn out longer, more time/pages/action put in. Once we really find out what the heart of this case is about, the solve comes pretty quick.Anyways, if you want the plot, read the synopsis, cause it's hard for me to say any more than it does without spoilers left and right.Chet and Bernie are possibly my favorite crime-solving duo, and I'm glad they're back.Idk if this is a new thing in Quinn's writing or if I hadn't noticed it before, but Chet can sometimes linger over discussing differences between men and women, which can kind of make sense from his observational-train-of-thought dogness, but sometimes just feels like a joke said so many times it's gone very stale. So those parts would kind of jar me out of the story and the devoted-dog-partner mindset. This review is possibly rambly and all over the place. Whoops. I'll come back to clean it up and add quotes soon.Overall, a great read, I cant wait for the next one.Thank you to the publisher but also a huge thank you to Spencer Quinn himself for replying to my frantic request for an ARC because I couldn't figure out who else to ask.
    more
  • Joey Woolfardis
    January 1, 1970
    Read the third book in the Chet and Bernie series, To Fetch a Thief. I get it but the voice of the dog narrator was unbearable for me: 1 Star; therefore will not be continuing with the series.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn is the continuing story of the Little Detective Agency and is book nine in the series (Chet and Bernie mystery). In this quirky and sometimes humorous mystery which is narrated by Chet (who is the canine part of this crime solving duo), Bernie and his loveable assistant Chet attempt to solve the murder of the manager of an aging country singer. It appears to be cut and dry; but as cases go, it turns out to be much more.The story opens when Bernie and Chet are i Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn is the continuing story of the Little Detective Agency and is book nine in the series (Chet and Bernie mystery). In this quirky and sometimes humorous mystery which is narrated by Chet (who is the canine part of this crime solving duo), Bernie and his loveable assistant Chet attempt to solve the murder of the manager of an aging country singer. It appears to be cut and dry; but as cases go, it turns out to be much more.The story opens when Bernie and Chet are invited to hear Lotty Pilgrim sing at a dive bar on the outskirts of town. Bernie and Chet, both being fans of country music, decide to leave a generous tip in Lotty’s jar. Lotty never sees the tip because it is quickly stolen right out of the jar under everyone’s nose. Chet quickly runs down the “perp” and Bernie returns it to Lotty only to see it being taken away by her Manager. Bernie senses something is not right here. Therefore, he makes an impromptu visit to Lotty. Before he and Chet know it, they are drawn into a murder that is rooted deep in Lotty’s past. Someone is trying to keep her past buried and murder is not too high a price to silence anyone who digs too deep.Because I have a no spoiler policy, I am going to remain vague. Instead I would like to talk a little about Chet, my favorite character. Chet gives a running dialogue of observations and information that the reader needs to understand what is going on. So it is not necessary to have read any of the other books in the series. Not only is Chet my favorite, he is spot on in his observation of humans. The author did a great job here.The plot was a little slow at the beginning and I was wondering just where the story was going. Then bam, the murder happens and Bernie and Chet start working to put the pieces together. The plot picks up and runs along nicely after that. In addition, there were a few things I was not totally sure about until near the end and I enjoyed the suspension. Then Chet wraps it all up nicely for us at the end and he even gets a song written just for him. Awww….I would definitely categorize this as a cozy mystery and I recommend this to anyone who enjoys them. I also think any dog or animal lover would appreciate the wit and wisdom of Chet. I am looking forward to reading more about this crime solving duo. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. For more of my reviews, and author interviews, see my blog at www.thespineview.com.
