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The Purloined Poodle
by Kevin Hearne
Subterranean Press, $20.00, 103pp
Published: September 2016

If you are a fan of Hearn’s Iron Druid series, then you are familiar with the faithful Irish Wolfhound, Oberon.  According to the author, Oberon is nearly as popular with fans as the main character, Atticus.     I suspect that is what prompted this charming little novella with the point-of-view from Oberon.

While cavorting at a dogpark, Oberon runs into a disturbed boxer and conversation between Atticus and the boxer’s owner reveals that somebody is dognapping Grand Champions all over the Northwest.  It might be Oberon’s personal interest in poodles that prompts him to insist they investigate but it’s Atticus’ interest in making sure that the missing dogs are found safely that insures his cooperation with his canine.  And so the game is afoot.

Oberon and Atticus shift all over the Northwest following up on the missing dogs and becoming more and more involved with the owners causing some undesired interest from the investigating policewoman.  The police become more interested when one of the owners turns up dead and Atticus’ life is complicated when he has trouble accounting for his movements – shifting tends to cut a lot off traveling time that is rather hard to explain.  But the police don’t see the connection between the missing dogs and dead woman as clearly as do our heroes, who are determined to find the miscreant. 

This was just plain fun, tons of fun, actually.  Oberon’s POV is amusing and Atticus is definitely second-fiddle even though Oberon depends on him to do most of the investigating.  But Oberon’s observations are key to their investigation even while he is distracted by sausages or the promise of such.

One might argue that a mere 103 pages are not worth the $20 pricetag; but compare it to the cost of a 2-hour movie – and my promise that this story is a great deal of fun for an Iron Druid follower.  I desperately hope that Hearne is encouraged to give us a couple more stories from Oberon’s POV; which may mean that someday they all could be collected in a single volume.  But you’ll probably have to wait quite a while for those events and meanwhile – you’re missing out on a lot of fun.  Check out Subterranean Press’ website; although I can’t promise that they still have any copies.  If not, check with an indie bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona – the Poisoned Pen bookstore.  ~~ Catherine Book

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