I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not sure I’ll have a ton to say about this story. I have a few nitpicks, but overall it was a good story, and it’s a lot harder to talk about something when it’s fine than when it’s bad. The basic story involves a boy named Tor living in a rural area with his mom. His mother is a doctor, and by chance a man bring a dog and an injured man to her. The injured man holds her at knife point before running away, and the rest of the story revolves around figuring out where the dog (Roscoe) came from.
If that sounds interesting to you, go ahead and pick it up. I didn’t note any particular errors (maybe there were one or two) and the story works well enough. I won’t say it pulled me in as much as some other books, but I’m also probably not the target audience.
There were two things that stuck out to me. In the beginning, when Mr. Hayward drops off Roscoe and the meth addict, the gigantic dog is left with Tor. It’s muzzled, but the only thing they know about this dog is that it attacked the other man, so it was driving me crazy that it was just left with a young boy. In seconds it seemed like he’d taken the muzzle off of the dog that he didn’t know at all (which is why you don’t leave a potentially dangerous dog with a kid). I realize Roscoe wasn’t a dangerous dog, but at the beginning of the book the only information they had pointed towards him being aggressive and violent, not to mention he was enormous and starving. No adult should have left this dog with Tor.
The second was that his friend was an “Ute Indian”. Now, I don’t care that she was a Native American at all, but in the beginning I actually started counting how often it was mentioned because it was constantly being repeated. “Ute campfire,” “Ute beads,” “Ute Indian braids,” “Ute blend,” “Ute Indian stories,” “Ute family celebrations”… You get the point. It got mentioned so many times I was wondering what other objects would have “Ute” stuck in front of them (is it really necessary to mentioned that her family celebrations are “Ute family celebrations”, for example? We already know she’s from the Ute tribe, we can assume that her family is, too. It can just be “family celebration”).
Oh, and there was a part where the kids mention the Sheriff hates them, but I don’t remember the Sheriff doing anything that implied he hated them. In another part Tor picked up his mom, which I had a hard time picturing a boy carrying around a grown woman. But the issues were all tiny things that a lot of people probably wouldn’t care about.
I will say that I liked the overall story until the end. I don’t think the ending worked. Yes, Tor and his friends solved some problems, but most of the townsfolk wouldn’t know much of anything about it because it was kept top secret. For the most part what they would know is that his family was kidnapped and then they managed to escape. It didn’t really set it up for people to come to them to solve mysteries. That part felt out of place.
I don’t even think there’s anything in this book that would ruin it for someone. If you’re looking for a little mystery and are a big dog lover, this could be the book for you. I give it 8/10.