    more
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, Chet. How I've missed you. It's been a long four year wait for Chet and Bernie to make a new appearance. While Scents and Sensibility ended with Bernie barely hanging to life, he has recovered and is returning home at the beginning of Heart of Barkness. Chet, the dog half of the Little Detective Agency, is his usual happy, doggy self. He is tip top and ready to grab a perp by the pant leg.In Heart of Barkness, Bernie investigates a death that an aging country singer, Lotty, is about to confe Oh, Chet. How I've missed you. It's been a long four year wait for Chet and Bernie to make a new appearance. While Scents and Sensibility ended with Bernie barely hanging to life, he has recovered and is returning home at the beginning of Heart of Barkness. Chet, the dog half of the Little Detective Agency, is his usual happy, doggy self. He is tip top and ready to grab a perp by the pant leg.In Heart of Barkness, Bernie investigates a death that an aging country singer, Lotty, is about to confess to. The truth lies 50 years in the past. Bernie is also dealing with Suzie deciding she won't be returning after her job in London in over. But there is also Dr. Eliza who is definitely interested in being more than friends.While the story is told from Chet the Jet's point of view, it isn't really a book for kids though other than a few vulgar words, there is nothing offensive here. Chet is always delightful, and if you have a dog, you'll recognize a lot of behaviors. But this isn't Quinn's best work. After the incredible Scents and Sensibility, Heart of Barkness is a bit of a let down. The mystery isn't much of a mystery, and there is little tension.
    more
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    I was so thrilled to get this book in my hands. I was one of the devoted readers who was distraught at the end of the previous book, not sure if the story was going to continue or not. (Despite Spencer Quinn's reassurance that there was a clue right there in the second to last paragraph, I still worried.) Anyway, it's great to have Chet and Bernie back in such fine form! There's nothing better than solving the case through Chet's stream-of-consciousness doggy thoughts. Not a spoiler, but you kno I was so thrilled to get this book in my hands. I was one of the devoted readers who was distraught at the end of the previous book, not sure if the story was going to continue or not. (Despite Spencer Quinn's reassurance that there was a clue right there in the second to last paragraph, I still worried.) Anyway, it's great to have Chet and Bernie back in such fine form! There's nothing better than solving the case through Chet's stream-of-consciousness doggy thoughts. Not a spoiler, but you know the theory that if you are shown a gun in the first act, it needs to be fired in the third? Well, Chet discovers something he can do in the first few chapters, which leads him to theorize that maybe he could do something else...and I wanted so desperately for it to happen! Alas, it didn't. But I'll keep hoping that maybe someday Chet won't have to ride shotgun!
    more
  • Nicole Wagner
    January 1, 1970
    A murder mystery told by the PI's dog. What's not to love? Anthropomorphism is tricky. It can be powerful when used to create a motif through which society is examined: The Rats of Nimh; Animal Farm; Watership Down. It can be powerful when it's used to elevate a message about humanity: Charlotte's Web; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It can be fun when not taken overly seriously and just used as a cute prose gimmick, as is done in HEART OF BARKNESS, but unfortunately the anthropomorphism A murder mystery told by the PI's dog. What's not to love? Anthropomorphism is tricky. It can be powerful when used to create a motif through which society is examined: The Rats of Nimh; Animal Farm; Watership Down. It can be powerful when it's used to elevate a message about humanity: Charlotte's Web; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It can be fun when not taken overly seriously and just used as a cute prose gimmick, as is done in HEART OF BARKNESS, but unfortunately the anthropomorphism as done here detracts from the atmosphere of the story. I love a dog tale as much as anyone, but in order to effectively resolve the mystery, the dog has to come out of character a bit in order to share important observations about the case (and then conveniently forget or disregard them, because dogs don't care about most human concerns). I struggled a bit to maintain patience with this, but it was fun and enjoyable while it lasted. I probably won't go back and pick up the others in this series, but if you're someone who tears through mysteries, you might like this fun series. If you like dogs at all, you'll definitely love Chet. He's a good, good boy.
    more
  • Donna Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Another delightful Chet and Bernie collaboration. The dynamic duo — always financially challenged, but more interested in catching the bad guys than making money. In this particular caper, they are helping an aging country and western singer. But Chet, my forever hero, still has a favorite song: “ ‘If You Were Mine,’ Billie Holiday singing and Roy Eldridge on trumpet at the end, the trumpet doing things to my ears I can’t describe.”
    more
  • Dana Dratch
    January 1, 1970
    This was great!
