There Are Good Dogs and There are Bad Dogs

The Hand That Feeds You opens with a scene so grisly and disturbing that the rest of the book hangs under its shadow . . . and the fact that dogs might be responsible-- and good dogs at that-- makes it even worse . . . but this is one of those psychological thrillers where nothing is at it seems, and I highly recommend it if you are looking for one last fast summer read; even the author-- A.J. Rich-- is a facade for something more complicated . . . I learned the story in this New York Times review: the name is a pseudonym, and the book was collaboratively written by acclaimed short-story writer Amy Hempel and her friend, novelist Jill Ciment . . . that's the "A" and the "J" in the pseudonym, and the name "Rich" is in honor of their friend Katherine Russell Rich, who had an idea for a thriller based on what happened with a man she had been dating who proposed to her . . . she grew suspicious of him, paid someone to hack his e-mail, and she found out that he had several other lives-- he was living with another woman, and seeing several others on the side . . . so she broke up with him and started a novel with a similarly deceptive sociopath as the main character, but never got past the first chapter, she died of breast cancer soon after . . . so Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment took the ball and ran with it, and the result is a crisp, taut, disturbing story that may or may not be something dog lovers would enjoy, but the lesson is this, which the band Camper van Beethoven pointed out many years ago: there are good guys and there are bad guys/ and there are crooks and criminals/ and there are doctors and there are lawyers/ and there are folks like you and me . . . and the same goes for dogs.


zman said...

That back story is sufficiently interesting for me to read the book, despite the fact that the reviewer's favorite novel is Moby Dick.

Clarence said...

I can recommend the Camper Van Beethoven song.

Slouching Beast said...

zman, what's your beef with moby dick? whales, cannibals, harpoons, peg-legs . . . what's not to love?

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