Charlie Keefe is an ultra-successful, world-famous artist whose paintings of his Jack Russell Terrier command tens of thousands of dollars. That’s the first clue in ‘It’s Just a Dog’ that the reader is in for a fantastical imaginative romp. In author Russ Ryan’s world, where such an unlikely scenario is plausible, it’s not so far-fetched when Charlie starts seeing the talking ghost of his dead dog, Pete.
‘It’s Just a Dog’ has a dreamlike quality where the characters are kooky and actions and circumstances sometimes defy logic, but keeps the reader engaged. Pet lovers often complain about books where the dog dies, but Ryan’s novel is never depressing or maudlin, because the reader doesn’t really get to know Pete until his ghost turns up. We’re never quite sure if Pete’s ghost is real, or if it’s Charlie’s subconscious helping him cope with the loss of Pete and the guilt he feels over fostering a new dog.
A quick read. Not really my cup of tea, but I’m sure many readers will love it.
Russ Ryan is a screenwriter who has worked with the producers of American Pie, Fireflies in the Garden -- and was a writer on the teen comedy, National Lampoon's Replikate, starring Eugene Levy. It's Just A Dog is his first novel.
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