  • Chrystal
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsAs funny as always, but this one had a particularly lame plot.Loved the part with the horse!
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    So glad for a new Chet and Bernie, the series where a dog is the narrator and Bernie is his human. In this story Bernie tries to help a country singer who has fallen into hard times.
  • Hobart
    January 1, 1970
    This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.--- It's been 4 years—4 long years (28 dog years!) since the publication of Scents and Sensibility, so it's understandable (but personally troubling) that I'd forgotten it ended on something of a cliffhanger. It came back to me rather quickly as Quinn resolved it in the opening pages, but I'd still encourage those whose memory might be equally sketchy to re-read at least the last chapter of Scents before starting this.For those who aren't fami This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.--- It's been 4 years—4 long years (28 dog years!) since the publication of Scents and Sensibility, so it's understandable (but personally troubling) that I'd forgotten it ended on something of a cliffhanger. It came back to me rather quickly as Quinn resolved it in the opening pages, but I'd still encourage those whose memory might be equally sketchy to re-read at least the last chapter of Scents before starting this.For those who aren't familiar with the series, Chet's a very large mixed-breed dog, who flunked out of Police Dog Training at the very end of the course. Since then, he was adopted by Bernie Little, a Private Investigator. The two make a fantastic team, and Chet narrates the novels recounting some of their adventures. Chet's a fantastic character and a very good dog. He's got a short attention span and will frequently lose track of what he was talking about, he is utterly devoted to Bernie and is convinced that everything his partner does is the greatest. Bernie seems to be a pretty good PI, thankfully (but you have to read between the hagiographic lines from Chet).The core of this novel revolves around an elderly legendary country singer, Lotty Pilgrim (I see her as latter-day Loretta Lynn-type). She's fallen on hard times (a tried and true mix of being too trusting and bad business management) and is playing in a dive bar in Phoenix when she meets Bernie and Chet. Bernie foils an attempt to steal her tip jar, and then when he attempts to follow up on that attempt, he learns somethings that disturb him. Soon after this, Lotty's current business manager is killed and Lotty is the chief/only suspect -- and is even on the verge of confessing to it.Bernie doesn't believe it for a second—neither does Chet, I should add—and can't stomach the idea of her confessing like that. So he launches an investigation of his own—despite very insistent suggestions from local Law Enforcement to mind his own business. Bernie's investigation involves a lot of digging into the past as well as the expected digging into the present. The more he digs, the more questions it seems to raise Chet would interject here to say that's Bernie's plan.Throughout the series, Chet will compare what they're doing with to something they did in a past case—usually not one that's recorded in a novel. We learn a lot about Bernie through these quick flashbacks. Chet seems to reveal a lot more this time then he has in the past, and I'm glad we don't get the full story about at least one of those cases—it sounds pretty grim.The one thing I want to mention that separates this from the rest of the series is pretty tricky without giving anything away. But there's something that happens in every book—a well that Quinn returns to too often for my taste. And it's absent in this book. I loved that. Variety is good for the fans.I don't want to take the time to talk about all the new characters—but as the plot centers around Lotty Pilgrim, I want to talk about her for a moment. She's not technically Bernie's client, but his efforts are focused on keeping her out of trouble—especially if she doesn't deserve it. She's an intriguing character—an object of admiration and pity at the same time; she's still actively writing and performing, while relegated to a trivia quiz answer in the culture; she's fiercely independent and feisty, but she's also clearly the victim of her past, several people in the music industry, and (as I said before) a trusting nature. She's ridden with guilt, and a lot of her problems may be self-inflicted in a twisted form of penance. All said, I liked her as a person. I wouldn't think that there's more for Quinn to do or explore with her, I'd be happy to be proven wrongOf course, the book's not all business for the Little Detective Agency. Bernie's been divorced for a while and sees his son (Chet's second-favorite human) regularly, and started seeing Suzie in the first novel. There are big developments on the Suzie front here—but that seems kind of par for the course over the last two or three novels, and while I'm not crazy about them, I don't know that I'm opposed to it. I think the next book (thankfully, I've seen Quinn state it's finished) will tell me a lot about thatIs this a decent jumping-on point? Yeah, it'd work—almost the entire series works as one (I'm not sure Paw and Order or The Sound and the Furry would be). But obviously, you'd pick up on nuances, background, and so on if you start at the beginning. It was so good to spend time with these two again, and the book itself is one of the best in the series—both in terms of plot and character moments for the protagonists. It's funny, heartfelt, clever, suspenseful, and satisfying. And it features a dog. Really can't ask for more.At one point, Lotty writes a song about Chet, cleverly entitled "Song for Chet." It was recorded and a video made with clips provided by Quinn's fans. I just can't leave this post without sharing it:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sak5i...]
