Shoot the Dog

Shoot the Dog
Brad Smith
Scribner Paperback

Virgil Cain’s concerns are the weather and getting a pair of Percheron horses to earn their keep on his farm. He’s not interested in the movie company that come to the area to shoot a movie about a frontiers women. The only reason he decides to take his horses to work in the movie is the tax bill that is coming due on his farm. He learns quickly that the movie business attracts more than its fair share of odd characters and inflated egos. He doesn’t care as long as they pay him and his horses for their work.

When the leading lady of the movie is found dead, Virgil would be just as glad to be out of the whole scene, but the movie grinds forward with a replacement actress. He manages to annoy the producer and director as he watches over Georgia, the girl who plays the frontier woman’s daughter. Somehow he gets caught up in the murder investigation in spite of being told by the investigating officer to stay out of it. Even the fact that she is his girlfriend can’t make him obey her.
Brad creates a broad pallet of characters from a thug who has reinvented himself as the very successful Indian who has made a pile of money with his casino and would love to make an Oscar speech to Virgil who has a gift for annoying the people who think he is just a dumb hick farmer.

This book is a very fun read. The characters and plot work extremely well and the mystery comes to a satisfactory conclusion. There is a fair bit of humour, but it is understated and never gets in the way of the story. I would highly recommend the book for anyone who likes mysteries.

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