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Book Review: The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club By Duncan Whitehead

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199 pages
Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (December 2, 2012)

February 22 is National Dog Walking Day and if you like dogs or walking a dog, then step up and read this book. It captures your interest in the opening with a professional hit man digging a grave in Savannah’s Juliette Low Park just before sunrise then waiting for the victim. It was a beautiful day, “…but for one individual that day would not last long.”

That first chapter was a highlight along with Elliot’s time spent in Argentina and his long conversations with the elderly Senor Kurtz, a revered story-teller at La Casa Verde, the restaurant run by Senor Cardasso.

Unfortunately, those are the few highlights in Mr. Whitehead’s novel. It seems that the author came up with an idea, then, used tortured coincidences to advance the story. The characters, while real, were unusually short tempered to the point of resorting to hit men.

The author must feel the reader is stupid, too. He repeats the whole first chapter, word for word in the last few pages and manages to leave out the sacks of lime salts to be used in the burial.

Kelly goes to Paris and calls home to her husband Tom. In the first call she reaches him at 11:00 pm her time and is told by Tom that it was 5:00 am in Savannah. The next time she calls him it’s 8:00 am her time and guesses it was 2:00 pm in Savannah. Tom tells her it is 3:00 am. Actually Paris is six hours ahead of EDT. Either Kelly is a dim bulb, Tom is lying about the time, or the author doesn’t know the correct times.

Then there is this scene that makes no sense to me:

“She had run to a window and marveled at the scene outside. She had never seen such tall buildings, and the man who never smiled told her that one day every city in the world would look like this. She laughed and told him not to be silly, that there were too many beautiful buildings in the world for them all to be knocked down. He had looked somber and he told her that what men had made, men would destroy.’’

I stayed with the book to the end to see how it would all work out, but too many times I rolled my eyes. The book is labeled a thriller. I would label it a comedy.

(I was provided a free copy of this book, but that in no way influenced this review.)


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