    more
  • Simon Bewick
    January 1, 1970
    Four years after Scents and Sensibility and the short ebook Santa 365, Chet and Bernie, the Little Detective partnership team are back in action. Chet, the K9 side of the partnership is, as always, the principle narrator and POV of the story. Bernie, the most perfect human being in the world, the PI who finds himself in another case he wasn't actually looking for.Not to let the cat out of the bag too much (and Chet would make quite a lot of that little expression), you can expect more of the sam Four years after Scents and Sensibility and the short ebook Santa 365, Chet and Bernie, the Little Detective partnership team are back in action. Chet, the K9 side of the partnership is, as always, the principle narrator and POV of the story. Bernie, the most perfect human being in the world, the PI who finds himself in another case he wasn't actually looking for.Not to let the cat out of the bag too much (and Chet would make quite a lot of that little expression), you can expect more of the same in the latest installment - amusing observations/ misunderstandings/ confusions from the good doggie (who's understanding of idioms hasn't improved any over the series), a not-too-heavy plot and a general good time for all involved.After the last couple of novels there's much less of the relationshop woes in this one: it's more just the two detectives getting to spend some time together and with those around them. If you've read the series, you've read a lot of this before, and that's part of the fun of the writing style - Chet's vague doggy references back to earlier adventures, hints at some past events, for the most part involving him in some calamity which he remembers with a much more positive vibe other than the ever-present, but little discussed 'closet case' - something that happened a long time ago which will forever remain the darkest chapter of the two's lives. Novel by novel, a morsel more about that 'bad thing' is revealed, but not as far as I'm aware ever fully explained yet.This time around the caper involves an ageing country star, some dubious business dealings and surprise, surprise, a murder along the way. It is, I suppose, what's classified as a cosy crime tale: there's not too much in the way of bad language, and the murders which do occur are non-graphic. More than anything it's like getting together again with a couple of old friends you haven't seen for a while, but can slip straight back into familiarity with.If you haven't read the series yet, they're a hoot. I only discovered the first a year or so ago, but raced through the first three in one holiday and have read the rest since. This marks the 13th appearance of the two, and it's neither unlucky, nor shows any signs of slowing down: sure, you may feel as if you've already read five per cent of it as Chet, with his doggy memory will tell you things you've already been told but it's an amusing way to recap and symptomatic of his attention span and tendency for distraction in traditional human manners...'but maybe we'll get to that later'.As always a fun, fast read and...if I'm not mistaken a first suggestion of the actual look to Chet (beyond being a hundred pound plus, mixed ear common description). The cover's the weakest part of the book, I have to say and suggests some sort of cheap, 'lifetime' or self-produced via stock imagery affair - get past that and you'll find Quinn's (actually a pseudonym for popular crime writer Peter Abrahams) writing is as sharp and funny as ever.
    more
  • Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller
    January 1, 1970
    HEART OF BARKNESS by Spencer Quinn brings back four-legged detective Chet and his sidekick, the two-legged Bernie Little. It's Bernie's detective agency, but both are aware that it takes two to solve most mysteries. Chet and Bernie are a team, and they are inseparable.Bernie has just gotten out of the hospital after a near-death experience (read about it in SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY), and Chet is thrilled to be reunited with his other half. In their latest adventure, the duo meets Lotty Pilgrim, a HEART OF BARKNESS by Spencer Quinn brings back four-legged detective Chet and his sidekick, the two-legged Bernie Little. It's Bernie's detective agency, but both are aware that it takes two to solve most mysteries. Chet and Bernie are a team, and they are inseparable.Bernie has just gotten out of the hospital after a near-death experience (read about it in SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY), and Chet is thrilled to be reunited with his other half. In their latest adventure, the duo meets Lotty Pilgrim, a country singer who seems to have hit rock bottom. She is playing in dives and lives on a small, run-down ranch. Her manager/boyfriend is much younger than her, and from the start, Bernie is no fan of his.The action begins when Chet and Bernie go to hear Lotty sing. Bernie puts a $100 bill in her tip jar, but the money gets stolen by someone at the bar. They go after the culprit, and what follows is just one part of what becomes the mystery and history of Lotty's life and her problems.Chet's narration is spot-on doggy, with appropriate distractions (Slim Jims and steak smells) and some canine self-deprecating awareness. After all, when a dog is telling the story, there is definitely a bit of translation needed. But Chet is one sharp animal, and he catches things that mere humans might overlook.Chet explains it beautifully when the individual grabs the money from the tip jar: "Something sneaky was going down. I knew that in a flash. You might be thinking, Wow Chet, how fast your mind works! But you'd be wrong. My mind had nothing to do with it. My teeth were the smart ones. Sneakiness gives them this powerful urge, the urge to...to do something, let's leave it at that."So they chase the thief, recover the money but not the guy, and consider it done. It's not. The ties that connect the different characters, the obvious good guys and the obvious and not-so-obvious bad guys, are sometimes hard to see. But Chet and Bernie have a special power --- that of the dog and human bond --- and they go where others might fail.Quinn's narrative, via Chet, is touching but also humorous. While readers will feel Lotty's plight and worry about Bernie's romantic situation, they will chuckle while immersing themselves in Chet's wonderfully canine narrative.Mystery lovers devour the Chet and Bernie series. Dog lovers do, too. No fleas involved.Reviewed by Pamela Kramer
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Private Investigator Bernie Little is the owner of Little Detective Agency where he investigates cases with his partner, his dog Chet. In Heart of Barkness, Bernie and Chet set out to help Lotty Pilgrim, a musician who has fallen on hard times. When her manager/boyfriend Clint is killed, Lotty is arrested for the crime. Bernie is convinced that she didn't do it, but when she decides to confess to the crime, Bernie knows that he and Chet will have to delve deep into her past to find out who kille Private Investigator Bernie Little is the owner of Little Detective Agency where he investigates cases with his partner, his dog Chet. In Heart of Barkness, Bernie and Chet set out to help Lotty Pilgrim, a musician who has fallen on hard times. When her manager/boyfriend Clint is killed, Lotty is arrested for the crime. Bernie is convinced that she didn't do it, but when she decides to confess to the crime, Bernie knows that he and Chet will have to delve deep into her past to find out who killed Clint and why.This was my first time reading a Chet and Bernie mystery. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I didn't realize at first that the story would be told from Chet's point of view. Initially, I wasn't sure this was going to be a book for me, but the more I read, the more entertaining it was. By the end, I rather enjoyed and appreciated Chet's unique point of view. Seeing things from the dog's perspective was not only entertaining it highlighted areas that would have otherwise been missed, making this a very engaging story. Frankly, it was unlike anything I've read lately. I would, therefore, be open to reading another Chet and Bernie adventure. Thanks to Forge Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.More reviews at: www.susannesbooklist.blogspot.com
    more
  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes it happens, you read an ARC and discover a series you didn’t you needed in your life. It was love at first chapter or at first bark but after a few pages I was hooked.Chet, the canine protagonist, reminded me of my late German Sherpard. Similar antics and similar ways of moving the head. It was like meeting again a long lost friend and seeing things through his eyes.Memories of lost pet apart this book is both engrossing and hilarious. I loved the sense of humour, the storytelling and Sometimes it happens, you read an ARC and discover a series you didn’t you needed in your life. It was love at first chapter or at first bark but after a few pages I was hooked.Chet, the canine protagonist, reminded me of my late German Sherpard. Similar antics and similar ways of moving the head. It was like meeting again a long lost friend and seeing things through his eyes.Memories of lost pet apart this book is both engrossing and hilarious. I loved the sense of humour, the storytelling and how the author was able to make you believe that you’re reading a story told by a dog. It was an amazing reading experience that made me turn the pages as fast as I could.The cast of characters are well written and fleshed out, the plot is engaging, the mystery is full of twists and turns and keeps you guessing till the end.Even if it’s not the first installment in this series I had no issues with the plot or the characters.I look forward to reading the next installment and will soon start another books in this series.Highly recommended.Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss, all opinions are mine.
    more
  • Andrea Stoeckel
    January 1, 1970
    “My job’s more like yours—following a tail of symptoms to the guilty diagnosis “Told mostly through the narration of Chet the Dog, Spencer Quinn takes on the past wrapping around a present-day murder involving a country singer with a past of glory that’s plopped directly into the 60s with all it’s issues. Lotty Pilgrim, a now 70-something murder suspect has a past that rivals a soap opera, and it comes together when her agent/male companion is found murdered in her bed.However, as Chet and his P “My job’s more like yours—following a tail of symptoms to the guilty diagnosis “Told mostly through the narration of Chet the Dog, Spencer Quinn takes on the past wrapping around a present-day murder involving a country singer with a past of glory that’s plopped directly into the 60s with all it’s issues. Lotty Pilgrim, a now 70-something murder suspect has a past that rivals a soap opera, and it comes together when her agent/male companion is found murdered in her bed.However, as Chet and his Private Detective partner Bernie Little know full well: the past isn’t always prologue, and it’s up to them to sort out the whole blessed thing.The advanced publicity around this book is that it;s a good place to start if you haven’t read Spencer Quin in his many guises; which I hadn’t. The mystery is actually fairly simple bu how you get there is the fun part. Recommended 5/5[disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher and voluntarily read and reviewed it]
    more
  • Wauktown Thumper
    January 1, 1970
    Well this was a little different from the other Chet & Bernie books. By that I mean there appeared in my opinion not as must adventure as in the others but I debated with myself for the reasons. My number one reason being that since Bernie was just recuperating from a near death experience he had to take things a little bit slow. My second reason I'm wondering are we coming to the end of the Chet & Bernie series? I'm not ready for that but there was the mention of Bernie being questioned Well this was a little different from the other Chet & Bernie books. By that I mean there appeared in my opinion not as must adventure as in the others but I debated with myself for the reasons. My number one reason being that since Bernie was just recuperating from a near death experience he had to take things a little bit slow. My second reason I'm wondering are we coming to the end of the Chet & Bernie series? I'm not ready for that but there was the mention of Bernie being questioned on the danger that he puts Chet through a few books back (I forgot specifically which book). And there was the hint of Bernie questioning his letting Susie get away. I love the Chet & Bernie series. I know there's another book coming out in 2020, but Mr Quinn if we're getting near the finish line of their adventures please let me down gently with an HEA.
    more
  • Marshall
    January 1, 1970
    This is another charming installment to the Chet and Bernie series. Mr. Quinn narrates the story from the perspective of Chet, a large and bright dog, who keeps the tone light and amusing as the mystery unfolds. The plot revolves around a murder and a falsely-accused country and western singer. We get to see the same things Chet and his owner, detective Bernie Little, see. The dialogue is good and the supporting characters are well drawn. The mystery is solved through a series of conjectures tha This is another charming installment to the Chet and Bernie series. Mr. Quinn narrates the story from the perspective of Chet, a large and bright dog, who keeps the tone light and amusing as the mystery unfolds. The plot revolves around a murder and a falsely-accused country and western singer. We get to see the same things Chet and his owner, detective Bernie Little, see. The dialogue is good and the supporting characters are well drawn. The mystery is solved through a series of conjectures that arise mysteriously and are ultimately proved correct - I would never have solved it with the information available, but maybe you are cleverer than I. The use of the dog's voice to narrate is used cleverly and seems fresh, even after eight similar books. The book is only 300 pages, a rarity which I appreciate.
    more
  • Linda C. Brizendine
    January 1, 1970
    Back to tip topThis is a return to the good Chet and Bernie adventures. So much better than the darkness of the previous book. I highly recommend you read this series in order. Chet and Bernie both seem to be fit and ready to find the perps. If you haven't read any of the Chet and Bernie books, I don't really recommend that you start with this one. This book is good, but not the best in the series. Any of the other books with the exception of Scents and Sensibility are very good and can be enjoy Back to tip topThis is a return to the good Chet and Bernie adventures. So much better than the darkness of the previous book. I highly recommend you read this series in order. Chet and Bernie both seem to be fit and ready to find the perps. If you haven't read any of the Chet and Bernie books, I don't really recommend that you start with this one. This book is good, but not the best in the series. Any of the other books with the exception of Scents and Sensibility are very good and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. If you have read all the others I think you'll like this one. I also didn't get the bonus short story after following the instructions to do so. I would really rather have just paid a dollar for it on Amazon.
    more
  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    I'd not read this series before so it took a minute for me to set my perspective to Chet's. Chet's a dog, which veteran readers of Quinn know but I didn't. Quinn does a nice job, btw, of making it possible to hop in and know what's what and who's who so this is fine as a standalone. This time out, Chet and his human companion Bernie, a detective are poking around in the case of Lotty Pilgrim, a once well known country singer who has fallen on hard times and possibly murdered Clint, her companion I'd not read this series before so it took a minute for me to set my perspective to Chet's. Chet's a dog, which veteran readers of Quinn know but I didn't. Quinn does a nice job, btw, of making it possible to hop in and know what's what and who's who so this is fine as a standalone. This time out, Chet and his human companion Bernie, a detective are poking around in the case of Lotty Pilgrim, a once well known country singer who has fallen on hard times and possibly murdered Clint, her companion and manager. They're both convinced she didn't do it (I liked Chet's view of things here). As always in the genre, there are secrets, lies, and a twist that will make you nod. Thanks to edelweiss for the ARC. Fans of the series will love it and new readers have a treat ahead.
    more
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Heart of Barkness is just as witty as the title implies! Chet the dog is a magnificent narrator bringing levity to tense situations and providing additional canine clues a human PI wouldn’t pick up on. This series is great, as it isn’t too suspenseful but certainly isn’t dull either. Plus, while I recommend reading all the prior books because they’re just as excellent as this one, it isn’t required. The characters and setting are so well developed it seems unfair that Chet is fictional. I almost Heart of Barkness is just as witty as the title implies! Chet the dog is a magnificent narrator bringing levity to tense situations and providing additional canine clues a human PI wouldn’t pick up on. This series is great, as it isn’t too suspenseful but certainly isn’t dull either. Plus, while I recommend reading all the prior books because they’re just as excellent as this one, it isn’t required. The characters and setting are so well developed it seems unfair that Chet is fictional. I almost want to go to Arizona and see if Chet is out running in the canyon.This entire series is well written, is guaranteed to make you laugh, and will make you think and problem solve right along with Chet and Bernie. I definitely recommend it.And just for the record, I’m #TeamSuzie.
    more
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    I love the Chet and Bernie series. I couldn't wait for this book to come out. I gave this 4 stars just because i loved the characters but i did not enjoy this story. I was lost as good amount of the time. There seemed to be too much Chet thoughts and not enough of what Bernie was doing. I also found that scenes changed with no transition. I still don't really understand what prompted them to take the case in the first place. There was no murder and they weren't hired until much later in the book I love the Chet and Bernie series. I couldn't wait for this book to come out. I gave this 4 stars just because i loved the characters but i did not enjoy this story. I was lost as good amount of the time. There seemed to be too much Chet thoughts and not enough of what Bernie was doing. I also found that scenes changed with no transition. I still don't really understand what prompted them to take the case in the first place. There was no murder and they weren't hired until much later in the book. The ending was easy to figure out and anti climatic. After waiting so long i am extremely disappointed.
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    PI Bernie Little is just out of the hospital after the events of the last book, and his partner, narrator, admirer--hell, his dog--Chet is overjoyed. Bernie is glad to be healthy again, but saddened when his girlfriend makes it clear that she has to spend the next three years on assignment abroad. He and Chet go to hear a formerly famous country singer, and find themselves involved with her life and family, especially after she becomes the main suspect in the murder of her manager and lover. The PI Bernie Little is just out of the hospital after the events of the last book, and his partner, narrator, admirer--hell, his dog--Chet is overjoyed. Bernie is glad to be healthy again, but saddened when his girlfriend makes it clear that she has to spend the next three years on assignment abroad. He and Chet go to hear a formerly famous country singer, and find themselves involved with her life and family, especially after she becomes the main suspect in the murder of her manager and lover. The case takes Bernie back into her past, and the death of a previous lover. But someone is hunting Bernie and Chet, too--and Bernie doesn't like to be hunted.
    more
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    Picking up after the previous novel, Bernie is released from the hospital and Chet is excited to have his partner back. The two stumble upon a mystery when they catch country singer Lottie Pilgrim at a local bar. Although she wrote a huge country hit, Lottie is down on her luck and things get worse when her young boyfriend/manager turns up dead. The mystery soon involves Lottie's estranged daughter, a mysterious death in a border town, and why Lottie no longer sings her hit song or gets royaltie Picking up after the previous novel, Bernie is released from the hospital and Chet is excited to have his partner back. The two stumble upon a mystery when they catch country singer Lottie Pilgrim at a local bar. Although she wrote a huge country hit, Lottie is down on her luck and things get worse when her young boyfriend/manager turns up dead. The mystery soon involves Lottie's estranged daughter, a mysterious death in a border town, and why Lottie no longer sings her hit song or gets royalties. Told from the point of view of Chet, there is lots of fun and misunderstandings and great and not so great smells. Another great additon to the Chet and Bernie series!
    more
  • Sally Stanton
    January 1, 1970
    I've read every book in this series and it's one of my favorites. This is the first time, however, that I have listened to the audio. I would not recommend it, the narrator just doesn't capture the nuance of Chet and doesn't change his tone or fluctuation for each character and it wasn't very interesting. I've lost the fun and humor of this story as his timing is off which you need for a book like this. I can't say whether the story was not up to par as I found it a bit boring or if it was just I've read every book in this series and it's one of my favorites. This is the first time, however, that I have listened to the audio. I would not recommend it, the narrator just doesn't capture the nuance of Chet and doesn't change his tone or fluctuation for each character and it wasn't very interesting. I've lost the fun and humor of this story as his timing is off which you need for a book like this. I can't say whether the story was not up to par as I found it a bit boring or if it was just the narrator.
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Chet the Jet! is back! Bernie is just getting out of the hospital and Chet is back with his unique point of view. After watching an odd situation at a country music concert, Bernie starts getting nosey. I think that is my biggest question mark with this installment in the series. Bernie begins to investigating and then goes to find someone to hire him to make it official. So much for recuperating a bit, right? But I loved seeing the duo back in action and really missed Chet's great insight into Chet the Jet! is back! Bernie is just getting out of the hospital and Chet is back with his unique point of view. After watching an odd situation at a country music concert, Bernie starts getting nosey. I think that is my biggest question mark with this installment in the series. Bernie begins to investigating and then goes to find someone to hire him to make it official. So much for recuperating a bit, right? But I loved seeing the duo back in action and really missed Chet's great insight into things like counting.
    more
Write a review